Written by Amy Badenhorst
Photos courtesy of Club Hipster
Interpretation by Heo Suk-young
“A good moustache makes a man for many reasons” – clearly the one who invented this quote, had a good barber. And in fact, gentlemen, now you can have one, too. I present to you Club Hipster. Conveniently located in Dongmyeong-dong, this modern, American-styled, retro barbershop popped up in our very own Gwangju eight months ago, and I got to sit down with the man responsible for some of the most cleanly shaven faces in town. Kim Jeong-min has lived in Gwangju since the age of 12 and decided that real men deserve a real barber.
So what got you into the barber business?
Jeong-min: I started out working in a unisex salon, but men’s haircuts and shaving were more interesting for me. I can feel a kinship with men.
I learned most of my skills from a salon academy. There are no special barber courses in Korea. If someone wants to open a barbershop, they must either go to Europe or the U.S. to study. People in Korea start at a salon and learn trends and communication skills. The women’s haircuts are more difficult than men’s, so I learned women’s haircuts as a basic skill and studied men’s haircuts by myself.
Many barbershops don’t have a unique style, so I wanted to make my shop distinctive.
Who is your clientele?
Korean men shave by themselves because their beards are not so thick. There are not many Korean men to shave, but foreigners have thick and long beards. Steven Ward introduced several foreigners to my shop so now more visitors come to also purchase shaving products. A variety of men visit my shop everyday: men as young as 20 to [those] in their 60s. Professionals visit often and more people who like a vintage style are coming.
What is your specialty cut for men?
I like slick back, pomade, 리젠트 (regent) style. Korean men have various types of hair – straight, thick, thin, or curly – and the shape of their head is not always symmetrical. Considering that, it is better for Korean men to have this kind of hairstyle.
Tell me a little bit more about the interior and the general atmosphere in your barbershop.
At first, I wanted to make a luxury-style interior, but I changed the interior to a more trendy style to suit younger men. It is cozy and a little messy. I saw the interior on TV and added a little of my own personal style.
And the name?
“Hipster JM” was the original name, but I wanted to expand my business and create a certain kind of brand. I think the name clearly illustrates the atmosphere of my shop.
So what is the future like for Club Hipster?
I would like to earn a lot of money. I want young pe ople to admire me and follow my style.
Please note that this shop is by appointment only. When you walk out of the barber shop with a sharp haircut, you can’t help but feel a bit of manly swagger creep into your step. So next time you spot that familiar red and white striped pole, stop in. You’ll be glad you did.
광주 동구 동명동 176-11 2층
176-11 Dongmyeong-dong (2nd Floor), Dong-gu, Gwangju
Phone: 010-8508-7206 (Kim Jeong-min)