A unique space is opening in Trafford that will bring a bar, barbers, hair salon and beauty salon together under one roof.
Owner Andrew Sharples hopes Beards and Brows on George Street in Altrincham will become a safe, inclusive space for ‘anyone and everyone’ to enjoy getting their hair and beauty treatments done while hanging out together in a fun space.
READ MORE: Residents shocked after council gaffe meant ‘ugly’ 20m 5G phone mast was put up ‘right in their faces’
“This is totally new ground for me,” Andrew, 44, tells the M.E.N.
“It’s a wonderful idea I had and it’s something I’ve been working towards for a while now.
“I have a Master’s in Organisational Psychology, I worked in HR for big organisations.
“It might not be the background you associate with someone opening up this kind of place, but my history revolves around helping people work together and get the most out of each other.
“I’ve always been about the synergy of things and I guess that’s how this ties into all of that.
“It’s about these different businesses coming together and cohabiting a space with no worry about taking customers and just really supporting each other.”
Andrew says the idea for Beards and Brows came to him when he was with a former girlfriend and they both decided to get their hair done together.
As expected, one of their haircuts took less time than the others.
He explains: “It took 25 minutes for me to get a haircut but, for my girlfriend, it took four hours and the entire afternoon.
“At the time, there was no real way of making it a joint experience that we could both enjoy.”
Since then, Andrew has spent the last three years refining his business idea.
He had originally planned for a spot near to the universities, but plans fell through and he came across the site in Altrincham during the first lockdown.
“It’s all going to be housed in a fantastic three-floor building,” he says.
“It used to be a haberdashery, music school and an office so we’ve had to completely renovate it and refurbish it to make it suitable.”
As Andrew was starting to lay down plans for building work, the country was once again put into lockdown and put his business plans in doubt.
“I thought we’d have difficulties not being able to open for a really long time and I was worried that people might not come back to the high street but it turned out all that was unfounded and I was worrying about the wrong things.
“The real difficulty we had was not being able to get tradesmen or material. It suddenly became this unbelievable challenge to get plaster and timber.
“We had originally hoped to be open in March, but we’ve faced huge delays because we can’t get people to do the work in the world we’re living in at the moment.”
Andrew says he realises that launching a business during the pandemic offers its own sets of challenges, but he says he has faith in what he’s offering to people.
“Obviously it was a huge risk launching a business not knowing what’s going to happen in the world let alone the industry,” he laughs.
“There’s some people who think it was a bold decision but you’ve just gotta go for these things sometimes and push on with the faith you have in the business.
“I think people are going to like it and I think it’s really going to bring people together.”
Alongside a hair salon, barbers and beauty salon, there will also be a bar where local DJs will perform during the weekend.
But, Andrew insists, the business is first and foremost about hair and beauty.
“Those who register on our system will be able to buy drinks at the bar so it’ll work as a members club kind of thing.
“We do want to create a cool and youthful vibe so we’ll be piping through house music in the evening and we’ll have a DJ come on for a few hours.
“If you come in during those evenings, you can get your hair done, get your makeup done, have a few drinks and head off into town for the rest of your evening.”
He hopes the space will also become a welcoming place for trans and non-binary people and others who may feel the traditional salon or barber space isn’t inclusive enough for them.
“I think the hair and beauty industry has generated a type of segregation,” he explains.
“It creates environments based on what we know or think people want without really considering how others may feel.
“We’ve tried to create something that steers away from that. Our barbers do have brick walls and it does look a little masculine, but we’ve got a beauty area and I want men to feel comfortable going there and getting treatments or botox done.
“I’d like to say we’ve created a space that’s more inclusive and where there’s no judgement.
“We will try to do everything we can to avoid those stereotypes and barriers that people face.
“I want everybody to feel they can come here.”
Beards and Brows is set to open in October. You can find out more information here and they are also looking for a number of beauty and hair businesses to get involved.
Sign up to the MEN email newsletters to get the latest on sport, news, what’s on and more by following this link.