Vendor Spotlight: Grooming the Groom at Modern Male

Emma Frankart Henterly
Relaxation and grooming at Modern Male in Dublin

More than a decade ago, Modern Male owner Brenda Kocak worked for a professional hair products company, visiting salons and selling her wares.

“I saw how men were kind of a sideline to the business,” she says. “They wanted to go to nicer salons, but it was like they were added into a color service: ‘Oh, I can squeeze a men’s haircut in here.’ … My first job was in a barbershop, and I just always felt like every haircut deserves full attention and the full amount of time to do it correctly.”

So she opened Modern Male, at the time a hair salon only, in historic Dublin. Over time, Kocak noticed more and more clients requesting what she calls ancillary services—waxing, facials and skincare, massage and even nail services. Today, the salon offers all this and more in an elegant, contemporary salon that feels anything but feminine.

“When you’re talking about grooming the groom, we start several months in advance,” Kocak says. “A lot of times, we’ll start three months ahead of time … because it can take us three haircuts to get the specific look they’re going for.” Other services, like waxing and even manicures, benefit from early implementation as well.

“Women like more change; the guys, they want people to notice, but not be like, ‘Oh wow, that guy got his eyebrows done,’ ” says esthetician Jordan Bowling. “The gradual approach works best for a lot of my clients.”

Modern Male offers two tailored groom’s packages: one recommended for the week before the wedding, which includes a bio-targeted facial, back wax and haircut, and one recommended for a day or two prior, with a one-hour massage, manicure and pedicure.

“We’re flexible; we work with a lot of different budgets,” Kocak says. “We like to customize. So if someone’s interested in [packaging] three specific services, we do 10 percent off those three services.”

Also not to be overlooked, says Kocak, is hair color.

“There’s a lot of color blending that we do, especially for photo-ready types of looks,” she says. “It can be very subtle. A lot of times, your closest friends and spouse may not even recognize that you got color, but it just puts a little uplift in your look. We can tone down some of the salt; we can make it look a little more peppery. We blend it in with your natural hair color.”

The salon features several relaxation areas—complete with comfy chairs and complimentary snacks— for guests who arrive early or have down time between services. There’s also a cash bar serving cans and bottles of beer and half-bottles of wine.

The salon’s retail sales focus on salon-direct lines selling “quality products that aren’t over-the-top expensive,” says Kocak. The standard hair products and skincare are joined by elegant safety razor sets and even cologne.

“My favorite tip to give grooms is to do a new cologne for your wedding,” says Bowling. The scent memory the new cologne creates will be unique to your wedding day, and bringing out that same scent on special occasions—like an anniversary—will evoke nostalgia for your wedding day.