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Taylor Taylor: The inside story of London’s Best Salon




It has been a whirlwind year for Taylor Taylor – voted Best Hair Salon in the London Lifestyle Awards and Best High-End Salon by Lux Life.

 

The business, which has branches in Shoreditch, Portobello and Soho, celebrates its 21st anniversary this year and owner Sarah Brass took time out with the Local Buyers Club to reflect.

 



This is no ordinary salon; many of its stylists work with celebrities at London Fashion Week and have successful careers in TV and magazine. With its décor that chimes of the faded grandeur of 18th century France and free cocktail bar, it feels more like exclusive members’ club.



 

Sarah said: “When the salon was launched in 2003 by Bradley Taylor, the market was dominated by the likes of Vidal Sassoon and the typical décor was functional and monochrome.  Bradley wanted a more design conscious approach and created a boutique feel with a free cocktail bar.

 

“Our style is effortless and eclectic,” explained Sarah. “We source the furnishings from flea markets, Ebay and antique shops and I refurbish them myself. The salons were complete wrecks when we took them on. The Portobello one was an old jean warehouse and, when we took on the salon in Commercial St, Shoreditch, it was raining inside!”

 

Sarah took over the business in 2008, after a high-flying career in retail (she was Director at Laura Ashley and a buyer for the likes of Debenhams and BHS). When she was offered the job as Head Buyer for Selfridges, she realised she didn’t want to work in retail anymore and she joined her friend Bradley at the salon.

 



She added: “When I joined we had two East London salons, which we expanded to five at our peak (including one in The Maldives) and, though there was an amazing ethos of customer service and the hairdressing was wonderful we took the strategic decision to consolidate the teams into three key London salons to protect the standards of our brand identity, it was a difficult decision but it has proven itself to be one of our wisest.  

“This is the fifth time we’ve been crowned London’s Best Hair Salon and that feels particularly special in our 21st year.

 

“Sometimes it can be stressful – other times it’s brilliant. Our hairdressers all love their craft. Hairdressing is undervalued in the UK. It takes our hairdressers an average of four years to qualify – I’m in awe of our colourists and stylists and their level of skill and knowledge. Not only must they be good at cutting and colouring, they also need to have an exceptional bedside manner.

 

“We always try to make it a sociable experience – having the bar helps, equally if someone wants a quieter, less social experience we have areas which are more separated.

 

“We don’t really employ hairdressers; they come to us and are free to work the days they want and to take on editorial and commission-based work too. Sometimes they’re here – sometimes they’re doing Fashion Week in Paris, Milan or New York! This flexibility has been at the heart of the business since we started - its the ultimate hybrid working.”



 

Taylor Taylor London has a team of around 100 and they’re constantly nurturing new talent. Sarah’s brother-in-law Cameron Amos joined the business as Managing Director in 2012, when Sarah took some time to start a family.

 

Sarah added: “Very few salons are training future hairdressers at the moment – since Brexit and Covid many have got rid of their juniors and assistants – that’s not good for the industry or future clients; we need new talent in order to survive.”

 

Though most of the clients come through word of mouth, Covid has changed the landscape. As a city-based salon, many of their clients used to pop in during their lunch breaks and after work but, with people increasingly working from home, that’s happening less.

 

Local Buyers Club members save 20% at Taylor Taylor in Shoreditch (Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm).

 




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