During the summer of 2016, an opportunity arose to work with Dessange – a prestigious and luxury French brand. Surprisingly enough, despite their presence in over fifty countries, they still hadn't found the right partner to open their London flagship.
I was literally jumping for joy when they reached out to me.
Yes, it's joy.
I worked in one of their salons during my apprenticeship and to me they were the quintessential brand for French elegance. The initial phone call became a meeting, which resulted in other meetings. Long story short, we ended up negotiating terms for the launch of Dessange in England.
At the last minute, I freaked out.
As you can imagine, it was a big project, with a lot of money involved and very high expectations. I wasn’t sure I was able to shoulder that responsibility. I ran away – not literally, this time.
The whole process took roughly a year, and although it was a lot of work, I also learnt a great deal. Mind you, I had to put together a full business plan and, as you can imagine, I had never heard of this term before.
I met fantastic people at Dessange.
They made me realise that there was a lot more than I thought to running a beauty salon, whilst encouraging me and guiding me towards it. Although we went our separate ways, Marion & Betty, two senior managers at Dessange, have heavily and positively influenced my future.
I said good bye to them.
I was torn by conflicting emotions. My dream was gone. I wasn’t going to be part of the Dessange venture in England. On the other hand, I had soon started to work on a new project, more in line with my personality and my values. Yep, you guessed it… Margaux Salon.
When I was putting together a plan for Dessange in the UK, I looked at hundreds of salons’ websites, read dozens of articles, analysed countless excel spreadsheets - a program I had never used before!
All my work and research opened my eyes to the realities of the beauty industry.
First, it’s become a very complicated industry.
I mean, everyone knows the struggle when facing hundreds of different shampoos at the supermarket and having to choose one. There are so many brands and each of them has different ranges, each of them comprising dozens of products. And obviously, every single product is specially designed for a certain use and therefore has tons of benefits. Clarifying shampoo, everyday shampoo, volumizing shampoo, oily hair shampoo, normal hair shampoo, dry shampoo, damaged hair shampoo, coloured hair shampoo, 2-in-1 shampoo, medicated shampoo, swimmer’s shampoo… the list goes on.
Yes, it’s important to look after your hair, but no, it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
The pricing is very complex, and it’s hard to understand what level of service you’ll get for your money. Most hair salons in London have an extensive price list and aren’t necessarily straight forward with their clients.
There isn’t a price. There are prices. Plenty. Tons of them!
You fancy a haircut? Sure, would you like to book with a junior stylist (£35), with a stylist (£39), with a senior stylist (£45), with a very senior stylist (£53) or with the artistic director (£68)?
How on earth do I know which one to go for?
Some hairdressers are better after five years of practice than others with over twenty. More importantly, how do I know as a client, what service I’ll get for each price? Am I playing with fire if I choose the junior? Is the artistic director going to revolutionize my hair & my look?
The worst thing is probably when you pop in without an appointment and are assigned a member of staff without knowing who they are and how much they’ll charge you. It’s an embarrassing situation to be in. Even if you find the courage to ask for the price, would you ask for another stylist if the assigned one was too expensive? Or too junior? You probably wouldn’t, either because you won’t come across as being greedy, or because you don’t want to offend the stylist.
And that’s just the beginning.
Let’s say you’ve chosen the senior stylist and so expect to pay £45. How naive. You have long hair, and therefore you’ll be charged £52. Yep that’s right, the stylist had to put their scissors further down to cut your hair, which is supposedly worth an extra £7.
Most of the time, that’s plain bullshit.
Whether you have short or long hair, the stylist is doing the same job and they still needs to shape your hair according to your wish. Save for a few exceptions, cutting long hair or short hair takes the same time.
It’s obviously different when it comes to colouring hair, because yes, long or thick hair takes more time and uses more product. However, what I don’t understand, and never will, is when a salon charges you extra for a toner when you book for a balayage? A toner is absolutely needed, it should be built in the price, not an extra. Do you imagine paying £50 for a train ticket and being charged an additional £10 when you reach your destination?
Lastly, there is a better approach to beauty.
When I was searching for products, I came across natural & organic brands. I knew some of them – the mainstream ones – but the others were completely unknown to me. I decided to give it a go and I did a trial with Natulique. These guys offer some of the gentlest products on the market, with fewer toxins, zero ammonia and zero PPD. When I first mixed a colour with their product, one thing struck me: there wasn’t any smell. In case you’re not familiar with hair colouring, there is always a strong chemical smell when mixing colours.
Honestly, I was a bit concerned about the results. I was wrong. They’re just as good as any other brand. It’s harder to use though as the colours are limited and there is a lot more mixing required.
It’s no surprise that I chose to work with them – they’re also super nice!
As I didn’t want to be just another salon (no reference to any other businesses ;)) I decided to do things differently.
My vision was to take things back to basics: a simple price list to choose from, no hidden costs, consistent service, and a relaxing, homely feel.
Well, first you’ll be treated like a respected friend. Our stylists are incredibly nice. No joke, it’s one of our key benchmarks for recruiting. We also have an unlimited supply of espresso, macchiato, latte, cappuccino and tea to choose from.
You’ll feel at home. The salon is super cosy, the chairs are comfortable, there’s extra space between the stations, and we even have massaging backwash units. We also receive an extensive selection of quality magazines every month. From travelling to design, beauty, fashion, sports or cooking, there will always be a good read for you!
There is no hidden cost. A cut includes a wash and a rough dry – we won’t let you leave the salon with wet hair if you don’t want a blowdry! There is no extra cost for a toner when you book for a colour. The list goes on.
Your favourite stylist is on holiday? Don’t worry, they’re all super talented. There aren’t any price levels either, so you’ll always pay the same for your haircut regardless of the stylist.
We use organic or natural products across all the services. All the products we’ve sourced meet two conditions: they’re gentle whilst offering outstanding results. Yep, they’re more expensive but it’s worth it. We care about you, about your beauty and your health. I also care about my team and my own health. There are better products out there, why not use them?
Margaux Salon isn’t a self-obsessed business. It’s a family. An organisation that works towards making a positive impact: I believe in treating people the way I’d like to be treated – well!
It’s not just our clients. It’s our employees, who are all permanent employees, which isn’t common in this industry. It’s our suppliers, who are mostly local and/or small businesses. It’s the local community, which we support every time we can.
Let’s be friends :)