If you had to choose your favourite moment of the past year, what would it be?
Jonathan: The actual opening day was a really proud moment for us. When the sign was put up and we saw our name above the salon door it was incredible, also watching the team form and the salon becoming fully booked – it’s amazing it's all coming together now! Also doing our firs photoshoot as Palmer Fisher London was a really great feeling.
Nikita: I still can’t believe that we did it! It's been a year full of industry events, awards evenings, photo shoots, colour transformations and I passed my Schwarzkopf Pro Colour Masters with flyin colours… the list goes on.
Can you describe your feelings when you opened your doors, only to be told three weeks later we were going back into lockdown?
Jonathan: It was a welcome break to be honest! Absolutely not ideal but we try to look at everything in a positive light. We had been so flat out setting up the salon and then bein fully booked working 6-7 days a week, that the unexpected lockdown gave us time to reflect o what we had done and achieved in such a small amount of time.
Nikita: It was a laugh or cry situation and neither of us really knew which to do. The journey of the pandemic has been unbelievable, but we wouldn’t have changed the way that we opened, as that break early on in our business gave us time to revaluate plans moving forward.
How did it feel making the decision to open your own salon, after the pandemic and knowing how uncertain the times were?
Jonathan: To be honest it didn't deter us at all, a lot of people thought we were mad, but we were determined to make it work and we love a challenge. I think that's when you have the most growth as individuals and as a business. Nothing has come easy but taking calculated risks is when you can achieve the best rewards.
Nikita: It didn’t change anything for us, we were so focused on opening our dream salon that the circumstances of Covid-19 only delayed the process a little, but it never dampened our spirits. We knew what we were aiming to create and wouldn’t settle for anything less. Family and friends all thought we were crazy, but as Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
What were the challenges of renovating the salon? Is there anything you regret?
Jonathan: Getting the wash basins in was a challenge as they were bigger than expected. We ended up having to completely change the position and direction of what we had planned originally, but it actually ended up working out and looking much better.
Then, about a week or so before opening, we found damp in one of the walls that then had to be completely taken back to the brick work to dry and fi the problem, then re plastered and painted again. It was a long process but we got there in the end, we love the end result and have no regrets!
Nikita: This was ALL Jonathan as I am useless in this department! The neon lights and signage with neon backlit backwash area are our signature pieces, and every other accessory within the decor evolved from there. We initially chose the colour turquoise as it best suited our branding as it is calming, welcoming, friendly, with a tranquil vibe, and paired well with our grey and white brand colours.
What’s your favourite part of the salon?
Jonathan: If I had to choose, I would say the feature wall at the front of the salon with the Palmer Fisher London neon logo on it. It was an idea I had at the beginning of the renovation which turned out better than I expected.
Nikita: I LOVE the high ceilings, the large mirrors, comfy chairs, massaging backwash chairs, large staff oom with kitchen and office spa downstairs and the outside garden area… in other words, all of it! There are times when I pause, I look up and realise, we did it!
Salon owners often say building a team is the hardest part of starting a business… do you agree?
Jonathan: I would! I have always been super fussy with who I employ, but when it's your own business it's even harder, it's like bringing someone new into your family. As I know a lot of people are findin at the moment, it is so hard to find new and goo team members in the industry. When we interview my focus is more on them as a person than it is necessarily about their skill set. Of course, they need to be a good hairdresser, but we can teach you to be a better hairdresser, but we can't teach you to be the right person for our team.
I would definitely agree with that! I have always been super fussy with who I employ, but when it's your own business it's even harder, it's like bringing someone new into your family
Nikita: As I am sure every salon owner will agree, you spend more time with your staff than you d with your own family, so choosing the perfect match for our team and for our vision is extremely important. We take great pride in our salon team though and continuously offer education, as wel as creating new and fun opportunities for them to stay passionate about their craft and the industr .
What are your plans for 2022?
Jonathan: Our plan is to continue to grow and to expand the team further. We would also like to enter more competitions, take part in stage work, education and work hard to build our industry profiles with the help of supportive b ands and industry friends.
Nikita: Furthering our careers, both together as a couple and individually, by making the most of every opportunity we are presented with, as well as the ones we create for ourselves. We both want to push ourselves into educational roles too. Maybe we could have a holiday at some point as well, which would be really nice and a welcome rest which is important for everyone!