Bruno's Barbershop Quartet

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | | 1 comments »

Bruno's BarbershopFour sisters make the cut in the barbershop business

Philippine Business Magazine

Back in 1990, when Amy Manas’s son Marco was still a toddler, she felt uncomfortable about the idea of bringing Marco to the barbershops in their neighborhood. This sparked an idea—Amy and her sisters Karina Manas-Manapat, Peachy Manas, and Joyce Manas-Magpale decided to try their hand in the barbershop business, and thus the birth of Bruno’s Barbers.

“The concept of the place was really quite simple,” relates Joyce, who is Bruno’s Barbers executive director. “We just wanted a barbershop that offered the usual services, but in a very clean environment.

With an initial capitalization of P700,000, the sisters opened their first Bruno’s branch in Alabang. According to Joyce, there was no particular reason why the siblings chose the name “Bruno” for their shop. They just found the name very masculine and thought it suited the barbershop, which would primarily cater to males. The sisters also felt clients would find the name easy to remember.

Bruno's BarbershopQuality Service

Like any new business, Bruno’s Barbers had its share of ups and downs. Their first challenge was to establish their name in the industry. They also had to prove to clients that although Bruno’s rates are higher than those charged in most barbershops, the quality of service Bruno’s clients get is worth every peso paid.

“Our market is mostly the A market, but we cater to all ages, from the grandfathers to the toddlers,” Joyce explains. “A haircut at Bruno’s Barbers costs about P150, and we also offer a wide range of services.” These services include nail cleaning services (manicure and pedicure at P150 each), hair and scalp treatments (P700–P1,300), hair coloring (P650–P950), and massage (P175-P450).

Apparently, their prices did not scare the customers away, as two years later the sisters opened their second branch in the Katipunan area in Quezon City. This branch has since moved to a bigger space in Libis. Moreover, Bruno’s Barbers now also has branches in Greenbelt 1, Salcedo Village, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Club (which is exclusive to the club’s members), Fort Bonifacio, Paseo de Magallanes, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas Center, Greenhills, Tomas Morato, Visayas Avenue, Commonwealth, and Robinson’s Place Lipa. A 16th branch in Banawe is scheduled to open before the end of the year.

Calculated Expansion

It took the sisters 16 years to open the 16 branches. Joyce explains that they wanted to be sure that each branch was stable before they opened another one. Nevertheless, although they were conservative in carrying out their expansion plans, these were achieved not without difficulty.

“One of the problems we encountered when we started expanding was standardization,” Joyce looks back. “We had to work on the consistency of the services and the products. What we want to achieve is that if a client goes to the Alabang branch to get a hot oil treatment, he should get the same hot oil service in all our other branches.”

Another area that the siblings had to concentrate on was the training of their personnel. In addition to their shops’ very clean environment, the Manas sisters are proud of the professionalism of their employees. "We are very particular with staff training and how they deal with our clients,” she relates. “Compared to the roadside barbershops, you will really notice a big difference in this aspect.”

The emphasis on cleanliness, consistency, and training has paid dividends. These days, Joyce notes that more women are patronizing their barbershops. When before most women would go just to accompany male relatives or friends, more and more women are turning to Bruno’s for their own haircuts.

“The ladies come to us because our prices are lower than the high-end salons, but they get basically the same product and service,” Joyce happily shares. “The ladies are also becoming more comfortable about going to the barbershop, and it doesn’t matter to them any more if they are seated next to a male customer.”

A Family Affair

Even if Amy and Karina are busy with their own businesses and Peachy with her dentistry practice, Joyce says she and her sisters are very hands-on when it comes to managing the barbershop business. The sisters have divided the management of the branches among themselves, with each one assigned to an area of responsibility. In terms of administrative work, Amy is in charge of finances, Karina handles human resources, Peachy takes care of purchasing, while Joyce is in charge of operations.

Marco, Amy’s then-toddler son who was the inspiration behind Bruno’s Barbers, is slowly becoming more involved in the business and handles marketing. Joyce and Karina take turns in conducting training workshops for their barbers and other personnel. On the average, each branch has 20 personnel.

Looking ahead, the sisters are taking their expansion plans further. They are aiming to open more Bruno’s branches in the provinces by taking the franchising route. The franchise fee is currently pegged at P500,000, and the package includes the training of personnel and preopening assistance. So far, they have four franchised outlets.

“Hopefully, we will get to open branches in the provincial areas by the end of this year or next year,” Joyce continues. “Our farthest branch so far is in Lipa, Batangas, and we are targeting Pampanga in the north and the Visayas in the south.” While it may take some creative marketing to win customers away from their favorite neighborhood barbershops, the sisters are confident that with the strength of their services, they will soon have their base of loyal clients in these places as well.

1 comments

  1. am_azier // January 22, 2011 at 11:19 AM  

    good day to you ladies!

    i wanted to start my own barbershop business but i dont know where to start with..can u suggest of a store or somewhere i cud buy equipment to start with? thanks..

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