A Man For All Seasons: Truman’s Gentlemen’s Groomers
The secret is out. Most men love a little posh pampering. They would just rather be mowed down by a runaway grain thresher than be seen receiving it.
"So we built this business around the insights of men," says Joe Marchesi of Truman's Gentlemen's Groomers, a salon and spa made for men by men who know how men think.
"We're part salon, part spa and part barber shop," Marchesi adds. "Barbering used to be a really respected craft, but in the States it went by the wayside."
No longer. Walking into Truman's time warps customers to the era before glitzy salons: when going to the barber was upscale but not precious, masculine but not needing to constantly prove it.
What’s Old is New Again
Offering a range of treatments men often find need of (haircuts, coloring) but do not want to be on display while getting (backwaxing, facials), Marchesi and his team took a cue from the barber shops of old, laying out Truman’s to convey a sense of intimate privacy.
The massage room and pedicure chairs are ensconced in their own cozy nooks in the back of the property, while the styling stations, in the front, are divided by blinds to create semi-private sanctuaries, with the shampooing pavilion between the two.
Being a men-only establishment, treatments that ring of femininity are rebranded to appeal to male sensibilities: a manicure is billed as Handshake Maintenance, while a pedicure translates to Foot Repair.
"We’re not trying to be tongue-in-cheek," explains Marchesi, who began the Truman’s story in 2006 with business partners Hans Deutmeyer and John Esposito, Jr. Truman’s knows its audience, offering services not by what they are but by what they do.
"Men are results-oriented. Manicures and pedicures to a lot of guys sound like a waste of time, ’handshake maintenance’ and ’foot repair’ they get."
They also get a staff focused entirely to a man’s aesthetic and experience. "The individual who is working you is dedicated to men," Marchesi continues. "If you are getting a haircut, that person is trained not only in how to do a proper men’s haircut, but also how men interact."
All this man-ness is not without a little man-luxury. Armed with a veritable apothecary of products including Malin+Goetz, The Art of Shaving, and Keihl’s (and coming out with their own line later this year), Truman’s staff can in minutes transform you from pauper to prince.
In the waiting room, a gratis bar stocked with beers and liquors sets a chummy vibe, and even that most utilitarian of men’s grooming, the shave, is turned into a 45-minute state of bliss by masters of the trade that leaves the skin smooth and presentable as a classic Greek sculpture.
"It’s not about us. It’s not about someone who works here; there is no one named ’Truman.’ It’s about our clients," says Marchesi. "It’s about all of us pulling together to make an amazing experience."
And you won’t even have to turn in your ManCard.
Truman’s Gentlemen’s Groomers has two locations:
120 E. 56th Street
121 Madison Avenue
Visit trumans-nyc.com for more information and full list of services and packages.