Changemaker (n) – one who breaks the mold and challenges the status quo for the better. Meet Koi Busalla, one of the entrepreneurs behind Bond. St. Social, a barbershop that’s a cut above the rest.
The best advice that I could share to anyone who wants to start a business is simple. Just think of a business that brings a positive effect in the society. Money comes next, focus on your target market’s benefit.
Bond. St. Social is an upscale barbershop located south of Manila – in BF Homes, Parañaque to be exact. Named after Old Bond St. in London, where the first barbershop opened over 2 centuries ago, the establishment exudes old-world charm befitting for the modern Filipino gentleman that it aims to serve. They offer classic cuts such as the pompadour, slick back, and flat top, to name a few. What’s more, they offer a year-round 10% discount for father-and-son customers.
We invited entrepreneur Koi Busalla, who founded Bond St. Social along with Steven Chase and Jedidiah Patricio, to talk about his business. Like a true gentleman, he accepted. Read the full interview below, where Koi candidly shares his insights on starting and running a business, and caring for one’s self and image.
What inspired you to start your business Bond St. Social? What were some of the challenges you met in starting out?
First of all, I’m really into grooming. I’m the go-to guy when it comes to fashion and style. I even used to cut my own hair in college. You may find it funny but it’s hard for me to trust someone with my hair.
Challenges are always part of every person’s journey. Personally though, I love challenges. Without these obstacles, we grow slow and less productive. Capital is always been the main issue when it comes to putting up a business. Specially when you overshoot your expenses and it did happen to us. And then facing never ending brain storming regarding location, look and image, manpower and supplies. We all want the best in everything, so we tend to look and work with the best people around.
Did putting up the business require a lot of capital? How is the business doing in terms of return on investment and acquiring customers?
In every business, it’s really up to the founders if they want to start small or just shoot directly for the stars. In our case, we started Bond St. Social small. We take one small step at a time. I always leave room for improvement based on what we earn every month. Until now, we still make it a point to improve everyday. We listen, learn from everything and in turn apply it on our business.
We do have a target time for our ROI but as what I’ve said, we’re still improving our shop in terms of the look and with our services.
We at Bond St. Social are so blessed to be surrounded with great and amazing gentlemen. Our clients are the nicest people any barbershop would want. Word of mouth is the key. It opened our doors to our core market, the gentlemen of Southern Manila.
There has been a lot of change on how society views male grooming. It has been not only socially accepted but openly encouraged, and we are seeing a rise in self-care products targeting males. Did you consciously plan Bond St. Social to be part of this trend?
We didn’t really plan to be part of the trend. Our main goal is to serve every gentleman. Grooming has always been part of our daily lives. Everyone loves to look and feel good. It’s just a matter of where to go and with whom to trust your grooming. And we are so blessed to be working with the best barbers and hair product supplier in town.
What challenges and advantages does being a young entrepreneur pose?
I don’t really separate myself as “young” in this field. Age doesn’t matter in this kind of business. As long as you love and know the core of the business, then the edge and advantage is yours. Network is also important in this business. Personally, I don’t just do business for money. I do it because I love doing it. I always make it a point to be involved in passion-driven businesses.
What is the minimum grooming rituals that modern males should engage in? What is the cheapest way a Pinoy male can take care of himself?
The best advice would be this; don’t be afraid to embrace change. George Bernard Shaw once said “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. Once you embrace change, everything will follow. Don’t be afraid to try new things or take care of your self. Looking good is never a sin. It’s always good for everyone. Be your own gentleman. You can look and feel good without spending much. Resources are everywhere.
Do you have any advice to those who want to start their own business?
The best advice that I could share to anyone who wants to start a business is simple. Just think of a business that brings a positive effect in the society. Money comes next, focus on your target market’s benefit. Realize your dreams but always decide with God’s guidance.
Interested in getting yourself (or the man in your life) great grooming? Check Bond St. Social in Facebook and Instagram, or head on over to their shop in #59 Aguirre Ave., BF Homes, Parañaque City.
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