Fellow Barber is heading uptown.
The men’s grooming brand with 11 barbershops in New York City and California is opening its first flagship at Hudson Yards at the former Sally Hershberger salon, marking as Hudson Yards’ first dedicated barbershop.
Fellow Barber founder Sam Buffa designed the 12th Fellow Barber location to channel the ’50s and ’60s Mad Men era, but for modern times. He said the location is Fellow Barber’s sleekest shop with clean lines and a modern aesthetic. Some details include original Belmont chairs, mahogany paneling and modernist abstract artwork.
“There is always a Fellow Barber look and feel, a through line with all of the spaces that feel on brand, but it would be foolish of us to build something that fits Williamsburg and cram it into a Midtown location,” Buffa said. “We’re a neighborhood shop and we should reflect the neighborhood.”
The 2,300-square-foot shop will also be home to a professional barbering academy where new barbers will hone their craft under Fellow Barber. “This is something we were working on pre-pandemic,” Buffa said. “We launched the academy internally to teach people who just got their license or wanted to cut hair. This gets them to cut hair to the level we want in a quicker fashion.”
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The flagship is split into two areas: a traditional barber shop with 14 chairs and a training area with six chairs. “It’s the first time we’ve done this and first even in our industry to bring this training facility and academy into a retail environment,” he said.
Bay Area-native Buffa founded Fellow Barber in 2006 and opened shops throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn in SoHo, the West Village, NoMad, Seaport and Williamsburg, and expanded to the West Coast opening locations in Mission District and Mid-Market in San Francisco, as well as Melrose, Studio City, Silver Lake and Highland Park in Los Angeles. The brand previously operated locations in Chelsea Market and in the J. Crew Dumbo shop, which have been been closed.
Fellow Barber, like other barbershops and businesses, had to shutter its doors during lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but the business has since opened back up, with a few locations operating at 2019 levels, and some that are still trying to bounce back. “As a whole we’re on track,” Buffa said.
“It was definitely an interesting time for everyone and at times a little bit scary,” he continued. “We’re an industry that’s very high touch. What we were very thankful for was once we reopened, it became clear that we were a shop that followed the highest CDC guidance and our clients were comfortable. In a normal recession, we got busier, and barbershops and salons always get busier because people are looking for ways to refresh their look. Once the pandemic started to ease a little bit we’ve thankfully been busy enough to keep Fellow going and expand into great new neighborhoods.”
Fellow Barber also produces hair care and styling products and grooming, personal care products and fragrances from other brands like Odin, Asystem, Jupiter, Olas and Ceylon among others. They sell their branded products on their website and Amazon.com, at their physical doors, and at 100 locations from local barbershops to retailers like Nordstrom.
Buffa revealed that Fellow Barber is opening more locations in New York City this year at Grand Central Station and The Roxy Hotel, and is launching branded products at Saks Fifth Avenue.
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