Naming your Airstream the “Shiney Hiney” does indicate you have a certain style. And the barbers that man their Shiney Hiney mobile grooming salon are all about style. Proprietors (and cousins) Frankie Petrillo and Jess Goins spent long hours discussing how to distinguish their Dapper Den Grooming services from others. Putting them in a creatively refurbished 1977 34’ Sovereign trailer was a strong start.
“From day one we wanted to do something different,” says Petrillo. “We wanted every aspect of our company to stand out in a positive way. We looked at customizing car haulers and box trucks. Even after having them customized, they still didn’t have the feel we were looking for. When Bill (Jess’ father) mentioned an Airstream, there was no going back,” he says.
Petrillo is one of the shop’s two full-time barbers, who set up in the Airstream in various areas around St. Louis, Missouri. Goins does product development for the business, which includes beard oils, pomades, lathering brushes and more, sold out of the trailer and online. They cater to men only, and the shop can be rented out for occasions, such as for grooming the groomsmen at weddings.
Getting the trailer ready for the hair and beard trade was no small effort: total gutting and refurbishing, including custom woodwork done by both the men’s fathers. “Without the help of Nuvite we would likely still be polishing. We would literally Facetime with Radara and Bob from Nuvite for hours on Sunday trying to get the shine just right,” says Petrillo. Almost everything in the Sovereign’s interior is handmade, including the 100-year-old walnut barber’s-station top, walnut drawers, and barber poles on the drawers carved by Petrillo’s father.
Dapper Den strives to bring back old-school barbershop standards along with modern styles. “Dapper Den Grooming is not a cut haircut—our standard haircut last 45 minutes. This includes straight-razor lining, a hot towel and facial massage. Too many shops want to get you in and out quickly, but that’s not what Dapper Den Grooming is about,” says Petrillo. Happy customers sign the Sovereign’s roof—and they are so happy, they’ll now have to sign the trailer’s endcaps because the roof is full.
The cousins are going to be adding other shops—they’ve already purchased a second vintage Airstream—and are looking into franchising as well. But anything mobile will always be Airstream. “People love the Airstream! One of my favorite things to do is ride through the city behind the Airstream with my windows down. This way I get to hear people comment, watch them take photos and get excited. Anytime we’re parked we have people coming in to look around, asking questions and taking photos,” says Petrillo.
See the full line of services, products and additional Airstream images at Dapper Den Grooming.
By Tom Bentley