13 February 2015

Purveyr Tours Back Alley Barbershop

Among the countless offices and shops inside Makati City's business district is a hidden haven for gentlemen. A barbershop that takes the barber and grooming experience to another level. In comparison to women, men are less likely to pamper themselves, but nonetheless they deserve it. In Back Alley Barbershop, "pampering" need not be perceived as soft, a day for himself means a quality haircut, relaxing shave, calming massage, a cup of single-origin coffee, a bottle of craft beer, excellent grooming products, and more. In a nutshell, Back Alley stimulates a gentleman's masculine soul through a masterful curation of men's grooming needs. We talked to Raf, the manager of the space, to walk us through the concept of this contemporary barbershop.

Back Alley Barbershop
Unit 1D, Alpha Salcedo Condominium, Bautista St. corner Sanchez St., Salcedo Village Makati

What is the main inspiration in putting up Back Alley Barbershop?
What we wanted to do was to bring back the traditional experience of a barbershop (a place where dudes can relax and be groomed) which current barbershops have seemed to lose touch over the years. Also, we observed the resurgence of barbershops, as well as a growing interest on men's grooming, in Singapore and Hong Kong, and we felt that Manila should have a share of its own. 

Apart from that, we wanted a venue where we can exhibit Filipino skill: one that can be characterized by precision and achieved through hard work. That's why we helped our barbers by providing processes, tools, and products so that they can be the best that they are.

How is Back Alley different from the already established barbershops in the country?
We believe what differentiates us from established barbershops in the country is our equal emphasis on the vibe and service, which has always been guided by our mindset of a #BetterDude - a man who is discerning in everything that he does.

That said, facets that comprise our vibe was curated, from the music (selections that we play range from artists such as Miles Davis to The Black Keys to Kraftwerk), to the books (good balance of topics from music, architecture, and global affairs), to the drinks (local Katipunan Craft Indio Pale Ale and Aeropressed coffee). We believe it's a setting that entices our customers to stay after their service, and also one that would make them want to be excited for their next haircut.

For our service, we carefully reviewed processes. Our underlying approach to them is by presenting them in a simple and straightforward way but are ensured to be delivered well. We use products from the US and London like Baxter of California, Hairbond, and Imperial Barber Products, which are comprised of natural ingredients. The tools that we use to complement them are Samurai handcrafted scissors and Feather razor blades (both from Japan). We take pride that our barbers are well versed with the products and tools that they use, and most importantly, their role in the processes they do. Trust is then established familiarizing them to their customers.

Overall, this translates to a holistic experience that we very strive to be consistent, and in turn, is valued by our clientele.

Can you describe your usual patron?
Our clients range from 18 to 40 who come from the fields of corporate management, entreprenurship, and design. These are dudes who are specific on the overall aesthetic that they want to achieve, and are appreciative of good design and music.

How do you perceive the current local barber culture?
We believe the current barber culture is growing due to emergence of new hairstyles and products. This may be also due to the fact that only recently, men are having more options with regards to grooming and style. We think a barbershop would always be a suitable place to explore these options

Besides your quality service, what else should we look forward to?
Dudes will always feel kindred once they step inside our shop. On our part, we'd always be conduits between them, and the look that they want to achieve.

Any upcoming developments and plans for Back Alley Barbershop?
We're continuously studying more products and brands that we may bring to the shop, including expanding our beverage list. We're also looking at expanding our brand within the year.

Where can we find updates about Back Alley?
Updates about our shop can be found in our Instagram (@backalleybarbershop) and our Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/backalleybarberandshop)

Photos and words by Marvin Conanan


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