More men want to look va-va-groomed

More men want to look va-va-groomed
Men's grooming salon We Need A Hero sees some 1,000 clients a month for services that include haircuts and shaves.

SINGAPORE - For Praveen Nair, therapy comes in the form of a good shave at traditional English barbershop Truefitt and Hill

The 32-year-old spends about $70 a week on shaving.

Mr Praveen Nair, who is the head of legal at a medical group, said: "After an awfully stressful and hectic week, you just want to reward yourself. Moreover, a good shave improves your confidence and makes a noticeable difference - it's something worth spending on."

Like him, more men are splurging on grooming. And this trend seems set to grow, even as more players enter the market.

At Truefitt and Hill, which opened in March last year, business has been a "tremendous success" and another outlet will open by year end.

Marc Nicholson, chief executive of the local franchise, told My Paper: "I'm still unsure how big the market can grow to - it was not developed yet when we opened, but a lot of people are coming into the market and I think everyone is having a degree of success."

A spokesman for men's grooming salon We Need A Hero, by the Spa Esprit Group, said that business has been "extremely encouraging" since it opened in April last year. It sees some 1,000 clients a month for services that include haircuts and shaves.

At Spa Esprit Group's other brands, such as waxing studio Strip and brow-grooming salon Browhaus, there has been a 20 per cent year-on-year increase in male customers.

"Men in Singapore (are) more aware of grooming trends made popular by celebrities and pop culture," the spokesman said. "The male-grooming trend is on the rise and does not show signs of slowing down any time soon. We foresee that more male-grooming services and products will be made available in the market."

Urban Homme, a spa chain for men, has also seen a steady increase in business since it opened in 2003.

Sharon Tan, senior group marketing and business manager of Mary Chia Holdings, which runs Urban Homme, said: "At the workplace, we see more men coming in chic, well-groomed and well-dressed, so the pressure to keep up does influence things a bit... There might be more brands coming up to compete for a share in this emerging industry."

Men are also becoming more conscious of their outfits, with demand for bespoke tailors continuing to grow.

Dylan Chong, 33, director of tailor Dylan & Son, saw growth in business of more than 50 per cent last year, compared to when it first started out in 2010.

He said: "The tailoring scene has been seeing a revival for the past couple of years and I believe there is still a lot of room to grow. There is definitely an upward curve."

Said home-grown company Tailor Me Online's director, Ken Yuen, 37: "I believe the market is big enough to accommodate a few brands, and everybody has their own niche. I don't think it's saturated yet. There is more competition in women's fashion."

But Gerald Shen, 28, co-founder of online handcrafted menswear brand Vanda Fine Clothing, noted that the appeal of instant gratification - buying a shirt off the rack at a retail store - is "hard to fight".

He added: "The market is growing, but it takes time because, honestly, our weather is not conducive for us to dress up like Englishmen."

Nonetheless, visiting the tailor has been a regular affair in the last seven years for senior sales manager Kristopher Ho.

The 38-year-old said: "I'm 1.93m tall, and my arms are long. The shirts at retail stores don't fit and I like my clothes to be more personalised. There are many things you can do at the tailor's, and it just costs a little more. To me, it's worth it."

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