HE went from flying in the air to driving on the streets. Arvind Doresamay, 32, who used to work in the airline industry, decided to join forces with his brother Muhilan, 36, a former engineer, and open a barbershop on wheels to make ends meet.
The brothers saw a gap in the affordable haircut market and high-end services provided by the barbershops in their area.
Being a caravan enthusiast, Arvind bought an old school bus, and found the perfect way to ensure that the school bus is still “running”.
“The idea of opening a barber bus popped up randomly, but I’ve always been the guy who’s interested in caravans [and] army crafts and I’ve always wanted to have my own caravan,” he said.
“I decided to go mobile as the rental for shops here was very expensive.
“That’s when I started purchasing the bus and converted it into a barbershop.”
Focused on serving men of all age groups including children, TheBarberBus engages with customers on a personal level by remembering their names.
What is the theme and inspiration behind TheBarberBus?
“Our minibus has its own aesthetic value and history, so we’ve decided to incorporate it with an American theme.
“If you were to go to an American barbershop, they would use wooden flooring and timber finishing, which it is also used in our barbershop.
“We DIY most of our decorations, where we also converted old whiskey bottles to lamps to match the whole American aesthetic.”
Can you explain your goals in bringing back the experience of a relaxing haircut and shave in the style of days gone by?
“Our goal is very simple – to serve the community here. Our prices are highly reasonable and we only employ local barbers as we want to support the local market.
“Our barbers are very experienced and we provide [affordable] and complete services as well.
“Although cheap, it’s very high-end and you get a ‘relaxation’ vibe.
“The response from the local community here has been excellent, as it is convenient for them to walk to our bus.”
What are the challenges that you faced when operating on wheel?
“Considering how the bus was [originally] in a bad condition and had a curved shape, rebuilding it was definitely a challenge.
“We removed the old bus ‘skin’ and replaced it with a new look to match the building where our bus would be parked.
“We also had to remove the bus’ suspension, and lift it up to prevent it from wobbling when customers get on our bus.
“Since there is no water system on the bus, we had to design it on our own as well.
“Other than that, being the first to operate a mobile barbershop was intimidating, as we weren’t sure of how it would be accepted by society – especially with the pandemic going on.”
What can customers expect before they arrive, and after receiving their haircut?
“Although we are still new, we managed to acquire 600 customers, and all of them became returning customers who fell in love with our services and found us very friendly.
“They are also pleased with our standard operating procedures (SOPs), where our barbers would do a Covid test once every two days, and how all our tools are sterilised after being used.
“Since we also have children coming in, parents and other customers will never have to worry as we have set a very high standard of cleanliness.”
What do you guys hope to achieve through your business?
“As for now, we hope to further improve on customer satisfaction as it is our main priority. For the coming future, we hope to grow and open more franchises of TheBarberBus.”
For further information on TheBarberBus or to book your appointment, visit www.thebarberbus.net.