It’s not just about the hair at these salons, it’s also about ‘the hang’. See how Larry King and Samantha Cusick have crafted their salons and their swagger, to ensure clients are sharing to the max…
Larry King, South Kensington
Search #LarrysWorld on Instagram and you’ll soon see why Larry King has all the beauty press a-flutter and a long list of celebrity clients and editorial credits. This canny use of social media has really helped drive the success of the Larry King salon in South Kensington beyond that of just another cool London hairdressers. “It’s not just about getting your hair done,” he explains, “it’s about hanging out, having a coffee outside, meeting your mates while they’re getting a blow-dry. I want this to be a community…” No wonder the #sociallifeforyourhair hashtag he’s created is gaining such traction.
Alongside his wife and business partner, Laura, Larry has crafted a salon that is the epitome of social FOR social (media, that is). It’s a mix of stunning decor that makes various angles and scenes utterly Instagrammable. A fusion of East End cool with West End luxury, Larry describes the design as “industrial elegance”, all grey shades, high gloss tiles, wooden floors and bespoke granite work stations. And it’s a continual evolution: as he and Laura find more interesting pieces to pepper the place, the salon’s look will evolve further.
A key element is Larry’s partnership with Redken. “It’s such an influential brand, especially in the US. Here, it’s been more of a sleeping giant. You know it has Guido, but it’s making great strides and Josh Wood has come on board, too. The products tick every box – it’s an abundance of innovation.”
From the pavement seating outside to the library of fashion books and the Copper Dog-stocked drinks trolley in reception, the hang element of the salon is clear. It’s not stuffy; it’s fun, friendly and you’ll want to stay a while.
“This is also a place where you want to take pictures, which is all for social media but it also feels like home,” Larry adds. “There are different areas of the salon where you can capture those moments.” Examples include the ‘Loo with a View’ and the all-pink bathroom in the basement. There’s even a selfie seat, and it leads to organic advertising for his salon and team, while creating “Instagram envy” for his potential clients. No wonder Pixie Lott and David Gandy include their snip visits on their own Instagram pages…
Samantha Cusick London, Notting Hill
From the palm fronds to the millennial pink and the flamingo icons, the Samantha Cusick London salon is an Instagrammer’s dream. Samantha herself has curated the concept with care and detail to make sure that the client experience appeals to… well, her!
“I’m the target market,” she says. “I’m 30; our aim is 25 to late 30s and I was thinking: ‘There’s nowhere I would want to go and get my hair done. What would I want?’ Good music, a nice place to sit, stuff to do like paint your nails, nice drinks. It’s somewhere to hang out and have fun… and you’re going to leave with good hair!”
This Nottingham-born stylist knows the start of the client’s journey begins when they find your salon online. So visit the salon’s site or Instagram and you’ll know precisely what this brand is about. “When they walk through the door it’s consistent with that,” she agrees. “Everything is pretty and organised, the staff are friendly and engaging, and you get to know them on social media, which is important. It takes away that ‘front’; that old experience of walking into a hairdressers and everyone looking you up and down. As soon as someone comes in they feel like they know us already, it puts them at ease and they have a better experience.”
When you have bloggers with huge followings sat in your chair – think Zoella and Tanya Burr – it’s understandable that you’re going to think about your business through that filter, and Samantha admits that she draws inspiration from them whenever they visit. So, what’s the secret? “It’s always about being yourself; as soon as you’re not, then what’s the point?” she questions. “Don’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with, because then you lose credibility.”
And think about your lighting, too. “My friend, the blogger Em Ford, sent me a ring light two years ago, and all the package said was ‘#instagramupgrade!’” she laughs. “It gave our shots a whole new life. It makes a big difference. You can’t rely on natural light.”
Again, it’s about that client experience – everyone feels more comfortable with the light because “you look more glowy,” she smiles.