Independent Henley Barbershop Celebrates Three Years In Business

Henley Self Storage’s first resident independent business, AKG Mens Grooming, reached a milestone last week as they celebrated their three year anniversary. The premium barbershop, established by Ashley Giles with the help of Self Storage owner Darren West, has steadily expanded since its opening in 2015. Initially the only business to be based in the Newtown Road facility, AKG Mens Grooming has acted as a flagship for the Henley Self Storage independent community, proving the power of unparalleled customer service.

Though his business only found its home three years ago, Ashley has been sharpening his scissor skills for twelve years. Having first learnt the trade through an apprenticeship at Kay’s Hair Salon, a women’s hairdressers, Ashley honed his craft during his four years at Henley’s Barbershop Group store. However, the young entrepreneur was keen to forge his own path, and left the Barbershop Group to  start his own business. He reflected, “At first I went mobile and went to people’s houses, but that all got a bit too much with travelling around — time is money, you know? So I did it from my house for a bit before Josh [from JS Motorworks] said I should open a shop in here.”

Working with Henley Self Storage owner, Darren West, Ashley set up the original independent enterprise within the storage unit. Since then, his business has grown enough to expand its floor space, and even hire a second barber, Emily. “When I started, I was on my own and the shop was half the size. It was just me,” Ashley recalled. “I was flat out every day, and then I had a child as well, so that was really stressful. I needed the help – I was sending people away! It’s always difficult to find someone you trust and know is good. I knew Emily quite well before from Barbershop Group where I trained her, so I contacted her. Then she joined me in June last year.”

Much like Ashley’s own venture, the Henley Self Storage business group has grown substantially in the past three years. AKG Grooming was followed by SMF Hair, Hannah Victoria Nails, the ADVPT personal training studio, and now a massage therapist. This community, Emily notes, is one of the biggest benefits of the salon’s set up.”We all help each other out and bounce off each other,” she says. “A lot of clients bring their kids in to get their hair cut and then the mums get their nails done by Hannah. It’s nice. We get recommendations from the PT studio, and we send people there as well. It works really well.”

Moving forward, Ashley and Emily are already planning their next step. A brand new TV is waiting to go up on the wall, whilst there are talks of installing a sink for washing hair. The enterprising duo are determined to fill their books, so both are offering promotions for new customers. Emily gives a 50% discount to all new clients, whilst Ashley is currently running ‘Free Wednesdays’, where new clients can get their hair cut on the house! With ideas and creativity beyond just haircuts, the team at AKG Men’s Grooming look set to conquer the barbershop trade!

To take advantage of Ashley and Emily’s new client promotions, book an appointment via