Launched in 2011, the Russian chain of barbershops Chop-Chop already has a network of 80 salons across Eastern Europe. The next one open this fall in Berlin, followed by their first US salon in 2018. FAB met up with one the chain’s co-founders, Alexey Ermilov, to ask him about the key to his inspirational and hard-earned success.
Create A Simple & Efficient Concept
When you ask Alexey Ermilov, the co-founder of Chop-Chop, the secret behind his brand’s success, he replies humbly that, “we never expected that our growth would be this rapid and that extensive. However I remember us thinking that Chop-Chop as a business model could be a success in every large city. Men will always need to get their hair done, right?” Chop-Chop decided to capitalize on the basic need for traditional grooming that has already proven itself popular: shaving and haircuts, all in a masculine, friendly atmosphere.
Go All Out For A Great Atmosphere
The extra special touch that turns Chop-Chop’s clients into regulars? A friendly atmosphere. In Eastern Europe, men’s styling salons didn’t used to be places where men could go to enjoy themselves or hang out with friends. At Chop-Chop, espresso and beer bars bring a mood of good fun right to the heart of the salon. “Russian men have been oppressed by the strict gender standards for ages. They still are in fact. But now they can blow off some steam at the barbershop. Not only can they now groom themselves with styling pomades and beard elixirs, but talk about it openly and with certain pride,” Alexey told us.
Stay Ahead Of The Competition
Over the past few years, the return to prominence of traditional barbershops has brought with it huge competition: “Yes, the market is booming, and a new barbershop is literally opening on each and every corner,” Alexey told us. In order to stay ahead of the game the co-founder of Eastern Europe’s coolest barbershop chain explained to FAB that his priority was to innovate every step of the way. “We were the first to launch our own barbering school, the first to launch an app for iPhone and Android, the first to scale beyond Russian borders.”
Discover & Train New Talents
Chop-Chop’s barber schools are one of the main factors behind the chain’s success. These styling schools uncover new talents and ensure that the salons’ services are always of high quality.
“We have two hairdressing academies in Moscow and St Petersburg, while the third in Kiev is a work in progress. Our professional coaches train new staff at every opening location. Twice a year barbers from franchised Chop-Chop shops are asked to prove their qualifications at the academy or at one of the three-day barbering sessions we arrange across the country,” said Alexey.
Overcome Your Limits & Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Despite their breathtaking success, Chop-Chop’s co-founders are far from ready to take it easy and are always looking to push back the boundaries of their knowledge and techniques. In 2013 they launched Birdie, Chop-Chop’s sister chain: three salons dedicated to women with the same friendly atmosphere common to the rest of the franchise.
“A fourth location is being planned for Moscow this year,” Alexey told FAB. Their other latest project? The Bobo Boxing Club, a boxing gym where clients can go to relax: “We’ve already gathered a strong client base and will be expanding this autumn.” Chop-Chop’s success won’t stop anytime soon, so make sure to keep an eye on them!