John Allan’s provides a variety of services for men who know and respect the importance of grooming… and first impressions.

The secret to success varies depending who you ask-and who’s asking. Ask John Allan, and his answer is simple.

“We all love a guy who cares about himself,” says the New York City-based founder of John Allan’s, a grooming club for men with locations in New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, San Francisco and Toronto, which also features a namesake men’s product line that includes hair and shave products.


Offering a variety of services for men from haircuts to manicures, yearly membership at John Allan’s includes an unlimited number of visits for the Signature Full Service, which includes a scalp massaging shampoo, conditioning treatment, hot towel, haircut, manicure and a shoe shine. Most club members come in every three weeks for the service, which takes under an hour. Allan describes his clientele as “professionals,” which he points out is “more of an attitude than a job title.” They understand, says Allan, the importance of appearance and its connection with well being, no matter how busy they may be. “They’re in the trenches, they’re grinding. What’s 35 to 40 minutes when it means you’re taking care of your essential grooming?”

Women have known for centuries the benefits of grooming and putting time into improving their appearance, not only to manage first impressions, but also to enjoy the positive impact taking care of yourself gives you. More and more, men are learning that they can benefit from these habits as well-perhaps even more so. First impressions are important for everyone, and men have more options-and possibilities-than they may realize. When a man puts care and pride in his appearance, he will stand out. As Allan puts it, “He is getting the opportunity… and you’re not.”

We’ve all heard that it’s a man’s world, but men are making a mistake if they let that belief contribute to any lack of effort when it comes to their appearance, and Allan understands this better than anybody.

While Allan began his career in Paris and Milan in 1979 as a stylist under the apprenticeship of the famed Jean Louis David (who at the time had more than 200 salons throughout Europe) and was eventually responsible for spearheading the opening of Jean Louis David salons in New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago and Toronto, Allan began collecting knowledge of the importance of men’s grooming in his early life. He credits his mother with providing him a glimpse “behind the curtain,” telling him as a young man what women notice when it comes to a man’s appearance. The items on this checklist of “shoes, nails, hair and hands” are, not surprisingly, included in John Allan’s Signature Full Service.

When Allan was ready to venture out on his own, he looked at the industry and saw that because “the client was starting to evolve,” there was an opportunity to create something for men that didn’t really exist yet. Men’s grooming was primarily barber shop-based at that time, and Allan wanted to bring a bit of the salon experience to men-without being intimidating or being identified as too feminine. He opened his first club in Manhattan’s Financial District in 1988, followed by locations in Midtown and Tribeca, and has since partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Beverly Hills, opening in-store clubs in those locations. As the men’s grooming industry has grown, so has John Allan’s, and the concept continues to be a successful one.

Allan, with his background in women-focused salons, had always loved the way that women behaved within the beauty salon environment, chatting and gossiping and getting to know each other. He knew he could create a similar environment in his grooming clubs, and put a lot of thought into what would make men most relaxed. The answers included things like a full bar, a pool table and making sure that certain services were provided differently than they might be in women’s salons. Manicures are a good example of this; Allan ensures that they are administered in a way that men can keep an “empowering posture.” Simple details like this one make all the difference. “Men will spend money if the services are delivered differently,” says Allan, who not only understands the importance of making clients “comfortable,” but the idea of “a full-service attitude,” which he makes sure is a given at his clubs.

Another important element at Allan’s clubs is the female stylists. As he learned from his mother as a young man, women notice how men take care of themselves, and Allan found that when it comes to style and grooming, “women are heard more by men.” Allan also likes to offer advice to the wives of his clients when it comes to pampering their husbands, and encourages them to draw them a bath and provide them with “an ice bucket filled with Heineken” next to the tub. “Sometimes, you just need an hour to take care of yourself,” Allan says.

A self-proclaimed “old-time guy,” Allan is something of a Renaissance man when it comes to the way he runs his business and lives his life. His Italian-American background, Brooklyn roots and many entrepreneurial uncles who owned restaurants and nightclubs when he was growing up, gave him a solid foundation in the importance of quality and service. The father of four children, Allan is ready to add more to his plate and would love to expand his business even further. Is a John Allan’s in the soon-to-come Waikiki Saks Fifth Avenue a possibility? We’ll see!

www.johnallans.com