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Proraso Brings Experience of Italian Barbershops to the U.S.

Men are stepping up their grooming game, spurring interest in artisan barbershops.

Barber Michael W. Haar is bringing the experience of an Italian barbershop to Manhattan in tandem with Proraso, Italy’s leading shave brand.

Haar, who has been the U.S. national barber for Proraso, opened Haar & Co. today in New York’s West Village at 45 Christopher Street. The Proraso brand, distributed in the U.S. by Bigelow Trading, is used and sold in the shop.

“The barbershop is an extension of the brand,” explained Ian Ginsberg, president of C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries. To gear up for the opening, Proraso sent Haar on a fact-finding mission throughout Italy where he trained with “the finest barbers in every city,” and attended a Proraso master barbiere training program, said Ginsberg.

With branding and creative done by Redscout and architecture by Moschella & Roberts, The 700-square-foot site sports six chairs decorated in a throwback style to barbershops of the past — indicative of Haar’s persona. “He lives his life in the jazz age,” Ginsberg added.

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Michael W. Haar

Services includes Italian-inspired hot-towel shaves, haircuts, beard trims and facial massages. Prices range from $55 for a haircut $90 for a haircut and shave.

“There are a lot of shops around,” acknowledged Ginsberg. “But it was important for us, with the number-one brand in Italy, to do something special and bring the culture here. You don’t really see the true Italian experience in the U.S. It is a whole different culture, life revolves around the barbershops in Italy.”

U.S. men are gravitating back to the artisan days of men’s grooming, sparking interest in shops that treat haircuts and shaves as rituals, rather than chores, according to Carrie Mellage, vice president, consumer products at Kline. Barbershops and the brands associated with them build a strong lifestyle connection with male consumers, Kline research reported.

Ginsberg agreed and said the new American thinking encouraged the development of Haar & Co. “Guys are paying more attention [to grooming] It’s not going away and it is an important step in the evolution of Proraso. We wanted to get the products in a barbershop and show people what the iteration of the brand looks like.” He hopes to open similar shops in other cities along with offering Proraso master classes in the U.S. Proraso also has staged pop-up shops at events and in stores across the country.

Beyond Proraso, Haar & Co. also sells Marvis Toothpaste and Tenax styling products which are also distributed in the U.S. by Bigelow Trading. “And,” said Ginsberg, “no Italian barbershop is complete without espresso.”