Fancy getting your haircut alongside an Aberdeen FC player?
At Pompador in Aberdeen’s Union Grove, you’ll have the best chance of making this happen.
Run by Thameur Dhibi, aka Tam, the barbershop and lounge welcomes a wide mix of players from the Aberdeen FC team on a weekly basis.
Johnny Hayes, Dylan McGeouch and Christian Ramirez are just a few of the names to have graced Pompador’s barber chairs since opening just four months ago.
But Pompador is no ordinary barbershop: from books and coffees to chats about psychology, Tam aims for his shop to be a place where people can come and relax in good company, as well as get their hair cut.
“I wanted to create something different in Aberdeen,” says Tam.
“Most other barber shops, you just pay your money and leave.
“But I’m happy for people to come and relax, have a coffee, read a book, work on their laptop and all sorts of things. They don’t even have to get a haircut.”
Originally from Tunisia, Tam moved to Aberdeen in 2010 when he was 21-years-old.
His day job at the time was as an electrician. However, music has also played a large role in his life.
“I’ve been playing percussion instruments for 17 years and played at Soul and Babylon when I first came over to Aberdeen,” says Tam.
He also formerly owned a trio of clothing shops in Tunisia with fashion another of his biggest passions.
But eventually, Tam realised that barbering was what he wanted to do.
“I originally learned barbering when I was 15, because my cousins had barber shops in Tunisia which were on my way to school,” says Tam.
“I’d always wanted to make the switch into barbering but it never quite happened.
“I was involved in a car accident in 2012 and was off work for around a year due to hurting my back.
“That was the turning point for me. As soon as I got better, I just wanted to start barbering straight away and eventually went full-time seven years ago.”
After refining his craft at various Aberdeen barbershops including The Barber’s Pole and Hombre, lockdown brought a new kind of challenge to Tam, which altered his career goals.
“Once the first lockdown happened, I stopped working like everyone else,” Tam explains.
“But once I was able to, I started doing cuts at home.
“Going to back to Hombre, where I worked at the time, I felt like things just didn’t suit the way I wanted to work anymore.
“So, I continued to work from home until I opened up Pompador.”
Initially due to open at the beginning of 2021, the uncertainty of the pandemic forced Tam to change course and open Pompador in November last year.
His journey to getting there, he explains, was one of hard graft.
“I’ve done everything in this place from scratch,” says Tam.
“Because I was an electrician, I managed to do all the work that was needed to get it up and running by myself.
“I was fully booked working from home, so I would do that from 10am-6pm, get changed, then head out to the shop till 3am to 4am for about six weeks straight.”
Now enjoying a slightly less strenuous working routine, Tam works alongside fellow barber, Liam in the west end shop.
Bookings are made via app or message and are usually full for at least a week in advance with clients ranging from age two to 70 years old.
Giving the Pompador experience an extra touch of glam is Tam’s close relationship with the Aberdeen FC squad.
With players from the first team as well as youth players visiting regularly and signed shirts adorning the walls, Tam’s shop is the place to be for any Dons fan.
“I’d say I cut for around 90% of the team,” says Tam.
“Dylan McGeouch and Christian Ramirez had a podcast show here a while ago and Michael Devlin also planned to make a programme in the shop itself.
“I’m hoping to do something like this soon where guests can come in to talk about all sorts of things from politics and psychology to fashion and sport.”
Tam’s aim for Pompador is for clients to enjoy “more of an experience” than just a haircut.
As well as achieving this through the shop’s barber and lounge ethos, Tam’s studies of psychology also make for a haircut experience that’s miles away from many others in Aberdeen.
“When I cut hair, I don’t just cut hair; I deal with the personality of the guy in the chair as well as well as their facial features to make them look and feel their best,” says Tam.
“I try to incorporate details like their face shape and body language and tailor cuts to this.
“That’s why they always come back to me – it’s more of an experience than a haircut.”
Pompador is beginning to make its mark in Aberdeen. But looking ahead, Tam has many plans in mind that he hopes will cement its place as one of Aberdeen’s top barbershops.
“I have a five-year plan in mind: This year, I’m going to be re-investing everything into this shop,” Tam explains.
“By next year, I plan to open a second shop. Third year, I’d like to open a barbering school in Aberdeen.
“Then, with the remaining two years, I’d like to include some branded clothing and barbering tools that people can buy from the shop as well.
“At the moment, it’s all working perfectly.”