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Professional Beauty


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REFINED LUXURY at Blush + Blow, Parsons Green, London

The inspiration “I wanted the space to be really relaxing but also trendy and fun,” says Bridget O’Keeffe, founder of Blush + Blow. “My colour palette came first – I went for grey and white and touches of mint green – and the whole thing was really organic from there.” The salon’s plush, throne-style armchairs that serve as pedicure chairs were the first item O’Keeffe sourced and had made bespoke, like most almost every other piece of furniture or fixture in the salon. Insta USP: “I think our pedicure stations have become quite an iconic feature in the salon, with the regal-looking taps and gold bowls,” says O’Keeffe.

The salon’s ultra-glam bathroom with its black marble sink and bright gold accents also proves popular with clients wanting to snap a selfie to show off the results of their treatments. “I think a lot of salons let themselves down with their bathrooms. It’s a great opportunity to wow clients. I wanted to go completely away from the main colour palette and do gold and black because those colours stand out so well together. I love bees so I brought in little bee elements throughout the salon and so there’s bee wallpaper in the loo.”

O’Keeffe says it’s worth putting some extra effort into the design of your salon’s bathroom as that’s where clients tend to take pictures of themselves because of the privacy and the mirrors. “We’ve got a really long mirror in there and made sure the lighting was flattering,” she says. Top tips: “Lots of people ask me where bits in the salon are from because it inspires them for their own interiors,” says O’Keeffe. She says this is a good idea to think about in terms of attracting your clients to connect with your space and take pictures. “With the demographic in our area, the salon interior is what people would love for their homes and that’s exactly what I was going for,” she says.

“We have charging ports at every manicure station and it costs next to nothing but clients love it.” Lessons learned: “Clever storage is very underrated and we don’t have enough of it,” says O’Keeffe. She advises making sure you’re using every ounce of space: “We’ve got a massive boiler and its placement wasn’t cleverly thought out so we’ve ended up wasting a lot of space that we could have used for storage,” she says.

ECLECTIC FUN at Neverland Nails, Glasgow

The inspiration: “When I was young, my dad bought a house from an old lady. She had wallpapered over wallpaper again and again for about 50 years. I remember helping him strip the wallpaper and every layer was a different texture or pattern and it always stuck with me,” says Frenchie Watson, owner of Neverland Nails. “That’s the vibe I went for in the salon – a grandmother’s living room that’s gone a bit wrong.”

When designing the interior for the salon, which opened a year ago, Watson stuck to the pink and black colour palette she loves. “Everything in my life is either pink or black, so really I just took inspiration from things that I like and hoped everybody else likes them too,” she says. “Furniture-wise I wanted vintage-looking pieces but nothing too twee or kitsch, so some dark wood and black bits too. If clients are into pink and sparkly or if they’re drawn to more gothic vibes, hopefully there will be something in there they like.”

Watson designed and kitted out the salon herself, picking up bits here and there for a “pick ‘n’ mix” aesthetic. “A lot of it was from eBay, Amazon or local shops, and I also got lots of pieces second-hand from Gumtree and from an old house my sister owns that was left with furniture from the previous owners,” she says.

Insta USP: Neverland’s fireplace is the salon’s striking focal point. “I wanted the salon to feel comfortable and homely, and everyone loves sitting in front of a fire. I had this vision for a black fireplace with artificial grass, a chimney place and lots of flowers. One of my friends is a florist who works with fake flowers, so she designed the arrangement for me and it’s a really interesting focal point,” explains Watson.

Top tips: “People are always taking photos in the salon because we have key little pieces that make people want to look and then share online and get other people interested. It’s definitely a great way to boost your business. It’s marketing without me having to manage it,” says Watson.

While she does want to encourage clients to take pictures in the salon, Watson says: “primarily the space has to be somewhere I feel good in if I’ve got to be there working every day. I keep adding little bits to the space to keep it interesting.”

One of the reasons Watson thinks Neverland’s interior is so popular with clients is because they feel comfortable in their surroundings. “Clients feel as though they’re allowed to touch things – a lot of salons are so clinical and formal. I wanted it to feel like you were in somebody’s house, just sitting in the living room,” she says.

Lessons learned: While the salon’s look is somewhat eclectic and busy, Watson advises having a clear theme and sticking to it. “It helps you rein in your ideas when there are so many overwhelming choices to make. And don’t expect it to look exactly how you want it to straight away, it’ll always be evolving as you move bits around and add and take things away.”

MINIMALIST CHIC at Naked Hare, Brixton, London

The inspiration: “The whole design was pretty inexpensive in comparison to a lot of salons,” says Naked Hare owner Frankie Farnesi. The salon, which specialises in waxing, opened in January this year with an interior that Farnesi describes as “laidback and unintimidating”. “I wanted something that was comfortable for both men and women and that looked and felt eco-friendly,” she says. With an interior designer mum to help plan the salon’s aesthetic and source furniture, Farnesi had support when making sure everything was readily available for the other salons in its soon-to-be-launched franchise scheme.

“The first thing we did was create a mood board to decide on materials and brand assets. Early on, we knew we’d stick to materials like copper, leather, wood and leaves. With the leaves, I wanted a tactile, indoor-foliage vibe rather than anything too palm tree or tropical,” says Farnesi. The salon uses stained reclaimed timber throughout, such as for the front signage and bar, while the furry throws that cover the treatment chairs on the salon floor are inexpensive buys from Ikea.

Insta USP: “Our wall of leaves is definitely a favourite. We just found an online supplier of fake foliage and painted the wall behind it green. We know how important Instagram is to businesses at the moment and it makes it a lot easier to reap the rewards of that when you have Instagram-worthy features for clients to take pictures of,” says Farnesi. For this reason she says that having the salon be somewhere people would want to photograph was “definitely taken into consideration”, adding, “It’s part of the reason I wanted a character for our branding like the hare, so that we could incorporate it into the marketing,” she adds.

Examples of the Insta-friendly interiors include the blackboard at the front of the salon that displays a tongue-in-cheek marketing slogan with the salon’s hashtags. “We also run competitions on social media whereby clients take pictures of themselves in front of a pair of hare ears and tag a friend or follow,” says Farnesi. “Plus, when we invite bloggers in for a free treatment, they’re more excited to come if the space is Insta-worthy.”

Top tips: “Have some ideas of what clients can take photos of when you’re designing your space, advises Farnesi. “The wall is a good one because it gets the natural lighting right at the front of the salon.” She adds, “Maintain some consistency with your design and branding so the pictures are easily recognisable no matter where they’re taken in the salon.”

Creating a space where clients feel free to relax and enjoy the environment is key to turning your salon into a social hub they want to share. “We try to make it so clients don’t feel they have to rush off. We have a bar with stools where clients can relax after their treatments. We’re going to have juice shots available and offer fruit-infused water in glasses rather than stocking plastic bottles,” she says.

Lessons learned: “Plan your speaker system and make sure your wi-fi reaches all of your treatment rooms,” says Farnesi. Not installing a speaker system throughout means relying on wireless speakers in the salon’s upstairs treatment room, where the wi-fi signal often cuts out. She adds that it’s important to make sure your wi-fi is strong enough for all clients in the salon to use it at the same time.

This article appears in the Professional Beauty August 2018 Issue of Professional Beauty

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This article appears in the Professional Beauty August 2018 Issue of Professional Beauty