Gentlemen, get ready to be pampered!
KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — Fancy a haircut and a shave in the privacy of the Duke’s Parlour that is fitted out with a flat screen television? And perhaps have a cup of coffee with your cigar after you are done? If you think this kind of pampering is beyond your reach, think again.
Antoine Bakhache, the owner of TrueFitt & Hill Malaysia, aims to please by bringing the best barbershop in the world to South-East Asia. And even better, it is priced rather affordably.
Compared to barbershops in London where it costs £45 (RM225) for a haircut, RM95 at TrueFitt & Hill Malaysia is really a steal.
“We didn’t want to cater only to the rich. We want to cater to you. RM95 is not the end of the world; you do it once a month so what’s the big deal? We see this as a big business, grooming is catching on but, honestly, I don’t want to believe I’m in the business of luxury. For me, it’s accessible luxury so it makes it an accessible necessity but in a luxurious atmosphere,” Bakhache explained.
Established in 1805, TrueFitt & Hill is the world’s oldest barbershop. Among the many luminaries who have had the TrueFitt & Hill experience are Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire and various members of royal households worldwide.
And now TrueFitt & Hill’s 200 years of research and experience can be enjoyed at Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
So how did TrueFitt & Hill Malaysia come about?
“I always go back to Bakhache Luxuries. We brought in fine jewellers Mouawad. So Mouawad created all the database for us and our connection with people. And then there is Cristofle, our silverware. We always had this idea and this urge to do something for men. It was more of a personal thing because I couldn’t find any good barbershop and we come from a background where barbershops are everywhere,” said Bakhache
Initially, Bakhache thought he might create his own brand. He wanted to bring in the products of TrueFitt & Hill and open his own barbershop. But after much thought and a trip to London, a decision and negotiations were made. Bakhache Luxuries ended up bringing TrueFitt & Hill to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
TrueFitt & Hill has an average of 50 customers per day. Bakhache hopes to achieve 80 to 100 customers daily in the next six months. The forward-minded businessman knew what his customers’ preference would be so he actually planned ahead when starting out TrueFitt & Hill Malaysia.
“We kept it more elegant, clean cut, very good service, coffee and tea on the house. So we took the brand TrueFitt&Hill and brought it up two three notches. Things like our shoeshine, the Duke’s Parlour... they all do not exist in London. We have brought it in and done it ourselves.
“We thought that if people want to colour their hair or other services, they don’t want to be seen in public. A big percentage of our clients are royalty, ministers, big industrialists, CEOs... if I go through the list of people coming in every day, you’ll be shocked,” said Bakhache.
All TrueFitt & Hill services can be enjoyed in the comfort and privacy of the Duke’s Parlour. It is RM100 per entry and you are served like royalty with beverages on the house.
Taking the TrueFitt & Hill brand further, Bakhache offers RM250 gift vouchers in a fancy box, together with a brochure and nice packaging instead of the usual gift voucher. Another thing he has done differently here in Malaysia is a complimentary shoe shine service and you can enjoy a cigar and coffee at the Cigar Lounge.
To ensure the utmost hygiene standards, every single item used for haircuts, shaves, manicures and pedicures are double sterilised. They are pre-packed in pouches so when the customer is served, the items are opened in front of the customer so they know it is clean.
In case you are wondering, each barber at TrueFitt & Hill Malaysia has at least 10 years’ experience in the business. One of the most experienced barbers has about 25 years’ experience so you know you are in good hands.
Still, the proof of the pudding is in the eating... so I got my friend Shannon to sample TrueFitt & Hill’s Ultimate Shaving Experience. What’s different here is the hot towel step is repeated four times to give the customer a rejuvenating experience.
First, a hot towel is placed on the face to prepare the skin for the shave. The heat and moisture helps soften the beard and open the pores of the skin, enabling a cleaner shave. The towel is sterilised and has TrueFitt & Hill’s signature scents for a nice-smelling experience. A Pre-Shave oil is applied to keep the skin well lubricated, protecting the skin and allowing the razor blade to glide smoothly.
The barber then places another hot towel on Shannon’s face to lock in the moisture and keep the pores open as preparation for the shave. While the customer enjoys the hot towel, the barber prepares the TrueFitt & Hill shaving cream — this time he uses the Trafalgar scent. The shaving cream is mixed with water to create a rich lather and after the hot towel is removed, the barber massages the skin in a circular motion with the brush.
Using a twice sterilised blade, the barber shaves with or across the grain of the beard, gliding it gently over the skin. To ensure the razor remains clean throughout the shave, it is rinsed and the steps are repeated until the facial area is clean shaven.
The residue of the shaving cream is then cleansed off the face. It is important to make sure aftershave is applied but before that the TrueFitt & Hill barber moisturises the skin and massages the face while another towel is used again.
Finally, a cold towel is placed on the face to close the pores and aftershave is applied to soothe the skin. The verdict? Shannon said it was absolutely relaxing and loved the whole experience.
TrueFitt & Hill
Lot S135, 2nd Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre,
285, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, 59000