Micheas Chan, General Manager of Spa Esprit Group, tells us about running men’s grooming salon We Need A Hero, one of his company’s many cutting-edge lifestyle brands.
What is We Need A Hero?
We Need A Hero (WNAH) is Singapore’s first and only all-round male grooming and retail experience that believes in celebrating global barbers and grooming everyday heroes.
What makes you stand out?
WNAH is a barbershop that goes beyond haircuts and shaves to include body waxing, eyebrow shaping, and head and shoulder massages. It also operates a retail store on the premises, Hero’s Den, which sells Atelier LLYR shoes, Ksubi sunnies and Carrie K jewellery, and holds exclusive rights to grooming brands such as Malin+Goetz and Geo. F. Trumper.
WNAH believes in helping the everyday man become a better version of himself – to help transform him into an everyday hero. We believe that looking good and feeling great should not be the exclusive right of the privileged, but for all men. So we have deliberately crafted the WNAH experience to be inclusive not exclusive, smart but not stuffy, and classy but accessible. We also hold regular workshops, Order of Heroes, to share knowledge on everything from whiskey appreciation to taking care of your leather shoes.
Our staff comes from the UK, Brazil and Taiwan, and new members from Japan, South Africa and Serbia will be joining in the coming months. We hope that our international barbers can act as an eye onto the world for our customers.
When did WNAH begin trading?
Did they see a specific gap in the market?
Spa Esprit Group recognised that men are increasingly catching up with women as far as an interest in personal grooming is concerned. But beyond that, we saw that men wanted a grooming space to call their own; this is why we launched a specialty concept store just for them.
What age group are you aiming at?
No particular demographic. Our doors are open for all men who are on a journey to discover themselves.
How competitive is the marketplace?
No less than six barbershops have sprung up since we started. We see this as a good thing for the male grooming industry in Singapore. We welcome the competition as it adds noise to the industry and spurs innovation. It also keeps all players on their toes as far as maintaining great grooming standards and service is concerned.
How have you used technology to get ahead?
For haircuts and shaves, technology will only get you to a certain level. The key is the people. WNAH is proud to have our chief barbers, Janice and Quester, who have well over 30 years of experience between them. Our international barbers invigorate and differentiate our services as they lend their techniques, influences and experience.
For hair removal, our competitive advantage comes with being a brother brand of Strip, Ministry of Waxing; we’ve imported their techniques and technology, including specially formulated wax and customised IPL systems. For brow services, meanwhile, we also use only the best tools and techniques from Browhaus and the Global Brow Salon, which are also brother brands of WNAH.
Is social media an important tool for you?
It’s not possible to be a modern retailer or service provider without recognising the importance of social media; WNAH is on Facebook and Instagram. However, it is also for precisely this reason – the rise of social media as a pervasive mode of interaction between people – that we believe in our duty to deliver the best experience that only the human touch, conversations and interactions can provide.
Any plans to diversify?
Definitely. WNAH is already about more than just about haircuts and shaves, and we will grow as we anticipate customers’ needs. We’ve already added two dimensions to our concept, the aforementioned retail concept, Hero’s Den, and our series of consumer workshops, Order of Heroes.
Where do you see the business in five years’ time?
In line with our philosophy of “Celebrating Global Barbers, Grooming Everyday Heroes”, we aim to bring WNAH into other neighbourhoods, beyond Tiong Bahru. We’re looking to open our second boutique this year.