Salon relocations often take months of planning – so when they happen without much warning, it can present multiple challenges. As such, HJ had a chat with four different business owners who all faced an unexpected salon relocation, so if you ever find yourself in the same situation, you can learn from their experiences.
Salon relocations can happen for various reasons, although it’s not uncommon for a difference in opinion with a landlord to be involved. For example, Lacey Hunter-Felton, co-founder of Hunter Collective, shared: “Due to the impacts of Covid, our landlord decided that they wanted to re-evaluate the use of their building, and so politely asked us to leave.” While this was communicated in a civil manner, the experience wasn’t without its challenges, with Lacey adding: “We had to jump into action right away to find a new location, while also considering how we would communicate the move to our members and the community.”
Brooks & Brooks faced a similar challenge, with Managing Director Jamie Brooks explaining: “The area we were based in was undergoing a redevelopment project, so we didn’t have a choice but to relocate.” Fortunately the salon was given a generous 18 months’ notice, however it took a year to find a suitable new premises – which they then ended up losing out on. “Finding the right site is the biggest challenge as there’s a lot of units available, however not all of them match what you are looking for,” Jamie explained. “There are a lot of premises in office blocks that lack any personality, but we were looking for a building with character.” Ultimately, it was a chance conversation with Charles Worthington that led Brooks & Brooks to take over their Covent Garden salon, and majority of the staff, too.
Lisa Shepherd, owner of Lisa Shepherd Hair, didn’t have the luxury of time when it came to her salon relocation. She explains: “I wanted to buck the trend and bring my prices down, so with five years left on my lease and six months prior to my break clause, I approached my landlord and told him that I’d like to half the salon. I thought he would be positive about renting out the other half to a complementary business, but three months later he declined my proposal.” With just three months left in her original location, Lisa shares some of the challenges she faced in the relocation process, admitting: “I can’t believe how much more expensive relocating is than just opening a salon from scratch. I didn’t think I’d have to duplicate so much stuff, but because I had to get one salon ready while the other was still open I’ve got tons of redundant, but really nice, salon furniture.”
Tina Hollis, owner of T2 Hair & Beauty, admits that the sharp increases in rent and utilities contributed to her decision to relocate her salon. “Although it wasn’t in my business plan I realised that moving location could be the key to huge savings and unlocking profit,” she notes. Reflecting on her decision, she adds: “I’d probably have done it sooner. It feels like such a big thing moving salon, and it’s something that probably seems like a last resort to many salon owners, but you have to put on your business hat and look at it practically. Will it save you money? Will it grow your business? At the end of the day the upheaval is only temporary, and you’ll end up in a more positive space.”
Words of Wisdom
Considering his advice for other salons facing an unexpected salon relocation, Jamie shares: “Never panic and stand your ground – don’t get pressured into moving to a site you really don’t want to move to.”
Lacey adds: “I would recommend building in a buffer for changes, even after everything is seemingly perfect. For example, one month after our community relocated into our new building we had to rip out and reconfigure the basin area because it wasn't quite right.”
Reflecting on the relocation process, Lisa says: “Within days we couldn’t imagine going back to what we had, we were already completely settled. I love change, I’ve never been afraid of it.” Lisa also channelled her enthusiasm for the new space into her services, adding: “The new salon is an opportunity to refresh my brand and bring our globally renowned colour services to my hometown, offering more luxurious services at an even better price. My biggest piece of advice? Trust your instincts.”