Finding a good barber can often be a big challenge for guys. After all, being stuck in a chair making small talk for 45 minutes with someone you don’t know that well isn’t all that appealing. But the metier of barber is undoubtedly one of the few that isn’t menaced with extinction by the Internet, and you may as well find a good one ASAP. Simon Chercuitte doesn’t seem to have any problem finding clients, who more often than not become friends. Simon and partner in crime Craig Cousins quickly became the heart and soul of the Atelier Frank & Oak in Mile-End.
“The guys who come to see me have had enough of department store thinking. They’re looking for something smaller, more authentic. Here we chat, you can listen to blues while I serve you a scotch,” says Simon, winking at his next client who’s checking out shirts in the shop while waiting his turn.
“It’s nice to see. We came on the scene when men were starting to take care of themselves, and I don’t mean tanning salons and body waxing. Now guys have nice beards that they’re maintaining. They shop for quality clothes that have a history to them. They’re interested in hand-operated things. I think we’re more manly than ever.”
Simon picked up his two 1920s barber chairs in the Bronx. A bit of a saga ensued, during which he had to sleep in his van after getting stuck at customs waiting for the right papers that would allow him to bring the chairs into Canada. He reflects: “Above and beyond trends, it’s important that young people starting out have respect for the metier. My new clients come here because their trendy hairdresser does the same cut all day long.”
One should also note that, for Simon, being a barber is a lifestyle. He has his idols and the blogs he visits regularly just as a designer or an advertiser would. “I follow inspiring guys like Schorem Barbier, Ricki Hall or Nick Wooster on Instagram. Guys”, he says, taking a sip of scotch. And it’s by meeting guys like Simon and Craig that one realizes how important it is to do something you like and for the right reasons. You don’t have to be a millionaire if you have a heart of gold. Drop in to see Simon or check out the clothes at l’Atelier Frank & Oak.