The freelance hair hubs to know – Hunter Collective

Striking out on your own is a thrilling prospect – but maybe you miss the hustle and bustle of salon life, of working alongside your peers. The rise of co-working salon spaces has been timed perfectly with freelancers’ desire for more flexibility, so we’re shining a spotlight on some of the hub-style spaces for freelancers up and down the country…

 

HUNTER COLLECTIVE

When Hunter Collective launched in 2017 it was like capturing lightning in a bottle – the mood of the moment, the vision of a new way of working, delivered in a chic, seamless package. With a focus on networking, community and technology, Hunter Collective was one of the first studio hub spaces to make real waves in the UK. With its second site newly opened in the capital, we’re expecting even more great things…

Hunter Collective Farringdon

“Hunter Collective was born of necessity,” explains co-founder Lacey Hunter-Felton. “As I hit my late 20s, I realised there wasn’t a pathway for my career that made sense to me, that created a work-life balance. I wanted to stretch my expectations, to have freedom and ownership, flexibility and transparency with what I was doing. And I felt that the business model of the traditional salon just did not fit that structure anymore; it hasn’t moved on since the 1950s and it needed an evolution, so I removed myself from the salon.

“I took 18 months out and travelled to the States where I spoke to freelancers, small independent businesses and co-working spaces, and I started to realise this new evolution; being an individual within that community was the future. I could have that ownership, that flexibility, that freedom, and I could do it supported by my peers. So I took that step and built Hunter Collective – and I haven’t looked back, I love it.”

 

Members love…
“The community and the vibe, the ownership of their own time. The flexibility of using our spaces on their terms, but being in a peer-to-peer environment where they’re working with individuals that they would never have had exposure to before. The fact that everyone respects each other and really learns from each other. It’s a community of motivated, entrepreneurial individuals who love being together. And I think that that is unique to Hunter Collective, the fact that they are all striving, growing, pushing boundaries and forging their own path, yet doing it together. They are supporting each other. There is no kind of ego in it, no boundaries. It’s just an open, inclusive, supportive community.

“The flexibility of our chairs is also key, the fact that you can book them by the hour. The chairs are on demand, they are first come, first served and they’re shared; you don’t own that chair. It suits their lifestyle because it’s completely tailored and bespoke to them.”

Hunter Collective Farringdon salon chair set-up

Technology is changing the game because…
“It’s a pillar of Hunter collective. Everything we do with Hunter Collective, from booking our chairs through to the way that we communicate with our members, is all online. It’s crucial that the tech element is about convenience. It’s about spending more time on the craft and the things that you love, your client and peer interaction, versus being bogged down in messages – actually having one place where all of your clients are booked in, all automated and managed well. It’s an absolute time saver.

“There isn’t a booking system out there right now that we found would allow us to run our chairs in a way that accommodates our members and accommodates our business model, so Hunter Collective is now building its own technology to support its locations, and to support freelancers everywhere. We want to build this incredible, sleek tool that will enable them to run their columns, look after their clients and declutter their bookings, which means they get to do more of what they love. One of the ways that we’re connecting them is through something called HC Club, which is online education for freelancers, which we’ll be launching next year.”

 

Site two is exciting because…
“It’s absolutely stunning. We opened our second site in Spitalfields in October, and we went for a very pretty, intimate luxury feel, a very inclusive environment. It’s a grade two listed Georgian townhouse that is very different to our original Farringdon location; Farringdon has 2000 square feet, and this is 900 square feet. It’s a completely different vibe. It’s all about giving that client experience of calm and quiet in the hustle and bustle of the city, like a beautiful oasis. It’s very demure, and it’s very private as it’s appointment only. We can see that it’s going to be a really different take on our co-working vibe compared to the New York loft-style of Farringdon.”

Hunter Collective Spitalfields exterior

My proudest moment at Hunter Collective has been…
“Seeing our members in action, welcoming new members to our community, and watching us thrive together, is easily my proudest moment. I’m most proud of the members, 100 per cent the members. The way that they have embraced our way of life, the way that they have shared it, built their businesses with us and trusted us. Every time a member joins Hunter Collective, the fact that they have taken that leap into the next part of their journey, blows me away. They are about to become the badass boss that they always wanted to be, with their community backing them every step of the way.  One of the defining reasons of why I built it was I knew we needed a new way of working collaboratively, where collaboration beat competition. We have proven that with Hunter Collective, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

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