(Small businesses) Hairdressing shops gain in popularity among men
|This should not be the kind of social or political issue that is on the lips in and around Korea, but it is more valid to my Ph.D work than the ROK parliamentary election...|
Korean Gallup has surveyed that men are favoring more and more hairdressing shops (miyongsil) over barbershops (ibalso) (From Chosun Ilbo). Ten years ago 1/4 of men had their haircut in a hairdressing shop, but now the figure is 1/2. The younger the more likely the man is to frequent a hairdressing shop: 20s 86%, 30s 67%, 40s 34% and over 50 10%.
Originally men were legally prohibited to enter hairdressing shops as customers; that legislation must have been abolished some time in the 1970s, but I don't know the exact year. When the social atmosphere began to loosen so that policemen no longer carried around scissors to control the length of hair, men also begun to frequent hairdressing shops. And when men begun to have perms!
There was this laundry keeper with whom I talked about this; he told there's no way he could go to a hairdressing shop to have a haircut even though it's cheaper, that's not a place for a man to go.
The barber shops have really been struggling because hairdressing shops have been grabbing their clientele (or better, they have retain the old customers but not gotten new), and some time ago the Korean Barbershop Association tried to lobby for legislation to prohibit men using hairdressing shops, but they got nothing but cold shoulder from the Ministry in question.
Barbershops (and I'm talking about places where only haircuts are given) have been losing to hairdressing shops in the modernity race, and in the few places I've visited to chat with the keeper, the atmosphere is not what would draw young customers.
I should also add that there were two hairdressing shops that I frequented during my research time in Korea, both for haircuts and for discussions about shopkeeping and life of a shopkeeper. They both were (and still are) great personalities, and very self-confident - earning better than their husbands. I've enjoyed keeping in contact with them afterwards, and made sure to go to greet them when I've been back to Korea.
The barbershop (ibalgwan) in the picture is from Sillim-dong in Seoul; never went to that place, and never saw anyone going in.
Technical note: the ibalgwan pic was taken with a digital camera from a 10x15 paper print: never thought it'd come out that good. That's a method to use again.
Update: The article about the lobby attempts by the Barbers' Association (Seoul Sinmun Oct 25, 2003, searched from KINDS)
남자손님을 미용실에 빼앗기고 있는 이용사들이 담당 부처인 보건복지부를 상대로 맹렬한 로비전을 펴고 있다.
Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang: businesskeepers ∙ women-men