‘Man’s place’ barbershop opens downtown Milford
MILFORD >> Susan Hushin knows she’s done the job well when a customer falls asleep in the chair while she’s holding a straight razor.
To get men just that relaxed is her goal.
Hushin recently opened BBS Shave Studio — that stands for Baby Butt Smooth — a place downtown where men can get an old-fashioned wet shave with steam towels, or beard- or mustache-shaping, or a trim on a blue-collar budget, according to Hushin, whose goal was to keep it affordable.
“It’s kind of like a man’s spa,” she said. “Women go and get their nails done, men get this. It’s a man’s place.” She bills it as the “ultimate indulgence.”
The granddaughter of a career barber and daughter of a barber turned makeup artist on movie and television sets, Hushin learned the barbering trade in 2010 after separating from her longtime husband, from whom she eventually became divorced.
ART OF SHAVING
Her favorite part of barbering was what she calls the “long-lost art” of the professional steam towel shave.
“Shaving is something I feel passionate about,” she said. “I was always drawn to the art of shaving.”
Hushin moved here two years ago from Long Island and married a man from Connecticut whom she met on Match.com.
She had nowhere to practice the art of shaving professionally, but luckily, her new husband, Dave Tartaglia, had his share of her steam towel shaves when they began dating and was a true believer in their magic.
“If you have a guy in your life and you want to get in the tree, I recommend it,” said Tartaglia, an auto body and detailing artist.
Tartaglia said everyone told Hushin she couldn’t make a living shaving, shaping and trimming, but he saw her passion, loved it and said, “Baby, we’ll find a spot.”
I CAN, I WILL
Hearing from the naysayers about opening a shave shop only made Hushin think, “Challenge accepted.” They apparently didn’t know she owned a sign, now in the salon, that reads: “I can, I will, end of Story.”
Tartaglia said that by “the grace of God,” they found the perfect spot in the back of 58 River St., a cozy 280-square-foot space. It was a plain white office and together, they transformed it into a quaint man cave of sorts.
There’s an old brick wall that was uncovered during renovation, walls of muted colors, displays of old time barbershop memorabilia in antique display cases, including brushes, razors, talc containers. Front and center, between a reproduction of a poster for the Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston fight of May 25, 1965, and a vintage model car, is a big flat screen television.
Sometimes Tartaglia calls to remind his wife: “Guys like ESPN — no Lifetime TV. Keep it manly.”
Hushin, who appears to know the male psyche well on her own, says of customers, “I give them a bottle of water, a remote and they’re ready to go.”
SPA FOR BALD MEN
Customer Bill Parry of Milford, a Realtor for Joy Real Estate, which also manages the building, was in recently for a head and beard shave after three days of growth because he had just moved.
“This is like a spa treatment for bald men,” he said. Parry said after he leaves the shop his skin is “soft, sensual,” and he feels relaxed.
To the average observer, it didn’t look like Parry had much hair to shave. That is until Hushin was done and it was apparent what “no hair” looks like.
Hushin said a customer fell asleep in the chair recently. “I stopped and said, ‘Job well done, Susan, If you can put them to sleep you’ve done your job.”’
She goes for every hair, including in the nose and ears. She uses hot foam, cream, steam towels, straight razors, and finishes off with an electric razor to make sure she gets everything.
When the hot towel was wrapped around his head, Parry said, “This is what I don’t get at home,” when he shaves himself.
“I wanted to make a place where the everyday guy, blue-collar worker,” can be served, Hushin said.
Hushin said she has an ironworker who comes in every Friday for a shave. and tells her he starts thinking about it on Wednesday.
Her basic hot towel shave of 30 minutes is $25, and her signature shave is 50 minutes for $40, which includes a rolling facial where her hands touch the face, neck.
She said men either don’t want to have any facial hair or they want the facial hair they have to be perfect — the way women are fussy about hair.
“It’s kind of like being an artist,” she said. “I’m just trying to put a different spin on barbering.”
She added; “And you don’t have to feel like you’re cheating on your barber,” because she doesn’t cut hair.
To reach the studio email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Hushin at 203-283-4515.