RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA – For years, while she was growing up in Egypt, Nancy Sobhi used to cut and style the hair of her friends and family for fun. Sobhi got the chance to turn that hobby into a career when she met Scott Griffiths, the founder of 18|8 Fine Men’s Salons.
“Once I went and visited the salon, I just fell in love with the whole concept,” Sobhi said.
Nancy Sobhi shows off the beer and wine cooler inside of her 18|8 Fine Men’s Salons.
18|8 at Plaza Antonio
22361 Antonio Parkway, Suite E130
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
That concept caters to the specific hair care and grooming needs of men – 18|8 salons provide hair care and skin treatments for men in an upscale salon environment. So Sobhi opened her own 18|8 franchise location in Rancho Santa Margarita in October 2012.
The name 18|8 refers to composition of stainless steel, known for being a tough, shiny and stain-resistant metal, Sobhi said. In 1913, a newly-discovered composition of 18 percent chromium and eight percent nickel improved the look and performance of steel. According to the salon’s website, eighteeneight.com, “18|8 is our metaphor for the transformation of our male clientele to look better, feel better, and perform better.”
Q. What is the idea behind 18|8?
A. 18|8 is a salon only for men. It’s more upscale, and we do different services in a nice relaxing environment. We start with the haircut, then we have skin treatments, “MANicures,” scalp treatments, and shaves.
We offer complimentary beverages – beer on tap, wine, coffee, soda, hot tea and hot cocoa. So it’s kind of an inviting, relaxing atmosphere for men to come have fun, have a drink and have a haircut.
Q. Walk us through a typical experience at the salon.
A. We have 12 different semi-private stations. We do everything at the same chair – it has a shampoo bowl, hot towel machine – the client doesn’t have to move around. If a client wants a drink, we take it to his chair.
It takes 45 minutes for most of my styling. Every client changes to a robe when he comes in so he doesn’t have any hair on his clothes. The stylists will greet the client, and she explains everything to him ahead of time before she starts working with him. There is a neck, shoulder and scalp massage, the haircut, shampoo, shampoo again, and we finish the haircut with a hot towel. It’s not just coming for a quick haircut and leaving; it’s a whole experience.
Q. Who is your target clientele?
A. I have a wide variety of clients. A lot of them are businessmen and young adults, but I actually have a lot of children and teens, too. We do offer children’s rates, student rates, and we offer father and son rates where everybody gets the same treatment – it’s fun. Also, when a husband and a wife come in and she needs to get her hair trimmed, we will do it for her.
Q. Tell us more about the grooming treatments you offer in addition to haircuts.
A. We do hair coloring and highlights. Our scalp treatment cleans the scalp and stimulates it to be more healthy and helps with thinning hair. We also do waxing – nose, ears and eyebrows.
We have a membership that includes seven haircuts, and seven cleanups between haircuts. He also gets shampoos and products, as well as discounts on grooming packages.
Q. Are the additional hair, grooming and skin treatments popular with your clients?
A. Actually, when we first started, we found that a lot of men want to do the same stuff (as women), but if they wanted to do it, they would have to go to a woman’s salon. Now that it’s available with a masculine atmosphere, you also don’t have to wait a long time or smell the chemicals.
We had a customer who, once he came in, he decided he wanted to try everything. He spent three hours in here doing everything we have to offer. Once they get introduced to it, they get hooked.