Our visit to The Boardroom Men’s Salon & Grooming

This past Thursday, one of our students at Gwinnett Barber Institute was invited to interview with The Boardroom Men’s Salon & Grooming to be a barber in their Madison Yards/Reynoldstown location.

She needed a live model to demonstrate her cutting skills, so I volunteered. I’m very picky about who cuts my hair… although I had never seen her cut straight hair before, I had confidence in her skills (I also had my regular barber ready to come behind her just in case).

I want to give a big THANK YOU to Jennifer Rodgers, the Operations Manager of The Boardroom, for allowing us to bring a couple of our students along to see what an important part of the barbering hiring process looks like.

Note: If this sounds more like a glowing review of The Boardroom than a Thank You post, I guess it probably is… they give the kind of experience that I aspire to give my clients, and I haven’t seen many present-day barbershops doing it in this manner.

About The Boardroom

Calling The Boardroom a Barber Shop is somewhat of a misnomer. It is the kind of shop that I would usually refer to as a full-service luxury barbershop. It is unrushed, and is far more than “just a haircut.” The service is a relaxing experience for the customer, first and foremost… hence the “Men’s Salon & Grooming.”

That having been said, the haircut is far from being secondary. I received the most compliments on my hair I have ever received (more on that later). I was watching the other stylists in the room, and noted how jealous I was of one of the ladies’ shear work.

It is the kind of barbershop that any barber should want to model the level of customer service they provide… one that any barber could be proud of being a part of. All barbershops/salons have some sort of metric as to how long a client should take for a service – but you would never know it watching the barbers and other service providers as they relaxed and were unrushed. I think most people have a story of being in the chair of a barber who was just trying to get them done and out (whether they knew it or not).

The Boardroom has several locations through the Southeast. From the outside, it looks like a company which is matching the mentality of a growing company with standards, while maintaining customers’ luxury that a barber shop can provide. I hope they can keep this going, because I think they have a good thing.

How the interview went

We were there for the practical part of the job interview… Sure, anybody can talk a good game, but can they cut? Can they cut what that location needs to cut? I’ve been cutting for three years… there are some barbershops which I fit in like a glove, some where I’ll need some training in their style of cutting, and some which I’ll need to get a few more years under my belt before I consider cutting there. The practical examination is a big part of any barbershop/salon interview because it shows the manager/owner whether the barber is the right fit for their shop.

Our student, Cydney, set up at one of the stations. She already knew that I had my barber as my safety net, so she was at liberty to do whatever she needed to do for the interview. As she was cutting my hair, I was watching the other cutters in the room, noticing how well the customers were being treated and how comfortable they were.

Cydney cut my hair in a way which I had never had it cut before – and it was a style which wasn’t really aware that my hair could really pull off.

I don’t think I have ever seen Cydney work on straight hair before. Many barbers whom I’ve seen work primarily on curly hair hair seem to get uneasy when they get a pair of shears in their hands. However, she seemed very natural with them in her hands, and she was very efficient with them.

When she showed me what she had put together, I was pretty happy with what I saw, and I was going to tell my barber that everything as good.

Then the manager stepped in… the next level

Everywhere I have worked has had some sort of protocol for quality control… it usually doesn’t mean that the primary person is doing a bad job, and it often involves the manager is putting the polishing touches while the employee is learning and developing. The best managers I have seen make it a seamless process, and know how to make a learning opportunity without the client even knowing it, or if they do, they see it in a positive manner.

I got blindsided… Jennifer said “Let me go shampoo his hair.”

I often encourage barbers (and people in general) to take care of themselves and to allow themselves to enjoy luxury services from time to time. I specifically tell barbers to do this so that they experience what luxury and personal service feels like. I tell them about the foot massage artists at May’s Massage in Marietta. I tell them to go get a manicure/pedicure once a month or every six weeks…

I have added getting Boardroom’s Benchmark Haircut to the list.

Jennifer led us into a separate room which was dimly lit with several shampoo stations. It also had soft music playing – an automatically relaxing experience – and then walked me through a relaxing paraffin hand dip which I’m going to have to add to my monthly regimen… it left my hands smoother than they have ever felt, and it may be my imagination, but I haven’t noticed any of the little pains in my hands which seem to go with being a barber.

She also did a beard wash with a steam towel treatment, and what is probably the most relaxing facial massage I have had while getting shampooed.

The students witnessed a whole other level of customer service and were wowed. One of them said that they were going to have to make sure they have a room like that when they build their barber shop in the future.

When we returned to the chair, she did some finishing touches to my hair – it was as if she has already entered training mode for our student, but only a barber would know it had happened.

After the interview

Jennifer spent some of her time answering questions from the students. She told them about the things she looks for when bringing a barber on board. Then she spoke about the the continuing education which her shops give, and invited them to sit in on some of the monthly classes which they hold.

I trust that the conversation between her and Cydney afterward was productive, as well.