A MALE grooming business that operates out of upcycled shopping containers plans to open two more outlets this year as demand for its concept model continues to grow.

Arti Mohammed, co-founder and director of Guy & Beard, which she set up with her husband, Usman, in 2017, told the Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey that the business, which operates at shopping centres and in supermarket car parks, hoped to open new outlets following the same business model.

The innovative business currently has outlets at Glasgow shopping centres Braehead, Silverburn and Glasgow Fort, the Fort Kinnaird mall in Edinburgh, and at the Asda supermarkets in Toryglen, Linwood and Leith. All operate seven days a week.

Asked by show host Donald Martin, the editor of The Herald and The Herald on Sunday, why the business had invested during the pandemic, Mrs Mohammed said: “We are passionate about creating employment and having a safe place for people to work, and we are passionate about making barbering a sector where people get paid well, they get their pensions, they get holidays.

“We saw this an opportunity, a challenge – let’s challenge ourselves and see if we can get these containers out that we have built, not sit back.”

Guy & Beard’s first container had previously been used for storage at a care home run by Mrs Mohammed. “We watched YouTube videos on how to convert containers,” she said.

Just a year after launching the business, the couple won £75,000 and a business support package from Scottish Edge. More recently, Mrs Mohammed has participated in Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Conscious Leadership programme delivered in collaboration with Babson College, Massachusetts.

Asked to elaborate by entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, she said: “We are very much about engaging with all stakeholders and making sure everyone benefits from what we are doing – we want to have a higher purpose in our business.

“It is about creating jobs, making our business convenient for our customers, making it as affordable as possible and making them feel good when the come into the store.”

The programme took place entirely online and the group of 20 participants have now formed Conscious Leaders Scotland – effectively a Scottish “chapter” of the US-based Conscious Capitalism community.

“It’s an opportunity to join in the conversation,” Mrs Mohammed noted. “It is a place of like-minded people to meet. Sometimes our business journey can be a lonely place.”

Explaining how her husband, a third-generation barber, started running his own salon at the age of 18, she added: “I did not appreciate how skilled is until we started in business together.” Mrs Mohammed also said that the partnership worked because “we are very disciplined”, have defined responsibilities and set out clear goals.