Bonhomme Origins: interview with the founder, Aurélien Bertrand

In between haircuts, we decided to interview Aurélien Bertrand, founder of Bonhomme barber shops in Paris and Nantes. Beneath his well-trimmed beard lies a hairdresser at heart, who decided to embark on the beard adventure, armed with his passion and unfailing motivation. 


How did you come up with the idea for your barber shops?


The idea wasn't obvious at first. Having left for London to become a hairdresser against my parents' advice, I opened my first salon, Cut(e), back in the capital. It wasn't until 2012 that I felt the urge to open a barber shop in Paris, then a barber shop in Nantes, realizing that there was less supply than demand. Above all, I wanted to revolutionize the way barber shops in Paris are perceived: snobbish, pretentious and often too cramped. 

While I had finally put this idea aside, I fell in love with a local for which I had to wait 2 years. The Bonhomme adventure could finally begin. 


Why "Bonhomme"?


The name came to me instinctively. Although I chose it spontaneously, I like the idea that all the men who come to us, and the barbers who work with us, can identify with this entity, whether it's our barber shops in Paris or our barber shop in Nantes. BonhommeOur barber shops in Paris and our barber shop in Nantes are salons for all men, bearded or not, who want to treat themselves to a moment of pure relaxation, without any headaches, in keeping with their personality. 


Barber shop, spa, concept store, men's club... What are you really?


I have a twofold advantage: as a hairdressing professional, I can talk to customers to identify their needs; as a manager, I can take a step back to make the right decisions. A simple observation: men, like women, like complementary services, extra options that enhance the salon experience. That's what I've done with the concept-store corners, men's sps and even billiards in the Montorgueil barbershop and in our barber shop in Nantes. 


If you visit our barber shop in Nantes, or our barber salon in Paris Montorgueil, we've created some pretty unique corners. In Nantes, we invite you to discover our selection of products from the Milk boutique, accessories carefully chosen by our Nantes barbers. In Montorgueil, we made our choice at Royal Cheese, our neighbors and friends. It's simple: Milk and Royal Cheese are two trendy, contemporary brands, close in spirit to our salons, with a shared clientele. In the end, we offer a total men's beauty experience: hair, beard and the it-accessory of the moment, all in one place. 


As for the spa treatments offered in our Paris barbershop, they're just the next logical step in our drive to offer a complete men's grooming experience. Going to a barbershop for body treatments is more intimate than a mixed-gender beauty salon. The idea is to democratize skincare for men, so that they're no longer afraid to go to a salon and, beyond that, allow themselves to take care of themselves. Our tailor-made, intimate spa meets this vision.


Aurélien Bertrand are you a hairdresser or a barber?


Great question! Even though I come from a hairdressing background, I'm just as involved in the meticulous work of beard trimming as I am in haircutting. I think the two services complement each other and have become inseparable. To understand what kind of beard cut a customer wants, you have to understand his hairstyle and vice versa. A good barber in Paris, as in Nantes, needs to understand the customer's hair and facial issues to be able to offer a coherent package that fully meets the customer's wishes. 


What are your future ambitions?


I currently own three salons Bonhomme : Bonhomme Montorgueil, Bonhomme Mathis and Bonhomme Nantes. Our ambition is to continue developing salons not only in Paris but also in France's major cities. In September 2019, we will open a new Bonhomme in Paris (the address of which is being kept secret) and very quickly afterwards another barber shop in Bordeaux. We realize that men's grooming is no longer a fad, but is firmly anchored in the minds of modern men. That's who we want to satisfy! 


I'd also like to continue developing the Bonhomme Only evenings, events we've designed for our most loyal customers. It's a simple way of thanking those who have always followed us, the influencers who have chosen us, and of maintaining the link between barbers and customers by giving greater depth to their exchanges.


And, of course, we always go the extra mile for our customers, convinced that the care we provide makes them better people every day.