Paul's Barbershop in Piraeus is serving up modern haircuts with classic elegance
Pavlos Fousteris opened Paul's Barbershop to give local men a place to relax, decompress, and chat while they refresh their looks. Uncover what inspired him and why his Greek neighborhood is so fond of his small business.
In the port city of Piraeus, a short distance from Athens' city center, Pavlos Fousteris is reviving the classic men's haircut experience at Paul's Barbershop. Housed in a 19th-century neoclassical building, with design and decor reminiscent of high-end American, English, and Italian men's establishments of the 30s, 40s, and 50s, Fousteris' shop has become a popular meeting space for locals to relax while refreshing their look in a timeless setting.
As the son of a hairdresser, it was in Fousteris' blood to follow in his father's footsteps. Before he picked up the shears, he tried studying marketing—but the inspiration wasn't there. "I didn't like the idea of sitting in an office," he reflects. "I spent three months thinking and thinking about what I was going to do until, while searching the internet, I came across a barber school in London and found it quite interesting!"
After many YouTube haircutting tutorials, barber school in London, and then a trip back home to Greece, Fousteris opened Paul's in 2014, combining his hairstyling and grooming abilities with his marketing acumen to bring a concept to life that would blossom into a neighborhood fixture. "I grew up in my father's hair salon, where I was essentially inspired to create a place that was aimed exclusively at men and be a meeting point for them," he explains.
"My philosophy is to revive the old barbershop. I do not want the customer to just give his money and leave, but to come and enjoy the services, to feel at home, to socialize and coexist with the people working there. That philosophy has built a strong relationship with the customers who visit this shop not only for a haircut, but also to chat."
And chat, they do. "Our customers are like friends," Fousteris says. "Men have gossip in them. Many ask me for advice about their family, while some confide in the barber about their mistakes. My relationship with the customers is like the doctor's relationship with their patients: privacy applies."
On top of being a place where customers feel free to open up while freshening up, Paul's Barbershop is equally appreciated for its impeccable service. Fousteris goes on to explain, "A men's haircut is not a simple matter. It is a ritual that brings elements from the past to the modern way of life, combining the revival of the fashion of past decades with modern aesthetics." The space, from 1870, was renovated with respect to the original architecture to create an ambiance reminiscent of an old-fashioned men's club in all its wood- and leather-lined glory.
While COVID-19 has made an impact on Paul's Barbershop by reducing the day-to-day connection to the community that Fousteris and his team cultivated, there's optimism that recovery will be swift because the business is so beloved. "What makes this business priceless is, above all, the relationships that the team has with their neighbors," he shares. "We have built strong bonds with the people we work with, and it has become an integral part of our business. There are these daily moments that give us a sense of freshness and the energy to come back even stronger."
If you're in Piraeus and in need of a trim, head down to Paul's Barbershop on 167 Ipsilantou Street, or visit them online for more information.
Small neighborhood businesses have been writing their own stories for years. These businesses play an important role in the local economy and add character to each neighborhood with every priceless human relationship that's formed between them and their customers, every day. Read more about our Greek small business partners Kakuru Jewelry and Pentelikon Grocery Store.