We spoke with Founder/Creative Director Chetan Mongia and Head Barber Kevin Muru for an insight into their new men's grooming boutique venture in Kingsland, Barba.
T&D - What sets Barba Apart?
Chetan Mongia - Our philosophy is simple, education for our team and our clients. We always want to work towards becoming a better barber, recommend products, teach them how to style and tell them what’s trending. We don’t want to be a place where people go to get their haircut, we want to be a place where people go to get better haircuts. We are also working towards planning on educating our fellow barbers and newbies and sharing the years of knowledge we as a team have gained and continue to gain.
Tell us how long you’ve been a barber and where did you barbering journey begin?
Kevin Muru - Like most barbers, I was cutting friends/family hair for years without training. In the year 2000, I studied at Servilles as a hairdresser completed 2 years then decided it wasn’t for me and no longer my career choice then about 6 years ago I attended Mr. Barber in Auckland to train & become a qualified barber before working full time at a small local barbershop located in Mt Albert.
What got you interested in cutting and styling hair?
KM - From a very young age, I changed my own hairstyle constantly. Trying all sorts of lengths, patterns & colours. You name it, I have probably done it at some stage. I enjoy the creativity & freedom you can have with hair as it can always grow back or change colour again. It’s one part of our body that can easily be changed to express a stage in our life and I like that I can be a part of making that expression happen for someone.
What are the emerging trends you’re seeing in the industry?
Chetan Mongia - In 2018, we expect to see the rise of longer, less conventional styles. I visited New York during NYFW 2018, saw a lot of long but chopped into hairstyles to create lots of movement and texture. Also, a great look if you are trying to grow your hair. For shorter cuts, it’s about rejecting no hair out of place look. Less the labour you put in, the cooler it looks. Another upcoming hair trend we are seeing is from the skateboarding era which is the crop look which is tight on sides with slightly loose on top creating a lived-in look.
KM - Barbering at the moment is heading into the future. Barbers are learning and inputting a lot more skills into an industry that has a huge history. Our services are widening and the image of your “typical” barber is changing. It is an exciting time to be involved in the barber industry.
Tell us about the shop design and aesthetic
CM - The design was done by the team and Gerrick Numan keeping in consideration we wanted to keep the place clean minimalistic, affordable yet classy, young and welcoming.
What do you do to unwind?
KM - I always appreciate time alone to clear my head & chill. But a beer or two and a good dose of sport helps!
What’s your motto?
KM - Go for it, no matter how it ends, it was an experience.
What does Kingsland / Auckland’s culture bring to Barba?
KM - Great bunch of interesting & friendly clients. Also a chilled but “happening” vibe. There is always someone new to meet or something new to be a part of. Kingsland is a fabulous area of Auckland to be apart of!
What are 3 things every guy needs in his bathroom cabinet?
KM - Face moisturiser, T&D face scrub & your choice of aftershave
Or go visit them 464 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland, 1021
“You don’t have to be born beautiful to be wildly attractive”— Diana Vreeland
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