Every idea starts with a problem. Mine was simple: Grooming is synonymous with discomfort for Indian Men.
I was in a Services Experience Marketing class at Cornell, when I first heard of manspas and new-age barbershops. I couldn’t get myself to take notes, even though the professor lingered long enough on every slide. As I looked at the slides, the pieces of an unsolved jigsaw puzzle began to piece themselves together before me: the creases on my dad’s forehead; the disgruntled tone of cousin brother, whenever we told him it was time for some grooming; my ex-boyfriend’s elaborate schemes of taking me along for manicure so that he could later pretend he’d been forced into it; all came back to form a bigger picture. The picture that the thought of going to a salon only brought out negative emotions in Indian men. And so, I decided that I’d spend my winter break hanging out and interviewing them, trying to understand their emotions in the process of grooming. And the responses that I got were mind-boggling.
“The idea of going for a haircut is so frustrating that I just style a crew cut all year long; my wife runs a clipper through my hair at home,” said a media executive, between chuckles.
The one that stuck with me the most was what this startup founder said to me: “I don’t want to be sitting in a barber chair with a lady next to me with a facemask on, staring at me through the mirror.”
They all had similar complaints, and I was amazed and excited, by the possibility that grooming could be so much more than an errand. It could be a break; from responsibilities, from routine and from playing the role that society needs a man to play.
The idea is spending some time in peace, which we need a lot more frequently than we imagine, and is often overlooked.
The idea is to indulge your mind in a deep conversation with someone from a whole different walk of life, and dip your toe in how much brilliance we have around us, if only we had the time to stop and look around.
The idea is to be around people and a servicescape that is designed to make you feel like your best self- and only people who understand the essence and impact of hospitality can do that.
That’s why, us. That’s why, The Lair.
I imagine people coming in to play a game of chess, indulging in some reading over incredibly drinkable coffee or having beer with good conversations. All this besides getting some world-class grooming done while blues run the game.
I truly believe that this is the future of the grooming industry. We have lived with the “one size fits all” culture for too long. Our days grow longer and our vacations shorter. We are, slowly and steadily, becoming more mindful- of the kind of work we do, of where and how we spend our time, mostly because we realise that we can’t just live for the weekends. We’re all imagining a new world, and ‘The Lair’ is my little contribution to it.