Thursday, May 23, 2024

Influencer barbers are on the rise, will men shift loyalty?

This barbershop on Nairobi’s Kimathi Avenue is sort of like a movie studio. Because the hum of clippers echoes all through the room, there’s a digicam to seize the shave.

Each barber has a hoop mild to supply sufficient mild as they file the boys’s earlier than and after haircuts. These photographs and movies will likely be posted on the barbershop’s social media pages with hundreds of followers.

“Social media is the spine of our enterprise promotion; we get most of our purchasers from our on-line pages,” says Charles Kimani, who’s the supervisor of Epitome Barbers.

Distinction this with a number of years.

The barbers of yesteryear have been previous, reserved, hidden until you had been referred to them, or positioned in unkempt, cramped rooms in poorly-lit streets. The one companies they supplied then have been a haircut and a haircut.

Nevertheless, these days, moreover haircuts, the new-generation barbers who’ve change into shutterbugs, [have their cameras ready at all times to showcase their works] have diversified into hair colouring, therapeutic massage after the haircut, facial steaming, manicures, and pedicures; all for males.

These self-proclaimed “architects of swag” publish often on Instagram and TikTok and earn higher than conventional barbers, taking what could be a monotonous job to new ranges.

“The least we cost is Sh1,000 for a standard shave. The utmost cost for the companies of hair and colouring is Sh5,000. We even have a complete bundle of Sh7,000, which incorporates every part,” Mr Kimani says.

The 31-year-old, who goes by the artwork identify of ‘Charlo the barber’, says he began by shaving youngsters earlier than steadily getting good at what he does by way of social media and trend traits.

“I all the time needed to be an architect, and I really feel that I’m doing that with the hairdressing factor, despite the fact that I didn’t handle to increase my research,” he says.

Epitome Barbers

Charles Kimani shaves a shopper at Epitome Barbers in Nairobi on Might 15, 2024.

Photograph credit score: Billy Ogada | Nation Media Group

One other barber who’s pushing the inventive envelope is Safari Martin. On Instagram alone, he has over 435,000 followers and counting.

In his model of delivering the proper haircut, he’s outfitted with numerous instruments, together with hammers, knives, pliers, and extra. That is what has turned him right into a social media sensation.

Now based mostly in Nairobi, the 24-year-old Rwandan barber has no bodily barbershop. He says he has been reducing hair since he was nonetheless at school.

“I used to be the perfect in artwork class, and my buddies satisfied me to strive lining their hair up, and that is the way it began. Though we had a faculty barber because it was a boarding faculty, I began gaining purchasers amongst the scholars,” he says.

His social media blow made every part completely different as a result of he lately joined the League of Superstar Barbers.

“It is now simpler for me to get purchasers as a result of I’ve a wider viewers worldwide. My value card has additionally needed to change. At the moment, I cost $60 (Sh7,875) for a shave and I solely do home calls,” he says.

In per week, Safari attests that he would have a minimal of six purchasers. “Most of my purchasers usually are not Kenyans, and the Kenyans that I get are those who’ve been dwelling within the diaspora and are again residence for a vacation, which I discover regular as a result of it was the identical state of affairs in Rwanda.”

Safari Martin, a mobile barber and a content creator

Safari Martin, a cell barber and a content material creator poses for a photograph at Nation Centre in Nairobi on Might 9, 2024.

Photograph credit score: Billy Ogada | Nation Media Group

Why Nairobi?

“While you discuss barbers in Africa, I appeared as much as the Kenyan barbers just like the Dufanda brothers, Charlo the barber, Jimmy, Fahim and others. I selected Nairobi as a result of I needed to develop, once I was in Rwanda I gained the Grammy award, the content material creator of the 12 months among the many barbers, I achieved all that however then our barbering trade in Rwanda was nonetheless rising so I needed to transfer to a rustic with a much bigger audience,” Safari admits.

Nevertheless, regardless of his thrive, the language barrier and persuading folks to take the minimize for content material creation is likely one of the largest challenges he has encountered.

“It is all the time onerous to persuade folks when I’m strolling on the streets and searching for somebody with good hair. In Kenya, I tag my buddy who speaks good Swahili so he reveals them my social web page and the way inventive it will probably get to persuade them,” he says, “once I’m out on the road searching for folks to shave, I do not take note of their monetary standing as a result of I do it without cost. [a way to advertise his services on social media] Most individuals in Kenya are used to getting a shave for Sh200 or typically Sh500.”

Paying to shave clients

As a result of it takes up most of their time, they usually see that you’re utilizing harmful instruments, typically Safari even pays them for a haircut. All that is to create content material and attain new clients.

Because the influencer barbers unfold throughout cities, will males’s loyalty shift to the consolation of the soft leather-based chairs and emoji likes of their heads posted on a social media web page?

Conservative males say discovering a trusted barber is like discovering a hidden gem and it could be onerous to yo-yo the allegience.

Ian Kiplagat’s expertise along with his barber spans 14 years.

“It’s tough for a person to do a number of explaining on how he desires his hair and, most significantly, his beard shaved. It is all the time simpler when all you need to do is sit and revel in your time since your barber is aware of precisely what and the way you need your hair to look. That’s the reason I’ll stick with mine,” he says.

Mr Kiplagat tells the BDLife that earlier than he bought his present long-time barber, he had beforehand stayed for 3 months with no shave, simply attempting to scout for somebody who would shave him to his liking.

On the constant facet, he has had the identical model of hair shaved over time, paying Sh800.

He says his hesitancy to check out these influencer barbers is as a result of he isn’t as daring.

“I bear in mind a while in the past, my barber tried to present me a brand new look, which was not very completely different from what I all the time had, however once I went to the workplace the next week, most of my colleagues observed the change and stated that I appeared barely completely different. This made me really feel very uncomfortable, so I had to return to my barber that night to get my regular in the reduction of,” he says.

Though conventional, he says his barber has launched a number of complimentary.

“Once we began, it was simply the shave, however steadily they launched different complimentary companies, of which I desire the facials and head massages that I’ve additionally obtained over time from one other constant girl within the barbershop,” he says.

Mr Kiplagat says he isn’t about to alter his present barber due to exaggerated companies within the context of contemporary progress.

“There may be a number of pointless pampering with the brand new types of shave, which I select to go away for the younger technology,” the 44-year-old says.


The Kenyan barber enterprise has steadily proved to be a worthwhile enterprise.

Nevertheless, the distinction between the brand new and previous barbers is that the brand new thrives finest with top-notch companies and efficient advertising of the enterprise.

They’ve embraced the cut-and-shave model, providing premium companies similar to beard grooming and head massages which have boosted their gross sales by attracting clients.

Age and know-how have performed a job within the shift in barbering.

Charlo tells the BDLife that almost all of their purchasers are of their 20 as much as 35 years. “They like good vibes and many interplay, listening to loud music and issues to do with their age, they usually additionally prefer to be understood which we constantly ship for his or her consolation,” he provides.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *