Born and raised in Seattle, Thomas Kearney first picked up a pair of cutting shears at a Queen Anne salon early in his career and later hopped the pond to apprentice in barbering in England. Now, he's the general manager and country rep for M Room, a barbershop chain that has grown rapidly in the last two years after expanding from its roots in Finland.
And now we're in on the Scandinavian trend. America's first M Room opened up shop at Fourth Avenue and Spring Street, bringing the shop's unique attention to men's grooming to the downtown business district.
Over a complimentary haircut on opening week, I chatted with Kearney and got to know the barbershop's ethos. Here are the five essential details about M Room.
1. No reservations necessary. M Room eschews reservations for the first come, first served model of getting clients groomed in a timely manner. The one caveat: An M Room membership is available and gives cardholders a quick pass to the barber's chair.
2. M Room is all about lounging in style. If you arrive at the shop and find a waiting list, the lounge is equipped with a foosball table, stocked minifridge, and a flat-screen TV (likely broadcasting hockey games). An Xbox and free Wi-Fi are also available.
3. Get your usual haircut or get the M Look; it's your choice. If you put your hair in the capable hands of Kearney, or any of the other resident barbers, you'll leave with gently layered hair perfect for growing out gracefully. The M Room style of cutting, developed in Finland, is free of harsh lines, opting for a smooth transition around your ears and at the back of the neck.
4. M Room's own house line of products, dubbed M Groom, all have the same fragrance for a unified personal scent. I tried the Classic Gold line of shampoo, conditioner, and detail wax and can say that they have a slightly musky smell that isn't overpowering. All products are made in Finland and are very soluble in water.
5. Lastly, M Room is all about the exclusive club vibe. Probably why they call their manager a "coach." Individual cuts run a reasonable $38. When it comes to memberships, a yearly pass at the silver level is $350 and gets you unlimited cuts and straight-razor shaves. It also saves you a few bucks on the M Groom products. I did the math, though, and you'd need to make at least 10 trips to the barbershop annually to break even.