COVID-19 saw a number of companies downsizing; but Canton Barber’s founder Vinco did the complete opposite by launching his second shop in Lee Gardens, a series of brand-exclusive products plus souvenirs for every customer who steps through his door. Albeit his first time overseeing a barber shop, he claims his success is far from luck alone, but is a result of turning crisis into opportunity and realizing the impossible.
Advertising to Grooming
In 2011, Vinco started his advertising company that focuses on market analysis, hosting events and everything ad-related. Three years ago, he decided to venture out from his comfort zone to establish his own brand and soon realized that his neighbourhood of Quarry Bay and Tai Koo lacks barber shops. What followed was a frenzy of research, interviews with old barbers and, finally, a shop opening.
Founded on the east end of Hong Kong, Canton Barber pays homage to the eponymous Chinese province and Vinco’s passion for Cantonese culture. All the barbers here were all personally recruited and interviewed by Vinco.
“Since our shop wasn’t ready, we’d meet the barbers at a small corner at the Chai Wan Market to do a test cut. The space didn’t have air conditioning, so we were drenched in sweat even before the cut began.”
A Different Breed of Barber
Aside from grooming services, Canton Barber also offers drinks and a selection of suits, eyewear and fashion accessories for the gentlemen. While getting their grooms, customers can also drink in the shop’s vibes that’s unlike any other barbershop. Vinco admits that every product at his shop was a result of hours of market research.
Canton Barber also has an apprenticeship programme, offering grooming classes to students who want to pursue this career.
A Brand of Vitality
The ladies head to a hairdresser every three to six months; but men’s visits are more frequent – monthly, sometimes even weekly. To nurture good relations with his customers, the creative Vinco started gifting them souvenirs, rather, favours, every time they visit. On Father’s Day, for instance, every customer walked away with a bottle of whisky.
Vinco says, “When we moved shop from Yun Ping Road to Leighton Road, our regulars kept messaging us to see when they could book the next appointment. So to show our appreciation for their support, we made our own playing cards as a gift. Regardless of shop location, Vinco remains obsessed with the Causeway Bay neighbourhood for its heavy foot traffic and convenience, meaning he can effortlessly maintain good ties with his customers.
Canton Barber: G/F, 34 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay