Our journey of becoming business owners started in 2007, and we wanted to offer our clients something a little different and bespoke. At that time independent luxury salons were making their mark on the industry and we had an idea that sparked us to get to work.
We believed that had to begin with finding the right premises, a key element, so we spent a lot of time looking at different spaces, considering many factors when we were viewing premises. We wanted our clients to feel at home, and not in a generic style and atmosphere as so many high street salons are these days.
We found our perfect site, a 16th-century former coaching inn, in a village location but close to lots of towns and cities that would provide the perfect client base for our new venture, and the perfect escape for our projected clientele.
Coming from a London hairdressing background it was extremely important for us to offer the level of service and knowledge expected by clients who have enjoyed their hair and beauty services in the West End, but without the need to travel into the city or the cost associated with that.
Our salon provides both hair and beauty services; however our hair services make up more than two-thirds of our business. It was important for us to have a USP, and that was and continues to be our expertise in hair colouring.
We started out with just myself colouring hair, and have grown our colour specialist team to five team members. We have attracted other London-trained colourists and stylists and so are able to offer our clients an extremely high level of knowledge and skill.
Our investment, and curiosity sometimes, has allowed us to offer a vast selection of colour options, even developing some of our own which are exclusive to our clients, techniques developed by ourselves. Our keen education plan for our apprentices has allowed some to identify and follow hair colour-led careers.
We have become a destination salon with lots of recommendations from our existing client base, and our business has grown organically, attracting clients who now travel some distance to come and see us.
We opened our doors on the brink of economic decline in the UK, however we have continued to grow year on year. There are many factors for this, and one of these is recognising that we are facing tougher times – and that as a service we needed to up our game from day one. Clients walk and talk with money that can be spent at your salon.
I think key things for our success are gaining the right team to service our clients, and investing in continued training for them. Your team will be your most powerful opportunity to anchor clients to the salon. Be sure they represent your values, but don’t expect them to if you don’t make time to devote to showing them the way.
Interacting with your local community and building relationships are key to the core of your location. This has allowed us to participate in small but vital activities such as the Redbourn Christmas market – the PR associated with it has been invaluable to us and our digital feeds.
Don’t be afraid to try new things! We have hosted various blogger events in-salon, which is mostly unheard of in a village. We create these every year and allow our team to impress our beauty bloggers, who in return deliver excellent content for their readers and for our digital feed too!
Keeping a strong vision for the business and developing it on a monthly basis should be in mind always. Our long-term vision for the next ten years is to outgrow our current premises and provide an even bigger offering for our clients.
We look at our business every January; reviewing what is working for us and maybe what isn’t and needs improving. We think it’s important to be honest with these evaluations and make a monthly plan for the whole year ahead.
Social media is a definite area for us to concentrate on and use to promote Atelier and the services that we offer. We think it’s a great way to grow our business with minimal costs involved.
Whatever your end goal is, having that vision, evaluation, and insight can only help you grow!