Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Truman's Gentleman's Groomers Brings Macho Beauty Care to Flatiron

FLATIRON — Manicures and pedicures? That’s chick talk.

But “handshake maintenance” and “foot repair?” Now you’re speaking dude.

Hand and foot pampering — known by those more masculine monikers — are popular staples on the menu of services at Truman’s Gentleman's Groomers, a men-only spa and salon on East 56th Street between Park and Lexington.

Those services — along with others like shoe shining, free cocktails and TVs blaring ESPN — have made Truman’s a hit among well-heeled men in their 30s, 40s and 50s for the past six years.

Building on that success, the glorified barber shop has now opened a second location on Madison Avenue between East 30th and 31st streets.

“You want to be near male-oriented businesses,” said Truman’s co-founder Joe Marchesi, 40, noting the presence of Credit Suisse nearby.

Also, he added, “[this neighborhood] is starting to get really big with tech firms.”

Marchesi launched Truman’s six years ago with his business partner, John Esposito Jr.  Both were working at IBM at the time but were interested in striking out on their own.

Neither had any experience running a salon, but they saw a void in the male grooming options available at the time. Businessmen were strutting around the city in $2,000 suits and $500 shoes—but with $18 haircuts, Marchesi explained.

“They were missing that piece,” he added.

The haircuts at Truman’s are definitely not $18. A wash, cut and style costs around $68, which includes a scalp massage and a hot towel.

For $88, the professional package offers a haircut, manicure and shoe shine, all completed within 45 minutes.

And several yearlong membership packages, providing unlimited access to the salon’s signature services, cost upwards of $1,000, Marchesi said.

But it’s not just about what’s offered, he added. Ambiance and attention to detail are key.

A bar near the front of the salon serves complimentary drinks. The magazine selection includes Maxim, Sports Illustrated and The Economist. And the televisions are consistently tuned to ESPN and CNBC.

Each haircut station is separated from the next by a partition to add a little privacy, Marchesi said.

“That allows them to have conversations about hair coloring, whether or not they’re losing their hair,” he said.

The pedicure — or, ahem, foot repair — area is semi-enclosed as well, and the waxing and massage area is sectioned off into its own room.

Waxing options range from eyebrows to full back waxes — something Marchesi said could make a man a little uneasy in a mostly female salon.

“Everything we do here is dedicated to men,” he explained. “Women love this place too because their guy will finally get a good haircut.”

The concept isn’t for everyone. Several online reviews for Truman’s scoff at the idea of a $68 haircut and challenge the notion that men crave a little pampering. But others have embraced the men-only spa.

“I won't lie and say it was cheap or not at least a little extravagant, but I didn't feel ripped off at all. And everything they seem to do is just first class,” one reviewer wrote on Yelp.

“So $80 for a haircut that includes tip? Yeah, the wife laughed at me. That barely gets you a bad one if you're a woman.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Gifts for Men

When we first opened Truman's in May of 2006, we had no idea how important women were going to be to the success of our business.  To be fair, our ignorance can be forgiven due to the fact that Truman's is dedicated entirely to men.

From the moment the first 30-something woman strolled into the shop after her eye caught one of our Father's Day holiday package window signs, it hit me how big this was.  We had created a "gift" that women had been dying to give their guys - a good haircut.  The manicure was just icing on the cake - she would settle for the haircut.

In reality a lot of gifts that we give are a twinge self-motivated, particularly when the gift is intra-family.  Did my wife REALLY say she wanted a digital camera for her birthday or did I decide it was something she probably should have.  Did the fact that I was interested in that item enter my mind?

Far be it from me to complain, but I think there is a little of that going on when a woman buys a guy a Truman's gift package.  The big difference here - if you will allow me - is that the gift is not usually something the guy necessarily believes he actually needs until he comes in and gets some services.  And then he cannot believe what he was missing.  9 times out of 10 he is hooked.  And then perhaps she wonders if she as created a monster when the next year he actually know what he wants . . . a Truman's Membership!

For great gifts for  . .er. . .him, check out

Happy gift hunting and happy holidays.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Do The Right Thing [and you will have good customer service]

I am proud to say that we do not make too many major mistakes at Truman's, but I will also admit that we are not perfect.  Over the course of about 100,000 client visits / men's haircuts over 5.5 years, we have stained three shirts when a team-member was moving too fast and failed to fully remove some residual color chemicals from the wash sink.

The third incident was last week. Invariably, the client has no idea because the offending color stain is on the back of his shirt.  His stylist discovers the spot and then has the unenviable task of breaking the news to the client.  I happened to be at the front last Tuesday morning when this incident occurred.  For me, the answer was easy: Acknowledge the problem, apologize, and act.

In this case I told the client we would replace the shirt immediately.  He was very gracious about the entire situation and did decide to go out immediately to replace the shirt.  To complicate the situation slightly, he had just purchased a Truman's annual membership prior to his service!   In an attempt to minimize his inconvenience, I suggested he need not return with the receipt, but just call us to let us know the total amount that we should return to his credit card from his earlier membership purchase.

As it turned out, he returned 20 minutes later wearing a new Thomas Pink shirt.  It was a great shirt, but I did feel slightly awkward complementing him on his replacement choice.

His response caught me off guard.

"Thank you.  This is great customer service!"

Then it hit me.  In today's service economy, where good service is a real scarcity, the most important thing is simply to do the right thing.

 - Joe

Sunday, September 11, 2011

GOP Presidential Candidate Hair Swaps by The Huffington Post

Looks like someone at the Huffington Post is having fun with Photoshop.

