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Ho Chi Minh City barbers take to streets in mobile salon

Friday, January 08, 2021, 08:37 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City barbers take to streets in mobile salon
The mobile barbershop attracts a lot of customers to come to enjoy the new service in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A group of Vietnamese barbers have joined forces to transform a truck into a mobile barbershop, part of their collective effort to prove to Ho Chi Minh City’s low income residents that they do not have to be rich to look like a million bucks.

The idea to create the custom four-seat barbershop stemmed from the owner of the Dong Tay Barbershop chain, Nguyen Hoai Thanh, who spent most of his childhood working odd jobs to help his family make ends meet.

The design of the barber truck helps to create a breeze feeling for customers. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

The design of the barber truck helps to create a breeze feeling for customers in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Now that Thanh is the proud owner of 15 barbershops accross the city, he hopes to use his mobile barbershop as a way to support Ho Chi Minh City’s poor and disadvantaged communities by offering them a renewed confidence in their appearance.

The idea to open the mobile barbershop started last year when Thanh gathered a group of friends to help him bring it to life.

Together they transformed four 3.5-ton caravan trucks into mini hair salons with full hairdressing tools for both men and women.

The tiny hair salon has enough space to hold four barbers and four customers at once. 

Services on offer include hair dressing, perms, coloring, and highlights.

In the photo, barbers at Dong Tay mobile barbershop meticulously cut customer hair. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

In the photo, barbers at Dong Tay mobile barbershop meticulously cut customers' hair in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Each day, the truck parks at a different location in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, offering a haircut to passers-by.

Although it is sometimes tricky to find, the shop gets plenty of attention, particularly from men.

According to Doan Khac Hai, a manager of one of the four mobile barbershops, the mobile hair styling service is a brand new experience in the city.

“There are some people who face difficult circumstances and can’t afford to pay for hair services, so we offer them our service for free,” Hai explained.

A close up to the mini hair salon of Dong Tay barber system at District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A close-up of the mini hair salon of the Dong Tay barber system in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Besides supporting haircuts for the people in need, these tiny hair salons also offer professional service for paying customers.

“It is normal to have a haircut in a salon so the mobile barbershop has gained public attention since it creates a new hospitality environment," Hai said.

"Our service has been well-received by the expat community in Ho Chi Minh City.

"They really like this kind of service since it has a casual and street style vibe.

"This service helps them have a new and more enjoyable experience in Vietnam.”

The mobile barbershop attracts a lot of customers to come to enjoy the new service. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

The mobile barbershop attracts a lot of customers to come to enjoy the new service in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

Thanks to this mobile barbershop, the employees of the Dong Tay Barbershop chain have earned many wonderful memories and decent salaries despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

“There was one time when we saw a homeless person with hair down to his shoulders, staring at our truck but too shy to approach us," Hai recounted.

"I invinted him to come to our truck and offered him a gratis haircut.

"After we offered to cut his hair, he expressed his gratitude and wanted to pay with lottery tickets.

"I was filled with joy and very grateful to help him out.”

The truck operates from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm each day and the price of hairdressing services here ranges from VND70,000 (US$3) to VND250,000 ($11).

A barber washes a customer hair at Dong Tay mobile barbershop, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A barber washes a customer's hair at Dong Tay mobile barbershop in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A barber shows a customer his new hairstyle after having a haircut at Dong Tay mobile barbershop, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

A barber shows a customer his new hairstyle after having a haircut at Dong Tay mobile barbershop in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

In this supplied photo, an expat enjoys the professional service at Dong Tay mobile barbershop, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.

In this supplied photo, an expat enjoys the professional service at Dong Tay mobile barbershop in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.

In this supplied photo, aforeign kid enjoys the haircut service at Dong Tay mobile barbershop, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.

In this supplied photo, a foreign kid enjoys the haircut service at Dong Tay mobile barbershop in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.

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Linh To / Tuoi Tre News

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