Discussing the power of image and branding, Brett MacDonald is back with an update on the first CULt. salon space
“When it comes to image and branding, CULt. has developed a stand out profile. We have successfully created a strong and identifiable brand image that sets us apart from the competition. I’m going to delve into the thought processes behind the brand identity and image.
We consider ourselves as a company with a 360 birds-eye view. We wanted to ensure that the brand’s educational imagery didn’t get confused with our salon imagery. This distinction was critical to maintain clarity and cohesiveness throughout the brand. To achieve this, brand guidelines were developed a few years ago. However, when it came to the salon website, we understood that anything too pared back might easily be forgotten. This is why we decided to use our special colour palette to produce a striking and memorable branding for the salon’s online presence.
Location is key
The location of the salon played a vital role in influencing the salon’s image and branding decisions. In many ways, we perceive the salon as a reflection of its environment, drawing inspiration from the uniqueness of Aesop stores. Our vision is to create five distinct salons across north, south, east, west, and central London. While staff education, client atmosphere, and a friendly approach are deeply ingrained in our DNA, we strive to steer clear from creating mundane, all-white tiled boxes. For us, the comfort and well-being of both clients and staff hold paramount importance.
In the vibrant setting of east London, where there are lots of open warehouses and industrial spaces, we envisioned creating a truly inviting and relaxing haven for the bustling Londoners to stop and unwind. Fortunately, we found the perfect space that aligns with this vision. Within this space, we have designated a spacious lounge area that serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it acts as a reception zone, providing clients and friends with the ultimate comfort during check-ins and check-outs. Secondly, it offers a serene spot for clients to relax for colour processing, hand massages, and manicures. Lastly, it serves as a hub for hosting engaging events, from intriguing talks to captivating discussions on various hobbies and interests.
Going the extra mile
From the moment anyone steps into CULt., they are warmly welcomed with their choice of either refreshing iced lemon water or a comforting cup of warm tea, depending on the season. Additionally, a soft, hot or cold towel awaits. This is a little way of washing away the stresses of the day – be it from home chores, frantic shopping, or a long, taxing day at the office. It’s a small yet meaningful way of conveying that stepping into CULt. marks a moment to pause, breathe, and cherish a little time for oneself. At CULt. we are completely focused on guests feeling like the salon is as much their space as it is ours.
A clear vision
The mood board that guided the salon’s design was meticulously created, ensuring clear communication with the designers. As someone who understands the importance of thorough communication and consultation, I provided a refined visual mood board that served as a starting point for the designer. It wasn’t an easy task to integrate the technical aspects essential for a salon to function smoothly into the design.
My designer nearly fell off her chair when I sent her three pages of points around what does and does not work in a salon, something I’ve learnt from years of working in one. From special lighting and the use of a lighting designer to get the light right for stylists, colourist and clients to industrial washers and dryers and specific finishes for cleaning and comfort. It also included privacy for clients from overlooking eyes from offices above. The list was long.
Work with the best
We try to always work with leading creatives, I’ve always believed in working with the best possible people you can afford. Our architect has worked on some really amazing projects but only recently struck out on her own so we could stretch to afford her. Now she’s getting press in Vanity Fair, Elle and The New York Times, so might not be so affordable in the future! The website team are a group of really experienced and new creatives meshing skills and creativity to create great websites.
I only one have one brief for all the team involved; boring, bland and forgettable are not okay! I basically tell them I want them to be working through the process thinking, ‘Brett will never go for this as it is way out there.’ In all honesty, money and business constraints will always clip your wings in design as it is, so it’s important you shoot for stars.
CULt. has mastered the art of image and branding, combining aesthetics with functionality to deliver a unique and unforgettable experience. With an unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming and comforting space for clients, CULt. sets itself apart as a salon that truly cares about its guests’ well-being. As we continue to expand across London, we are bound to leave an indelible mark on the industry, all while maintaining our distinct brand identity.”