One on One with MARTIN PRIHODA
Founder of Chop Shop
What inspired you to get into Men’s grooming space?
My inspiration came very much from India. When I came 10 years ago to this country I was very fascinated by the barbers in every nook and corner of the country. Since then I have tried so many barbers ranging from the most local ones sitting under the trees to the most elite ones. So basically the main motivation was the generation of old school ‘Indian hajjams’
Why do you think Men’s grooming is so important? Or what importance does it hold in today’s day and age?
Traditionally when we talk about grooming as far as men are concerned it has always been a space for their wives or girlfriend or the women of the house in general. It’s very common for the men to hear from them that I’m going to get my hair done or get my nails done but it’s very seldom you’ll hear a man saying that I want to go to get my hair styled or my nails done. But we are now coming in an age where it has become quite acceptable for men to groom themselves at the same time, I don’t find men to be very comfortable pampering themselves in a very women oriented space, getting their hair color or shave done next to a beautiful woman. So I have tried to create a space like a man cave where they can be themselves, relax and enjoy the place.
What is the market projection of Men’s grooming?
The market projection for the men’s grooming market is already looking up. It has grown by 43% in the last 5 years and in the next 5 years its estimated to be a 5,000 Cr market. So I feel Chop Shop has entered the market at a very right time and we are here to establish this global trend in India. In UK and New York you still find these instant barber shop, but India has this preconceived notion of a barber shop and it’s still considered down market. So I’m trying to build a brand around Chop Shop to give it a cool factor. My goal is to give my clients a lifestyle component. With the salon, a clothing line around it, men grooming hair and beauty products, male oriented activities like mototorcycle tours etc. So just don’t come into Chop Shop you become a Chop Shop man.
What made you choose Goa as a base?
For a few reasons, firstly that I am here, its home for me, therefore it being very comfortable and in Goa you get perfect cross-section of society, because the entire country comes to Goa.
So when you are starting a concept, it’s the perfect testing ground. One day a guy from Kashmir, another day from Delhi or Gujrat or Chennai. So you are able to gauge their likes and soon I would want it to become a popular hotspot like maybe a Thalasa where people visiting Goa have to visit.
What product do you recommend for the monsoons?
We use mainly man company’s products and we also procure products of brands from all over the world. We are also developing our own product line. I would recommend not to keep your skin not too dry and to use a good hair wax to keep the frizz out and give it a good shape.
What are the upcoming trends in Men’s grooming?
I personally like neat and classic styles which I feel would never go out of fashion. I like side hard parts. We specialize in classic services for now. And if customers have a request, we try to give our best.
What is the scope for barberettes in this male-dominated field in India?
We want to revolutionize Barbering in India and a part of that would definitely be training female barbers. And getting out of the space that barbering has to be a male-oriented space. I feel there is a lot of scope for female barbers and we want to create a generation of female barbers who are self-confident and empowered who just own the space. Although Chop Shop is a space for men, we would welcome women to come hangout and chill.
What is your USP?
Two different things, first is that we want to give barbering services in a cool and contemporary environment which doesn’t exist yet. We have developed a brand-specific series of procedures that we strictly follow that really compass the comfort of man, we are also trying to create a lifestyle brand around Chop Shop.
What are 3 products men should always have in their grooming kit?
Nail clippers. Deodorant, cologne, hair wax or hair clay. I feel men should always feel nice and fresh, whether it is their shaving cream.
Where do you see Chop Shop 5 years from now?
I see Chop Shop as the premier barbershop chain in India with over a hundred outlets, full of female and male barbers and I would want to see us as the most iconic lifestyle brand in India.