The future proofers

Life moves pretty fast and the consumer landscape can rapidly change… that’s why these salons are future proofing their businesses to ensure they thrive under any circumstances  

Photography by Harvey Williams-Fairley 

Gielly Green, Marylebone (@giellygreen)

 Gielly Green is home to leading hair maestros from around the world. It’s a hand-picked team of mega-talented stylists, colourists and beauticians working at the top of their game. The salon offers a host of luxury services to an incredibly discerning clientele – so when the salon was forced into lockdown, co-founder Shai Greenberg (pictured) launched the site Salon Consult to keep these experts in touch with their clients. 

Part of the consultation sees the stylist create a basket of prescribed hair products, which the client then purchases to be delivered to their home. Salon Consult has become so popular that the service is still running even though the salon has reopened, meaning clients 
and staff can use their time in the salon even more efficiently. “We’ve had brilliant feedback,” says Shai. 
“It’s also been a strong communication point for clients, and we see a lot of interest come in now from Salon Consult. In lockdown we got the team more involved on social media too, using the time to create engaging videos and tutorials.” 

It’s key that Salon Consult is not “just another site selling products”, which chimes in with Shai’s insistence on a very high standard of customer service. “The power we have is the expert behind the service, and that’s what I advertise. Otherwise, what’s the difference between us and another site?” he asks. 

Indeed, Shai’s vision of customer service addresses all the bugbears that used to upset him when he worked as a stylist. It’s the kind of quality and luxury that you’d find in a five-star hotel. Using the best products is a must for Shai – and his team insist upon Redken. “They are the most advanced products and deliver the best results,” says Shai. “And the support we receive from the brand is second to none: the training, the advice, the service.” 

Kai & I, Bishopbriggs (@kaiandisalon)

 “The world is too busy – we want people here to feel calm and relaxed,” explains Nikki Calder, founder of the beachy brilliant Kai & I. Walk in and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d arrived at a Balearic bar rather than the outskirts of Glasgow. Yes, of course you can get a great haircut and colour, but Nikki knows that a successful salon today needs to offer more. “Everyone wants the Instagrammable place to go,” she admits, “and as much as it’s about being a great hairdresser, I have to give them the wow factor.” 

And on that she’s certainly delivering: having bought the barber shop next door, Nikki has extended the salon to include more beauty rooms and yes, a fully stocked bar. It’s all part of her long-term plan to offer everything a client could need within a haven of tranquility. Having attended a L’Oréal Salon Emotion course, she took plenty of ideas away to help boost her client’s journey. “We’re trying to do something other salons aren’t,” she explains, “and I want to get more followers. I’ve been on two social media courses with Redken and I’ve learnt so much. I feel we are now more Instagrammable.”  

And that’s where the brand helps to boost her further, she says. “I love the focus on trends. Lots of big celebrities in the US use Redken and to have access to what they use and then be able to offer it to clients is amazing.” She’s also a fan of the new L’Oréal Partner Shop. “It’s great to have an online shop for salon owners,” she says. “It gives you complete control of your costs and you can reorder with ease. You can even give other members of staff control of stock – which has transformed the way we work as a team.” 

Ashley Clarke Signature Salon, Queensferry (@ashleyclarkesignaturesalon)

“Nothing too serious, nothing too clinical.” That’s the vibe you’ll find at Ashley Clarke Signature Salon, a gorgeous space that enjoys a good mix of clients but sees plenty of busy mums, just like founder Ashley herself. But a key draw for many returning to the salon is the hair bar, where clients can sit next to each other and enjoy conversations with new and old friends alike.  

“This is a high-end salon with a real community feel,” explains Ashley proudly, who sees her team’s personable approach as the point of difference. “The clients have a lot of trust in the team across the whole salon.” 

It’s this communal, personable vibe that runs through the strategy of the business, with Ashley always laser-focused on improving the client journey – something that prompted her to attend a Salon Emotion workshop at the start of the year to glean a little inspiration on changes she could be making. So, what followed? 

The traditional reception desk has been replaced with a pod to make the entrance feel less imposing and intimidating, with retail moving next to it for a better shopping experience. “We make sure our retail is clearly priced so it’s consumer friendly,” explains Ashley.  

Next up are digital screens in the salon’s windows. “They’re so easy to update with our latest launches and promotions – I don’t need to go back to a printer and spend more on getting materials reprinted, and they’re great for catching someone’s eye, even at night when we’re closed.”  

Catching the eye is one of the reasons she’s a fervent Redken fan. “I love how Instagrammable the brand is,” she says. “We get clients who have been searching for Redken salons because of social media. It gives you a certain cachet.” 

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