XMEN founder, Philip Ayesu, like any other businessman, would patronise his local barber once a month for a haircut and shave.
Whilst waiting his turn to be attended to in a cramped barber shop one day in 1999, he simply got up and walked out, deciding that the overall experience fell short of expectations.
For the next 10 years he opted for an in-home service from his regular groomer – gone was the wait in a cramped and often noisy environment and more so, he could relax in comfort.
The trusted groomer approached Philip in early 2010 for assistance in setting up his own barber shop. He was happy that he’d be helping the man to become self-employed and agreed to fund the start-up.
Premises were located and fitted out but much to Philip’s surprise, the barber felt the new grooming business was too large and decided to part ways and start his own micro barber shop! What to do now? He had a fully fitted out grooming business on his hands!
Undeterred, the entrepreneur developed a business strategy that included an analysis of competitors’ offerings against customer expectations. Like him, his colleagues were disillusioned with what was available and preferred the in-home grooming service. They wanted more than just a haircut and shave.
It was at this crucial point that Philip Ayesu realised a significant gap existed in the market. Creating a brand that provided solutions to customers’ problems and built on a foundation of service excellence and professionalism in a conducive environment, would not only redefine the market, but disrupt it entirely. Importantly, profit was not a stated business objective, but rather considered to be a natural outcome of providing solutions and ensuring elevated customer satisfaction.
And so the XMEN brand was launched in 2010. It soon became known as a ‘home away from home experience’ with comfortable lounges, a state-of-the-art sound system, large screen TVs featuring sport, music and news, a pool table and Ghana’s first ‘grooming bar.’ Services were expanded to include haircuts and styling, hot towel shaves, manicures, pedicures and therapeutic massages. It was on par with an international business class lounge. The grooming market had been reimagined.
Central to the strategy was the importance placed on professionalism. Only the most talented and experienced staff were recruited – an aspect that played a crucial role in customers becoming loyal, long term clients over the years.
Philip Ayesu is proud too that XMEN created a world-first for Ghana with international clients being astonished to find such an innovative grooming concept available in Accra.