So tell us about Beards & Co.

Beards & Co is a boutique barbershop. It offers a wide variety of grooming services, ranging from a standard haircut with scissors and clippers, to hot towel shaves and weekly beard trims. It has been created to provide a members club feel, somewhere social to go and enjoy a refined barbering experience with expert staff and a friendly welcome.

How did you choose your location?

Newport is undergoing a real renaissance, with many people confident about their sense of style and fashion. The city is well served with fine salons and barbershops, but when we were researching the market a clear gap was identified for people who wanted to enjoy a superior grooming experience. Baneswell is a cool city suburb, full of professional services companies, and we thought we would fit right in.

How have you recruited?

We have been bold from day one. Once we got hold of the keys of 7 Baneswell Road, we put an advert in the window asking for the best barber in Newport to come forward and take the reins. And Rhi George turned out to be the lady for the job. We couldn’t have asked for a more professional person to manage this business. With a mix of retail, hospitality and extensive global barbering experience, she has embraced our ethos of exceptional customer service from day one.

So you’ve found the first class barber you were looking for?

Absolutely. Yes, Rhi is fully qualified to level 3 in both barbering and hairdressing. She has taught in England and Wales and represents Welsh barbering apprentices working alongside Welsh Government. Rhi is also an experienced beautician. This means we’re able to carry out skin care treatments and will be providing back, neck and shoulder relaxation massage in the future. We are fully qualified to give our clients a high-end pampering service which many are looking for.

What influenced the bold interior design?

The design brief was inspired by a mix of old-school gentlemen’s clubs, boutique hotels and traditional barbershops. You will find a proud display of framed sports shirts dramatically lit by gothic style chandeliers and vintage filament bulbs. The wall lights are horses’ heads with protruding lampshades, gracefully sited above Union Flag panels, cushions and an upholstered chair.

Tell me about the pulpit.

Yes, the pulpit has turned out be the real talking point of the shop’s stylish interior. We salvaged it form a disused church in Chester some six months before the shop opened. It’s more than just a prop though. In the coming months it will be home to guest DJs, acoustic musicians and a Beards & Co barbershop quartet.

How are people reacting to this new offering in Newport’s city centre?

We are overwhelmed with the response, with customers walking through the door from day one. We have launched with three tiers of service: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The top level includes a hair wash with conditioner, the signature Beards & Co scissor and clipper cut, brow and facial hair tailoring, relaxing head massage and a premium fragrance finish. We have started to sell these as gift packages, which have already proved popular as anniversary presents and birthday surprises.

And you’ve become a bit of a celebrity hang-out already.

We’re really fortunate to have some of the city’s famous faces and rising stars as friends of Beards & Co. We chatted to them before we opened to test the idea, so we are delighted to now see Newport Gwent Dragons captain Lewis Evans, and vocal talent Tobias Robertson, who performed on BBC’s The Voice, coming in to see us already.

What have you got planned for your customers in the coming months?

We are launching a number of new initiatives in the spring. These will include a loyalty club, a calendar of social events and a quarterly beard clinic. We will also be holding exclusive in-shop events on the art of tailoring, seasonal footwear choices and tips on fine dine dining and wine pairing.

Are there plans to expand the Beards & Co empire?

We see Newport as the flagship store, and want to expand across south Wales first, and then over the bridge to Bristol, Bath and further afield. With the right formula we are confident that the unique Beards & Co experience will be welcomed in new locations.

So when can people visit?

The shop is currently piloting opening days and times, including late nights on Thursdays and full days on Saturdays. We want to be open when our customers want us. No appointment is necessary, although we will be offering specific slots for Beads & Co Gold Package clients.

From an everyday hair cut to a special occasion – it sounds like you’ve got it covered.

Our customers see a visit to Beards & Co as an affordable luxury. We know people want to look good and feel good when they leave, which is why we only use premium designer fragrances in the shop. And following a recent request, we will be offering private grooming sessions for wedding parties. These will be a chance for the groom, best man and ushers to meet up and get sharp in the days before a wedding. We are really looking forward to hosting our first group very soon.

And the future?

As the business grows, we will be bringing in more professionally trained barbers to work at Beards & Co and continue to develop their experience and knowledge, under the stewardship of our in-house qualified assessor and teacher.

Beards & Co. 7 Baneswell Road Newport, NP20 4BP