The full slide show can be viewed via the link below:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

TONY Tests Man-Makeup

Posted by Melissa Colabella

Lauren Levinson of Time Out New York, with the help of a few TONY staffers, rates a handful of male cosmetics available on the market. Truman's carries two of these products in our retail area. Can you guess which ones? (HINT: It's not make-up! We think you should leave the eye-liner for your sister.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Caring For Your Gray Hair

By Melissa Colabella

More than 40% of Americans have gray hair before their 40th birthday.

There are multiple reasons for going gray, or shall we say, pigment-less. If you've ever plucked out one of your stray gray's you have seen that it's actually not gray at all, but a white hair that lacks pigment. The appearance of this white hair amongst a bundle of ashy brunette hair appears gray.

There are several ways of caring for the salt amongst your pepper.

    • "Gray" hair is usually more course than pigmented hair. Be sure to condition regularly and use a styling product containing moisture. Remember, if your hair is styled well, healthy and shiny, it will look great regardless. 
    • Neutralize tones with specialized shampoos. Silver shampoos contain blue-to- violet pigments to neutralize the tones on brassy, yellowed white hair. The sun acts like bleach, removing the blue molecules in the hair. Smoking, the water you shower with, and pollution can also be factors. Try Aveda's Blue Malva, L'Oreal's White Color Depositing Shampoo, Phyto's Phytargent Whitening Shampoo, or Clairol's Shimmer Lights to name a few. 
    • Speaking of smoking, don't smoke. If lung cancer wasn't enough to make you quit, be vain about it. Smoking greatly increases the likelihood and amount of graying
    • Don't color it yourself. The likelihood of choosing your own boxed "Just For Men" color to match your natural shade is as impossible as me becoming a professional NBA star. Blue-Black is not natural looking, and unless you are 100% white, you risk colorizing fiascoes when mixing pre-made shades with your natural remaining pigment. Ask you stylist for options. Coloring technology has evolved. You can chose temporary colors that wash out to avoid roots, or demi-permanent colors that translucently blend color into the white, making it less noticeable. Your stylist can also focus on sections such as your temples, leaving the majority, therefore coloring the hair gradually and preventing a shock response from everyone at your office. 

Truman's Turns 5!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Obama Gives Birth To A New Type of Swagger

Taken from MariaShriver.Com

Is The Model of Masculinity Changing In America? By Maria Shriver

Got Me Thinking: Is the Model of Masculinity Changing in America?

By Maria Shriver
CNN's John Blake analyzed "What 'Situation Room Photo' reveals about us" from many cultural angles, but I was struck most by what the photo might say about the evolving model of masculinity in America.
This excerpt got me thinking:
American presidents have traditionally sold themselves as our alpha male. Theodore Roosevelt went safari hunting; Ronald Reagan cleared brush at his ranch in a cowboy hat; George W. Bush did his "Top Gun" imitation when he donned a flight suit on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
"There's a certain kind of machismo and swagger that Americans expect their president to reflect," says Clarence Lusane, author of "The Black History of the White House."
Projecting that presidential swagger was so powerful that it obscured some presidents' serious illnesses, such as President Franklin Roosevelt's polio and Kennedy's hobbling assortment of ailments, including a bad back, Lusane says.
"They were both very ill. Kennedy could barely stand for two hours. But they never let those images out because they had to project toughness. Obama, though, is a different animal." The photo shows why.
If someone didn't know who Obama was, he or she probably couldn't tell that he was the president in the room, some scholars say.
"He's not in the tallest chair," says Brown, the sociology professor at Meredith College. "He's not the center of attention. He's not even in the middle of the room."
Yet Obama's willingness to be photographed without the typical Oval Office swagger gives birth to a new type of swagger, says Contee of Jack & Jill Politics.
She says that photo shows Obama's self-assurance and leadership style. He seeks out the opinions of his advisers. He believes in collaboration -- all while he's taking down the baddest terrorist on the planet. He doesn't need to wear a "Top Gun" flight jacket to project strength, she says.
I've been wondering recently whether we are at a transformational moment in American culture as it relates to our expectations of men, our views on manhood, and our definitions of masculinity. This description of President Obama's "leadership style" bears some of those tensions out.
I'm fascinated that President Obama has been able to "project strength" in a way that is authentic to himself without having to imitate traditional "alpha male" models.
So, what do you think: Is the model of masculinity changing in America? Who do you think are some of the new masculine role models? And how are we defining masculinity differently today?
If you don't think there has been a cultural shift, what expectations do we still place on our male leaders and is President Obama living up to them?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

European Hair

By Melissa Colabella

When I was styling hair in Michigan, clients would frequently ask me, "what's the style like in NY?" In the suburbs of Detroit, there are polar opposites in race but a somewhat unvarying cultural demographic. Unlike the fairly small town of Royal Oak, hair styling in this melting pot of a city is multi-dimensional and multi-cultural. With the varying ethnicity's that live here, self expression comes slicked, textured, cropped, coiffed, colored, tousled, braided and buzzed.
I always wondered how homogeneous hairstyling could be in a country with virtually one ethnic group. On a recent trip to Europe, I checked out the styles in cities that weren't multi-cultural. Here's what came up.

Venice Italy:

Longish, slicked back and very traditionally European. This waiter was very proud of his hair and exhibited no hesitation when I asked to take his photo. In fact, he was curious to know why I didn't want to take more pictures.

Luzerne, Switzerland:

I was hard pressed to find a gentleman who agreed to having me photograph him, so I decided to capture these images the sneaky way... by sitting on the front steps of Deutsche Bank and photographing people secretly. There is a uniform aesthetic in Swiss men. Most gentleman in that city were tall, tanned, and noticeably athletic, even with their cigarette in hand. Most men wore their hair tightly cropped. 

Munich, Germany:

The young Germans love their highly textured, medium length, trendy styles. Most German men wore their hairstyles proudly, regardless of whether it was short, long, casual, or overdone.