Two by Simon Smith in Chipping Norton offers a welcoming, effortless environment to clients and staff.
Effortlessly stylish was the underlying theme for Simon Smith’s second salon based in Chipping Norton, in the Cotswolds. “I didn't want it to look like it was trying too hard. I wanted it to be a reflection of my tastes, and I took inspiration from the listed building itself,” he explains. Being in the Cotswolds it would be all too obvious to go down the route of cutesy cottage-core or a typical barn conversion, but this salon is more ‘urban meets country’. “We had to leave pipes exposed and couldn’t put electric lines into the ceiling because it is a listed building – so the end result was almost industrial, which I think works in our favour.”
The bespoke furniture – which includes the mirrors and styling sections – have all been made by local artisans. But when it came to the backwashes and chairs, there was only one choice for Simon. “Takara Belmont is the best quality in my experience,” he says. The chair and backwash upholstery is green, which works really well alongside the abundance of natural wood, including salvaged oak floorboards, Cotswold stone on the walls and COR-TEN steel. “I don't like salons that are over-lit and almost clinical, so I’ve taken inspiration from bars and restaurants,” Simon says. “They’re much better at creating a vibe and zoning areas.”
The backwash area was inspired by London hotels, specifically their bathrooms. “I love going to old, Victorian hotels in London – and always think their toilets are incredible.” So in the backwash area, Simon has opted for black and white, chequered flooring. “I love quintessentially British hotels like the Connaught. I chose the furniture for the simplicity of the design and the industrial look. Takara Belmont products are robust and you can bespoke customise them. I learnt quickly that it’s a false economy getting cheap furniture. The sort of clients and staff I attract are used to good quality. You wouldn’t go to a hotel that wasn’t as good as your home, so why go to a salon that feels average?” adds Simon.
When HJ asked Simon what his business focuses are for 2024 he was excited about "doing the best job I can and creating the best team.” Simon’s aim is to have a mix of employed and potentially self-employed stylists, as well as being a creative hub for any stylists who are visiting the Cotswolds or need a spot to bring clients to. “I’m all about inclusivity,” he explains. “I pay my staff a wage, but my business model is to give 50% of what we make to them. Hairdressers have been taken advantage of for too long. My staff can have as much time off as they want. If you give people flexibility, I believe that they work harder for you.” Staff satisfaction and appreciation are of huge importance to Simon. So much so that he ended our chat with a shout out to one of his staff. “A lot of salons overlook the importance of organisation, so a big shout out goes to Cheryl who is our Salon Manager. She’s amazing and we couldn't have done it without her.”
Speaking of inclusivity, read next: How To Make Your Hair Salon More LGBTQIA+ Inclusive
Recreate the Look
Shiki Styling Chair
With its elegant, delicate frame, the Shiki styling chair is quintessentially Japanese with an international outlook. The Shiki’s 360˚ lockable rotation and low backrest allow for easy access to the client’s hair. Black or champagne metalwork and hydraulic base options make this a popular choice from Takara Belmont’s Zen Collection.
Elevate every backwash with the RS Prime, delivering feature rich specification at the backwash. Its removable gel-filled neck cushion cradles your client's head in comfort, as the 16º tilt-mechanism ensures unhindered access for the backwash technician. With thermostatic control that regulates water pressure and temperature, and a free-swivelling intelligent shower head with a retracting cord, a premium shampoo service is assured every time.
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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Takara Belmont.