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'Groomspiration' - Cue Michael Andre

From bridal gowns, hair-up styles, make-up tutorials and skin care routines to headpieces and shoes: online blogs and wedding planning sites are saturated with inspiration and wedding prep ideas for brides-to-be. But what about Grooms? Well, not so much.

Type: ‘groom’ into a Google search and you might come across the odd article or token blog dedicated to ‘Grooms-to-be’, but they are few and far between. For sure, there is a noticeable lack of new and fresh literature on the subject, with most articles dating back a good few years.

It’s no surprise then that Grooms tend to take a back seat and show a little less enthusiasm in the lead up to the big day. Isn’t it about time Grooms-to-be got a look in?

From the outset, our tag line at The Suffolk Wedding Shed has been: “to inject fun back into wedding planning” – and that includes Grooms too. We have always made sure we post inspiration for Grooms in our insta feed, but, even here, stats show our male engagement is only at 20%.

We decided to do something a bit more substantial: forget token posts, it is time to tackle the issue head on and go out in search of some real ‘groomspiration’.

Cue MICHAEL ANDRE, owner of newly established Mens Inc. Barbering in Ipswich.

Well known for holding DJ residency at the Sugar Hut (frequented by the stars of Towie), and his celebrity brother: Peter Andre, Michael has a huge fan base and social media following. Less well known is the fact that Michael, having trained under Vidal Sassoon, has worked in the industry for 15 years: cutting his brother’s hair and also undertaking lots of TV and magazine work.

He has always wanted to open his own barbers shop and decided now was the right time and Ipswich the right place.

His mission: to bring style and impeccable service to his clientele.

We met to talk weddings and the ultimate styling experience for Grooms and their Groomsmen.

It’s a bitterly cold day in March. We should be celebrating the beginning of Spring, but instead, freezing temperatures reign and snow continues to fall. As we walk into Mens Inc. Barbering on Fore Street in Ipswich though, we are greeted by the sweet, clean, fresh smell of sandlewood and a warm welcome from Mr Andre.

In it’s third month, Mens Inc. Barbering is already bringing in a plethora of glowing 5 star reviews, with clientele complimenting not only the “A+ service” and the “passion and precision” of Michael’s work, but also the “great atmosphere” and the “high spec” interior.

And yes, every detail has been thought through and meticulously planned; from the clean scent, flat screens, urban coat stand and vintage retro barber chairs, to the fully stocked cold drinks cabinet. There is even a stand jam-packed full of chupa-chups lollies for younger clientele and those young at heart.

This is not any barber’s shop. In fact, Mens Inc. Barbering is summed up perfectly by one customer review: “… if Carlsberg did barber shops, this would be it…”.

Having admired the slick, polished and urban vintage interior, we sit ourselves down to talk weddings and wedding prep packages for Grooms.

First up is his brother Pete’s wedding; with eight groomsmen to trim, style, hot towel and wet shave, in addition to being a groomsman himself, Michael had his work cut out. Whilst he may not have much time to relax, the rest of the party did – it was, he said, the perfect start to the day – time to bond, relax, feel special and at the same time, look good: the perfect set up for the day ahead.

And isn’t this an experience every Groom should have? Just as the bridal party enjoy hair styling and make-up application as part of their morning ‘getting ready’ ritual on the day of the wedding, shouldn’t the men also be able to indulge their looks? With male styling and facial care on the rise, it kind of makes sense - they can still bond over a few ‘settling the nerves’ drinks, but, at the same time, look slick, polished and ready to turn heads.

Michael’s vision is to create wedding packages for Grooms and their Groomsmen on the morning of the wedding day. From hot towels; facials; wet shaves, cut throat shaves, trims and styling – Grooms to be – the choice is yours.

He compares it to being fitted with a suit – it’s all about capturing that bespoke, made-to-measure service that makes you feel unique and special and, ultimately, presents the very best version of you.

Having established himself in Ipswich, Michael is committed to the town and bringing the very best service he can to his clientele - and that includes Grooms-to-be and their Groomsmen. His client list is growing rapidly – on a daily basis – from high profile clients (Yes, there might have been an Ipswich Town Footballer in there while we were there) to TV commitments and walk-in clients. Michael struggles to grab a minute to him self – but this is what he loves and thrives on. In his words, three people work at the shop: “me myself and I”.

Despite being literally, run off his feet, Michael was a pleasure to spend time with. Thanks for taking the time to talk weddings with us Michael. We look forward to brining some great styling opportunities to Suffolk Grooms and their Groomsmen soon…. watch this space…

….In the meantime, Mens Inc. Barbering is well worth a visit: cool stylish establishment: tick. Inviting prices: tick. Top spec services: tick. The best bit – Michael’s warmth, passion and expertise – it’s hard not to be impressed.