The newest talk in town, for a reason.
Bilal Kabbani brings to Dubai skilled barbers, innovative techniques and a welcoming environment, also known as Bô Barbershop, a one of a kind, one-stop grooming salon for men.
Contributing Editor, Reefaya Noortaj chats with Kabbani about his experience starting the salon. Below, get inspired by his mutifaceted growth approach that puts an emphasis on teamwork, marketing and design.
Bilal Kabbani is a UAE-based entrepreneur juggling the tough scales of being a full-time corporate employee and a part-time business. Bilal’s vision was to elevate men’s grooming services in this region. Needless to say, the demanding challenges that stood his way brought out Bô Barbershop, a brand instilled with self-expression and the art of men’s personal care with a playful spirit. The inspiration for Bô Barbershop was born out of a friendship that developed with his barber and now partner Oliver. “Oliver made me appreciate the craft because he’s so skilled and passionate about what he does. It’s not a job for him. It’s an art combined with the love of storytelling and connecting with the person sitting in the chair; forging real human connections, being fully present with them and enjoying the moment. His passion for his work is contagious; he made me fall in love with it and I truly appreciated his talent. I’m not talking about barber skills-he’s an amazing barber. Probably one of the best in town. I’m also talking about the energy he brings, the culture he creates in the shop, the impression he leaves on people, his care for his teammates, business and customers.” says Bilal with great gusto.
During their venture, the partners wanted the shop to reflect their values and attitude: caring and welcoming employees and customers. Bô Barbershop was envisioned to be a chill place in the middle of a bustling city like Dubai, where customers can let loose, have a pleasant chat, meet like-minded people, groove to the music, and have a good laugh whilst enjoying the impeccable services of Bô. Although, it’s impossible to build a dream single-handedly. Bilal shares his perspective on the imperativeness of having a trustworthy dynamic team: “Important is an understatement – critical is more like it. It’s tough starting a business and you hurdle through countless challenges. If trust is absent, then leave it. The venture wouldn’t last. Partners and teammates need to be aligned from the start and grasp what they are creating. Plus, they must consider the best interest of the business at heart meaning an unshakable belief and refined skills.” Bilal and Oliver’s dynamic complement each other with very little overlap. Oliver takes the lead in the shop by maintaining vibrant energy and culture and Bilal runs analysis reports, working on communication strategies, elaborating about partnerships and collaborations. But, the length of their reliability and trust is the true backbone of Bô which proves that mutuality is the key ingredient to running a successful business.
"If trust is absent then leave it. The venture wouldn't last."
Burnout, in our current corporate culture, is a real state of emotion. Bô Barbershop desired to create a space that would provide a break from the busyness of life by delivering escapism for its customers that goes beyond a traditional barbershop. Bilal says that the magic lies in having an amazing hardworking team that fits like family; people who are genuinely happy to work for the brand. “People who are taken care of and who smile and welcome new customers and treat them like friends not because it’s an obligation but because it naturally comes to us. That’s the magic of Bô, we carry an irreplaceable essence. It’s the energy of the people who work here – Oliver, Mike, Nar and Vergel. You must visit to understand,” expresses Bilal.
The people and aura of Bô aren’t the only elements that separate this barbershop from the rest. The shop’s interior and exterior were designed by award-winning interior designer Fadi Sarieddine. Fadi focused on the founders’ passion for the outdoors, surfing, and camping. Bilal explains “Wood, which gives the shop a warm earthy feeling. The light and dark teal colours are reminiscent of the greenery of nature and the ocean. The greenish-grey terrazzo floor resembles the rocky ocean floor complemented by a high ceiling inspired by oceanic waves. The aim is, when a customer gets a shave they’ll see that mesh wave shape in the towering ceiling and feel tranquil.”
Bô takes the lead in carrying out the latest trends in the male personal care industry and brings them to their shop. “When it comes to beard trends, we’ve noticed that men deviate towards shorter/medium beards – it makes having a beard and wearing a mask more comfortable in our current situation. At Bô, 90% of our clients have beards and truly want to invest in good beard products. We have a special control pomade, pre-shave oil, beard moisturiser, balm, oil as well as a specific beard shampoo and conditioner which we use on our clients in-store too.”
Bilal created unconventional strategies to entice new customers, like the genius “first impression at interviews” marketing strategy as a part of Bô’s Ramadan special. “Honestly the ‘complimentary shave and haircut for interviews’ wasn’t intended to drive new customers. Ramadan inspires kindness and generosity and we felt like we wanted to make a small contribution and offer something that can be of value to people looking for a confidence boost. Our marketing has been through mainly word of mouth; people tend to avoid a new barbershop once they’ve found their go-to. But I think the positive reviews and word of mouth is helping heaps of people discover us and feel intrigued enough to walk through our doors.” says Bilal.
Bilal concludes that men are becoming much more aware and conscious about personal care. “Dubai is a maturing city in the process. Initially, the barbershop offering was limited and quality barbers were scarce. It’s great to see that now customers have a bit more choice and men are starting to appreciate the value of a skilled barber.”
About The Editor
Born in Bangladesh and raised in the Middle East, UAE and Bahrain, Reefaya is a postgraduate from The London School of Economics in U.K. and an undergraduate from Sussex University. Having her life spent six years in England discovering the roles of International Development in various corporate fields, Reefaya joined Harper’s Bazaar Arabia (Interiors and Art division) as a Junior Assistant Editor in hopes to incorporate the influence of sustainable development in the fashion world. With an immense love for sustainable fashion, social development, and art Reefaya has additionally written multiple digital articles for HELLO! Middle East, Grazia Middle East, and AHLAN focusing on these topics.