Name: Electric Space
Address: 11 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HR
Owner: Mark Woolley
Area: 6.5k sq. ft
stations: 30 chairs
Let us list the ways Electric Space is like no other hairdressing salon we’ve ever seen before… it has a private cinema and screening room, a fullylicensed bar, a film and photographic studio, a members lounge, not to mention 30 totally-moveable styling stations spread out over two floors. A standard high-street salon it is not.
“I’ve been a salon owner for 25 years and over that time I’ve seen work culture evolve and change – hairdressing is no different and we have to move with that cultural shift,” explains Electric founder Mark Woolley. “Electric Space is going to help people facilitate that journey. I hear older salon owners say I used to work 80 hours a week with no lunch breaks, but the industry (and the world post-pandemic) has changed. Younger generations don’t want to do that anymore and we must adapt as an industry to ensure we attract young, talented hairdressers.”
Comparisons to member’s only clubs has been inevitably made. And they’re not wrong, Soho House was a big inspiration for Mark. With a concept that means the space is multi-functional, it’s accurate to call it the Soho House for hair. There’s a mix of members – from photographers to art directors, and of course hair stylists. With hair stations in the atrium on the ground floor and the drawing room on the first floor, it’s a light and bright space that feels buzzy with creativity. “What we’re selling our hair members is connection and collaboration, they love the networking aspect of the space. We’ve hand-picked the hairdressers that are in there and have grown their careers.”
The space also has a fully-licensed bar with cocktail menu and a wine list and brands such as Innocent and Panasonic have recently held events there, not to mention Guy Ritchie who held a screening in the cinema room. “It’s totally different to what’s out there,” confirms Mark. “We’ve also got a film and photographic studio that’s fully equipped and is operated by a studio manager.”
The building itself has some real history behind it. It used to be the Lazerides Gallery, an art gallery where the likes of Banksy were displayed and was also a bar and restaurant for a time. It’s a Georgian listed building, so everything had to be restored to its original state. Despite doing the interior works during the second lockdown (Mark got the keys to the building last October) the renovations went without a hitch. In fact, Mark jokes, “lockdown bought me a bit more time.”
Next up, is expansion into the States. “I know everyone is trying to build a community, but we’re building a committed community of creatives.”
It’s time to take this global…
MARK’S TOP TIPS
The first time I pitched Electric Space to a group of Soho landlords, they weren’t convinced.
But I kept on going!
2 Fully believe in yourself
You’ve got to own your concept and you’ve got to throw your life into it.
3 Go bespoke
We worked with a design company in Manchester to create our own furniture. We’re a million pound project – everything has been specially designed.