BLOG: Chopp Hair owner Paul Phillips’ top tips for establishing a successful salon business model

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Paul Phillips is owner of Chopp Hair as well as a Fudge UK ART Team member.

The birth of Chopp
After cutting hair to earn my keep in countries such as South Africa, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Bali and the Middle East, I decided I wanted to start up a business that put the skills I had learnt whilst away to better use and bring something different, new and exciting to the world of hairdressing.  Thus, Chopp was born.

The vital ingredients
It’s important for anybody looking to take the leap to have a good business plan in place: make sure you have a good accountant that you can sit in front of and fire questions his/her way, recruit the best team you can and surround yourself with creative types such as graphic designers and web designers to help give you that presence online. It’s also important to keep up to date with new products, techniques and trends and to understand what works for your local demographic. I say this because what might work for the top salons of London may not work for a salon in Essex or Cornwall, for example. You may also want to consider a nice toilet and good coffee!

Try and enjoy yourself too, because as demanding as it is, having your own business should enable you to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, but often you see people getting the balance wrong and not being able to escape the world of work. Taking a break and having interests outside of work is essential to running a happy and healthy business.

Investing in your team
By naming the salon Chopp, it ensured that the brand wasn’t all about one person and had more of a team focus which was important to me and what I wanted the brand to be about. I believe the one single stand out feature that sets Chopp apart from the rest is my team. Investing in my staff has been crucial to ensuring they achieve their full potential and help to fulfill my objective of creating an affordable 5* London standard salon. Here at Chopp, we have one-to-one staff meetings every three months; I take a day out of the salon and spend an hour with each of my staff away from work in a relaxed environment. On top of this, we have company meetings every month and training and creative hours allocated weekly. All of this enables me to gauge an understanding of where everyone is at and what decisions I need to make to ensure staff satisfaction throughout the salon and iron out any issues anyone may have.

Beyond the salon floor
The success Chopp has experienced in the short time we’ve been open is down to not once taking my ‘foot off the gas’ and making sure the team and I are active beyond the salon floor. During the two and a half years Chopp’s been open, we’ve had TV exposure, we’ve raised almost £8,000 for charity, we’ve won competitions and are finalists in events still to come, I have sponsored Men’s London Fashion Week as part of my involvement with professional hair care brand, Fudge, and we have released spring/summer and autumn/winter collections. The list goes on and all of the above keeps our clients excited and wanting to come back to hear about the next chapter. 

The final bit of advice I would give to anyone looking to start their own business or open their first salon would be: Go for it. It’s an expensive challenge and takes real guts and hard work – expect to work more hours than all of your staff, expect to be the first in and the last to leave – but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. When you see the salon thriving, every seat in the building filled and more, struggling to find a seat for someone, the phone ringing off the hook, there really is no better feeling.

– Paul