Barbershop with an antique touch


Tools of his trade: Vella showing his collection of vintage hairdressing tools from the 1950s and the 85-year-old Takara hairdressing chair from Japan. — Bernama

GEORGE TOWN: Visitors stepping into a small barbershop squeezed between the buildings in the city’s World Heritage enclave here will get a peek into a bygone era.

A number of classic and rare vintage hairdressing tools, that have their own sentimental value to Verlarz Classic Barbershop owner S. Singgara Vella, are neatly kept in glass displays.

The 47-year-old, fondly known as Vella, said the antique items were from his personal collection, which also serve as an attraction.

“The hairdressing tools were mostly made before the 1950s. There are some which still work well, such as hair-cutting machines, shavers and hair sprays.

“In fact, many customers are attracted to the collection, ” he said when met at his premises near Lebuh Ah Quee here recently.

Vella said that most of items in his collection had once belonged to his late father-in-law, who was also a barber.

“The collection of 60 antique items include manual hair-clippers, hairdryers, hairbrushes, razors, leather razor-sharpening tools and hairdressing bags that are almost a century old, besides old photos of barbershops from various countries.

“There are also items that I bought from local and foreign antique shops – for example, an 85-year-old Takara hairdressing chair from Japan that is still sturdy, which is regarded as the most valuable item in the collection, ” he said.

Vella said he hoped to one day open a gallery displaying antique hairdressing equipment from around the globe.

Sharing his experience as a barber, Vella said that he had worked as a lorry driver for 30 years before venturing into the business.

“I decided to improve my life by learning hairdressing skills from my late father-in-law, before making it a career that led to the opening of Verlarz Classic Barbershop in 2003, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Vella said that, although his income dropped drastically over the last few months due to the pandemic, he was grateful to be able to sustain his business.

“I am grateful that customers still come to my shop, particularly when school starts and during festive seasons, ” he said. — Bernama

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