Vito Calvano has worked in barbershops in his native Italy and elsewhere since he was 12 years old. When he was 23, he opened his own barbershop in his hometown of Barletta in Puglia. He now plies his trade at Men's Biz in the Strand Arcade. Originally an online business specialising in shaving products, then growing to offer skincare, haircare and fragrances, Men's Biz opened its first shop in the Royal Arcade in Melbourne in 2014. The Sydney store was open for only a month before Calvano's skill with a straight razor attracted a following.
Giving shaves in the shaving chair in the window expresses what Men’s Biz is all about.
A constant stream of office workers and tourists pass the shop, many pausing at the window to watch Calvano at work. A hot-towel shave takes half an hour. For Calvano, shaving is as much about the process, the ritual involved, as it is about the final outcome. Although the outcome is pleasing – a face as smooth as it was in preadolescence.
As well as the barbershop component, Men's Biz sells 2000 different products, in-store and online, encompassing everything from toothpaste to fragrances.