Breaking a taboo: An all-Omani barber shop

Muscat - 

Inspired by Barbershop , an American comedy film (2002), a group of young Omanis have taken up hairdressing as a profession to prove that they do not mind taking up any job for a living. And through this move, they hope to set an example for other Omani youths too.

Led by Qais al Kindi, Ques Barber Shop in Al Hail, Seeb is a family-run business.

Kindi said, “The movie is my inspiration. It revolves around social life at a barbershop in Chicago, US. After watching the movie, I realised this is what I want to do. I thought it was a great idea to break the taboo of working as a barber in Oman.”

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Kindi said that it took a while for him to learn the fine art of hair trimming, shaving, facial treatment or head massage before he finally decided to start the business. “I learnt the tricks of the trade. Once I was confident enough, I decided to set up a salon with the support of my brothers and sister. My biggest support has been my sister, who runs a women’s salon.”

Kindi did a bit of research and found that this was his chance to become the only Omani to run a barber shop. “Omanis used to be barbers in the 1970s. It is no shame to be a barber. Today, I and my other team member, Shaikhan al Yaarubi, are the only Omani barbers.”

He said that he is in the process of training other youths to do the same. “I am overwhelmed by the support of my family and friends and the business is doing well. In future, we plan to shift to a bigger place and open branches as well. If Omanis are willing to learn, I am ready to support them.”

On what makes his barber shop different from others, Kindi said, “First of all, it is run by Omanis. Our shop is a good place to hang out like it’s in the Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer and Anthony Anderson-starrer Barbershop movie. Customers can sit and socialise, or watch matches on a TV or just meet up with friends. It’s a melting pot for different cultures.”

About the rates, Kindi said, “The rates are reasonable. For example, a beard shave or trim is RO1.5 and haircut ranges from RO2-2.5 depending on the type. All the equipment I use are from the US. The grooming products that we use are organic and prepared by my sister.”

Kindi’s partner Shaikhan al Yaarubi, who is a certified barber with five-year experience in the UK, said, “This is my passion. I love doing this job. Hair trimming or cutting is an art. It is a profession that can’t be undermined. There is no shame in doing this work. There are many capable Omanis and I am sure they can do this work as well.”

Yaarubi added that Ques Barber Shop is no ordinary shop but rather a place to learn and earn. “Omanis have a lot of talent. They just need grooming.”

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