Old Spice barbershop

Old Spice is opening its first barbershop in Columbus, Ohio, in an effort to be the leader in men’s hair care and grooming.

The 3,500-square-foot location near Ohio State opens in March and houses six barber chairs for grooming services. It also serves as a retail outpost, offering Old Spice beauty and grooming products, collaborations and merchandise, as well as product from other P&G brands like Gillette and Bevel, among others. The space also includes a 1,000-square-foot studio for content production.

The company made sure to follow COVID-19 protocols, so barber chairs are distanced at least six feet apart, and ionization stations are installed throughout the shop.

According to Leif Edgar, Old Spice brand director at Procter & Gamble, the barbershop is a “two-year journey” that has long been in the works prior to the pandemic, and is a natural progression from its pop-up events at the Super Bowl and ComplexCon. “We’re doing something more permanent and planting our flag as an authority on hair care,” they said.

Old Spice chose Columbus for the first location due to its proximity to major urban college towns, the diversity of students and people in the area, and for being two hours from the brand’s headquarters in Cincinnati. In addition to the staff of barbers on hand, Old Spice is also inviting celebrity barbers for a residency where they can shoot content and host events when it is safe again. The first celebrity barbers, which include new and current brand partners, are Florido Basallo, Benjamin Thigpen, Matt Johnston, Pat Regan, Moody Jaber and Vince Garcia.

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“We’d say COVID-19 threw us for a loop, but our goals remain the same,” Edgar said. “We want to see 50,000 interactions in the shop [including haircuts and shopping]. The biggest part of the shop is to be able to produce content and reinvent what content looks like.”

Edgar added that he’s optimistic about the barbershop despite the present conditions. He mentioned Old Spice partnering with barbers and NBA athletes in the bubble in Orlando in 2020, where the league also installed a barbershop. The brand had to adjust its plans for activations, but has pivoted to digital activations and content for the launch. He also sees the content studio as an asset for brand partners to produce content with Old Spice in real time or in a more agile way.

“Men continue to be a huge pocket of growth,” he said. “The male segment remains one of the fastest growing segments in beauty and Old Spice continues to lead the category growth. Once we start to see some semblance of normal, guys will crave personal interactions. This is about finding new and different ways to connect with guys. If and when Ohio, and Ohio State in particular, opens a bit more we’d love to get back to in-person activations, but for now it’ll be digital activations.”

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