Consistent and innovative; two words that best describe Paxi, an Indonesian barbershop chain that has been around for two decades - long before the barbershop hype that we see today. In 2016, Paxi Plush was born, the premium version of Paxi, created to up their game in the barbershop scene.
Two small barber’s lamps hung on either side of a glass door with a wooden frame at Pondok Indah Mall’s skywalk on the second floor. On the wooden wall beside it, embellished with a simple profiling, the spotlit sign says “Paxi Plush”. As you enter, you come into a lounge area with comfortable seats, a coffee table and a coffee machine. Beyond that, there are back-to-back rows of vintage barber’s chairs waiting for customers who are ready for a haircut or a grooming session.
“A good interior design is important for guests to feel comfortable,” says Armen Noor, founder of Paxi and Paxi Plush. All of the Paxi Plush branches, which are now open in Pondok Indah Mall, Plaza Indonesia and Plaza Senayan, have adapted the same classic look. Paintings hung on the walls give an artsy touch and every corner of the shops, as well as the equipment, are always kept squeaky clean. The barber’s stations have been designed for optimum convenience. Each workstation, for example, has its own hair washing basin so that clients don’t need to get up and cross the room to get their hair washed.
Armen got the inspiration for upgrading to Paxi Plush from visiting premium barbershops around the world, like in London and Kuala Lumpur. The ‘hangout’ culture at barbershops has not yet been adopted here in Indonesia. Many customers, for example, are professionals with limited time, who come solely for a haircut. But Paxi Plush is out to set the trend again. They have anticipated the ‘hangout’ culture with facilities like the lounge, where wives, girlfriends and friends can chill out, and a choice of background music that creates just the right atmosphere.
Being located in big shopping malls is another plus for business. Armen explained the reason why he only opens his barbershops in shopping malls, “Let’s say, in the rainy season, who would want to go out in the rain just to get a haircut? But in a mall, they can do other things too. So there will be more customers”. There is, however, a compromise that has to be made; most shopping malls, especially the upper-class ones, are very strict about the tenant’s design, from the materials they use to the compatibility with the mall’s overall interior, so ‘freedom of expression’ is somewhat curtailed.
While still converting more branches into Paxi Plush, Armen has already planned the next stage of development. “We’re going to provide manicure and pedicure services in some of our branches,” he says. Even though demand is moderate at the moment, this kind of bold move, seen through the eyes of a visionary, are what often starts a whole new trend.