Groom Artistry

Jerry Thoong, Hair Stylist and Founder of Co-founder of Groom Artistry

What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I’m one of the technician stylists and also one of three founders of Groom Artistry. I jumped into the world of hairstyling more than 10 years ago when I was encouraged by a great friend of mine to give this industry a try. Since then, there was no turning back.

What’s the concept behind Groom Artistry? What are your values? Mission?
For us in Groom Artistry, it is extremely simple.
Our motto is: Creating the best version of yourself. That itself is very self-explanatory. There are two things on a person that you can change which are immediately noticeable. One is fashion, as in clothing and the other is, of course, your hairstyle. Many people will try to come up with elaborate mission statements, along the lines of great services and quality products. For us, again it’s simple. Our mission statement: You walk in a customer and you leave a friend.

Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
Groom Artistry as you’re seeing it today is really blood, sweat and tears of the three founders. Because we were short on funds at the beginning, we literally had to wait until the contractors go home and we will start going in and paint the walls ourselves. We went through YouTube video tutorials to find ways to add effects to the paint job and we failed many times. There are walls which we have painted more than three times. Because the hoardings surrounding our salon during the renovations were up, we literally had less than two feet of wiggle room to paint.

What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The answer to both parts would be managing expectations. Our job as a stylist is to give the best services that we are capable of to our clients but prior to that, it is our job to give the best advice.
Some clients would want a certain style or colour but we will, of course, have to tell them that a certain cut will affect the way they look based on the shape of their face or how a colour will affect they way they will look because of the tone of their skin. Some would listen and take our advice and most times, they will be very pleased.
There are of course some who are more adamant and since they are the client, we will have to adhere to their wishes. There are cases where we specifically told clients that a certain colour will not turn out the way they want as their hair was already damaged and it was dangerous to proceed. When the results are out as we expected, they were, of course, unhappy and we will not go further as their hair may break.

What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
I’ve done many fashion shoots and it’s an extremely hectic environment. People running everywhere, trying on clothes, putting on makeup, getting their hair done. I’m used to it all by now but my first bridal shoot, literally, there were naked models running about. You could call it an eye opener. Imagine hugs of gratitude from half naked models, but I’m not one to complain and trust me, trying to remain composed with a professional look was not easy.

The perfect day off would be…
With the family. Anywhere doing anything. As a hairstylist, our time fluctuates a lot. A client coming in at 9 pm requesting for colour will have us leave the salon at 4 am. Shoots could start really early and end really late. Our job also takes us away to other states. Time with family then becomes extremely precious. Even a trip to the supermarket with them will make me happy.

A day in the life of a hair stylist is…
Unpredictable. You’ll never know who turns up. You’ll never know what you’ll see or what kind of request you will get. We have a regular client who had always maintained long, straight, dark hair and one day she just asked us to chop it short and make it pink. She finally left her job at the bank. We also have clients who come in during lunch, have tea, chat and leave. Life in a salon can be pretty colourful.

What do you do for fun?
At work, I annoy my colleagues. I just go to them and start singing. I believe that I sing well but apparently, nobody else agrees with me. I play with my kid a lot. There’s just something special watching them grow and learn new things. It’s fascinating.

What’s something you’d like guests to know about Groom Artistry?
We will never say that we are the best at anything because that would be arrogant and only means that there’s not much else to improve on and nothing to offer you. We are always learning and evolving. Our abilities are reflected in our growth and success thus far. All we can say is, you’ll be in good hands.

What’s in your travel kit?
It’s weird that I’ve never thought of that question before. I always have what I need when I travel because my wife packs those essentials for me. If I were to plan, it would be oral hygiene products, hair wax, hair spray, my big comb. Maybe instant coffee.

What’s your view on the beauty scene in Kuala Lumpur?
It’s thriving here in Kuala Lumpur as long as you have a sustainable business model and great service and products. I guess that with rising property prices and all the increasing costs that come with owning a vehicle, many are opting to rent and take public transportation, resulting in higher disposable income in which they will splurge to make themselves look good.

What are your favourite treatments at Groom Artistry?
Extraordinary Hydration by Davines
-OI OIL Treatment+ Oi Lotion
-Contain Roucou Oil and apricot butter
Hydrating and soothing for all types of hair, smoothest, hydrate and compacts hair for better combability.
The active ingredients are one hundred times richer in beta-carotene than carrots. Roucou oil stimulates the production of melanin, which is responsible for your hair’s colour. It also contains ellagic acid, which neutralises free radicals and has antioxidant properties that provide UV protection.

What’s trending now for hairstyles?
Simple braids and shoulder length hairstyles with natural soft curls. Medium length hair is easily maintained. The most popular hues in our colour Balayage range are: ash brown balayage; brown, ash blonde and platinum blonde; caramel balayage highlights; chocolate & dark brown; caramel toned layers; opal hair (rainbow); and pastel hair colours.

What are your best tips for Caucasian hair?
Because of the humidity in Malaysia and Caucasian hair often being quite fine, it will easily become frizzy and wavy. Depending on the hairstyle I’d usually recommend keeping more weight even with layers. Applying hair serum or anti-frizz products are helpful too.



chefs in Kuala Lumpur

Interview with Ashutosh Kumar, Pastry Chef at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

August 19, 2017



Matthew McLauchlan, Wholesale General Manager, Common Man Coffee Roasters

Matthew McLauchlan, Wholesale General Manager, Common Man Coffee Roasters

September 2, 2017

3 Comments

  1. Sigh. Let’s see if my comment works this time. Very nice interview!

  2. Interesting post. My all time favourite hair dresser is a guy who works in the back streets of Mahikeng in South Africa. He is so clever and can make me look like a million dollars. He was delighted to see me after 10 years when we returned to Mahikeng in February, and he still has the magic touch, How I wish he lived closer – sigh. Cheers Diane

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.