News Feature

Go West Young Man ... Go West


gentleman's corner owners chris and michelle hausberger | spirit leather nyc moto belt | spirit leather saddle

January 2, 2019 | Rahoul Ghose

As a new year begins and the chill in the air becomes more entrenched, the mind wanders to warmer climates and to those moto locals who’ve recently been enticed by the riding paradise known as California.

2018 saw a least three local movers and shakers shifting gear to set up in the Golden State: New Jersey’s Sy Romeo of Montclair Riding Co., Gold Ghost Motorcycles’ Gabe Guerena, and, more recently Gentlemen’s Corner owner Chris Hausberger.

The Gold Ghost vintage moto garage, formerly in Greenpoint, has been closed locally with Guerena now dividing his time between Ojai, CA and NYC, while the MRC motowear shop is still said to be looking at reopening under new local management once a space is found, with Romeo now calling Los Angeles home and pursuing the lifestyle moto brand Blind Horse Moto Co.

Gentlemen’s Corner, now based in San Diego, has kept some ties to Long Island, with a pop-up location in Huntington, NY at a store called Industry, and beard grooming products for sale at a barber shops in New Jersey. The company started out selling high end beard care and shaving products a few years ago … but have now partnered with a number of boutique moto companies, the most recent being Rokker from Switzerland, to offer a wide range of specialized moto products from smaller European companies.

“I choose products I love and believe in,” says Hausberger, who runs the company with his wife Michelle, and a sprightly Jack Russell Terrier named Cooper.

“The owners of Mootes -- which manufactures beard and hair products in Switzerland that I had been using for years -- they reached out to me after I moved to the US in 2016 to see if I was interested in partnering up with them and becoming their US distributor. That’s how Gentleman’s Corner was born. The idea behind Gentleman’s Corner wasn’t to just offer men beard and hair products. I wanted to give men a place where they could meet, relax and hang out.”

the dgr nyc 2018 belt produced by spirit leather
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  Every belt is unique and handmade based on (the customer’s) ideas. We will provide a sketch for approval before we start manufacturing. All leather is veg tanned from Germany. Special requests, such as alligator leather, can be accommodated too.   

-- Chris Hausberger, Gentleman's Corner
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GC’s line of grooming products has now expanded to include offerings from Proraso and Qaveman. On the clothing side Rokker, which produces riding jackets, pants, boots and gloves, are joined by the Portuguese helmet company NEXX, and German-based vintage hat maker Rough & Loyal.

But it is the company’s move into bespoke moto products which is the most interesting, including a partnership with Germany’s Spirit Leather to offer custom belts, motorcycle saddles, and even saddle bags. New Yorkers may have seen the belts designed for last year’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, featuring a custom brass logo buckle … and one of the more recent deliveries was a branded belt for NYC Motorcyclist.

“(Spirit Leather’s Dimitrios Georgoulas) ‘Jimi’ is great to work with. He designed our logo by hand and is extremely talented ... all he needs is an idea and he will create a masterpiece,” says Hausberger, who’s originally from Austria himself. “Every belt is unique and handmade based on (the customer’s) ideas. We will provide a sketch for approval before we start manufacturing. All leather is veg tanned from Germany. Special requests, such as alligator leather, can be accommodated too. The motorcycle saddles are also 100-per-cent custom designed and made based on your ideas. The base plate will be hot forged to fit your motorcycle and the saddle will be built around it. We are not just limited to saddles but can also do customs benches as well.”

Hausberger is currently working with Spirit Leather on a bench for his 2013 Triumph Thruxton 900, as well as a set of saddlebags.

nexx x-garage helmet with logo artwork from 364 rebel signs | chris hausberger
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  We want to create a place where you can do everything ... no limits, no searching. You can buy your NEXX helmet with us and get it custom hand painted without searching all over the place.  

-- Chris Hausberger, Gentleman's Corner
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Before relocating in late 2018, GC also partnered with Stamford, Connecticut’s 364 Rebel Signs to offer customers the option of designing their own hand painted helmets.

“We want to create a place where you can do everything ... no limits, no searching. You can buy your NEXX helmet with us and get it custom hand painted without searching all over the place. And with Gentleman’s Corner you know you are always getting the highest quality. If we don’t offer customization for a product then we will help you find someone you can trust.”

Hausberger added GC is currently in discussions with several other companies in the moto industry including a sunglasses manufacturer.

“I love motorcycles and everything about the industry. Motorcycles bring people from all over the world together and connect them in the strangest way. You can meet another biker in the middle of nowhere and you're sure that you have something to talk about. That's why I want to work with riders and hear their stories.”

Even GC’s selection of Rough & Loyal hats, though more fashion-related, have a moto application as they are easy to store while you’re riding and pop back instantly into shape when taken out of your saddle bags or backpack.

“Jimi introduced me to Lukas (Paas), the owner of Rough & Loyal, and we got along immediately. I liked his products and the scene he was targeting with his hats and flat caps. They are made by the last remaining hat manufacturer that survived a very tough market in Germany. This was another reason that I wanted to stock these … to help keep this old tradition alive.”

GC started selling black and grey hats (Trilby, Pork Pie) and flat caps, but now has plans to expand the selection this year.

“There will be new colors (red and blue), new designs like Fedoras with a bigger brim (black and brown), and also Rough & Loyal’s latest creations: The Hunter (green with a brown band), The Dreamer (grey/blue with a brown band) and The Gigolo (white with a brown band). I can tell you which hat you should get based on your face form.”

some of the new rough & loyal hats coming in 2019
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  They are made by the last remaining hat manufacturer that survived a very tough market in Germany. This was another reason that I wanted to stock these … to help keep this old tradition alive.  

-- Chris Hausberger, Gentleman's Corner
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Going back to the beginning, Hausberger, who maintains a hefty beard himself, always thought that he didn’t need any products until he tried some.

“The difference is incredible. A lot of people with beards tell me that they are not using anything, and I only think, ‘I can see that’. A nicely groomed beard is an accessory for me.”

GC offers a wide range of facial hair care products, and in true vintage form, a selection of straight razors as well.

“I started using a straight razor a few years ago because I thought that they look amazing. And now I'm convinced that it is the best thing you can use to shave. It needs some practice at first, but the most important thing is to stay calm and don't rush yourself. Most people think that shaving is a burden. I think it's an art and should be celebrated in a similar fashion to smoking a cigar. It's the perfect start in your day. Rush yourself in the morning and you'll be stressed all day.”

That philosophy can be applied to all that GC stocks … items that true care is put into in terms of design and functionality.

You can find Gentleman’s Corner online at gentlemans-corner.com |   

The company is always on the lookout for new partnerships.

gentleman's corner offering to 'ring' in the new year | rahoul ghose

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