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STUDIO TSL - Digital Content Creation - From the creator of The Style Lane

INTERVIEW: 5 Minutes With Ricky Walters, Creative Director & Owner Of SALON64

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

There’s a new hair destination in town and it’s super-stylish. We caught up with the man behind SALON64, who is currently shaking up the traditional salon experience as we know it…

 

Ricky Walters Creative Director & Owner SALON64 Landscape Photography Victoria Metaxas aurora-stories.com

Tell us how your hairdressing journey began? Starting off as an assistant at John Frieda Mayfair, I was instantly hooked on the glamour of the West End hairdressing scene, and for over five and a half years with the company, worked on perfecting my craft. Fast-forward to the age of 21 and in order to differentiate myself from the crowds of young hairdressers, I decided to take the leap as a Stylist within the five star Corinthia Hotel London. 

 

A salon not living up to its full potential, I wrote a business plan with a note attached to the desk of the hotel manager, who agreed to give me a shot as Salon Manager. Discovering I had a knack for excelling salons, it was inevitable yet another business plan was to be written, but this time for my own salon, with a twist. 

 

Having always been based in luxury settings and salons, I still felt the industry (in terms of salon appearance and functionality) was way behind and a massive gap in the market was spotted. SALON64 filled this void instantly. 

 

Share a styling secret with us… A large portion of my client base has curly hair, due to the fact I have unruly ringlets upon my own head. I therefore can completely sympathise with those out there wanting to leave their curls natural, but haven't found a strong enough frizz-fighting product. Stop the search! My worst kept secret is for those with truly untamable, frizzy curls, use curly conditioner as a styling product, scrunch into the ends of your hair. If you have time, diffuse using a high heat with a low speed and twist random curls for a more defined, polished look.

SALON64 The Fire Pits Photography ©Francesco Russo - www.russofrancesco.com

How is the SALON64 experience unique? SALON64 has created the first social hub. A place where patrons can meet, greet, work or enjoy a host of hair and beauty treatments. We have exposed a giant gap in the market by filling a need. Hairstyles have changed throughout the ages to keep up with the latest in fashion, however salons have remained the same set up for years. Mirror, chair, mirror, chair - boring.

 

Our transformable space allows the trendsetters of Soho to stroll in, order a coffee, flip up a mirror, and prepare themselves for the day ahead. 1764 was the first time the word salon was introduced, but not as we know them today. It was an opulent room located within the mansions of Paris. Only the elite ladies of the time would be invited to the salon by the host, before or after dinner to indulge in the art of conversation, while powdering ones’ nose. A lavish living room for the enlightened few, it was game changing within the era. SALON64 has brought this concept back through cocktails, baristas, getting ready bars, firepits and more. This is the salon revolution. 

 

Do you think times are changing for the traditional salon? The salon as we know it is dead! The high street is changing in all industries and the hair industry, in my opinion, is the last to change its ways to keep up with this new trend. The public are looking for experience-based concepts to fit in with their busy lives, to work around their exciting lifestyles and challenge all preconceived ideas. New, fresh and exciting. From opening hours, to the services on offer, all has to be rethought and changed for the 21st century.  

SALON64 The Colouring Lab Photography ©Francesco Russo - www.russofrancesco.com

The salon décor is beautiful, where did you find inspiration for the interior design? Clients. Every time a client sits in my seat they would ask the same questions: 

  • Do you have a phone charger? 

  • Can my friend come with me for a catch up while my colour develops?

  • Could I stay behind and do my make-up? 

 

I couldn't understand why after all these years, no one had come up with a solution to the above questions. I very much believe in taking nothing for granted and questioning the way the industry is run and appears. Transformable bar tops lift to reveal mirrors, phone chargers, and work space underneath. Perfect for those wishing to indulge in the ultimate pre-drinks before an evening in Soho. 

 

Where most salon chairs awkwardly face large intimidating mirrors along the perimeter of the walls, SALON64's more social solution focuses all chairs in a circle, with an eye catching firepit at its core. Flexible working spaces allow mirrors to be as visible as you choose, which is ideal for those in groups.  Gone are the days of carrying around the world’s smallest mirror to do your make-up. Instead, SALON64's sensible solution of dressing room tables in the middle of Soho, for all to use. Combine all of the above, with at least two phone chargers in each section, and it’s a recipe for success. 

 

Which product is always with you? MR.SMITH Foundation never leaves my side. Much like foundation in the make-up sense, it prepares and primes the area for whatever style you are about to create. For those who struggle to keep curls in their hair, or even for those wanting a little more volume, this product is a lifesaver. Even better, a little goes a long way so one tube will last you a very long time.

 

 

SALON64 64 Stairs Photography ©Francesco Russo - www.russofrancesco.com

Colour trends we should know about for the new season… The SALON64 colour team and myself, sit down weekly to discuss current and forthcoming trends going on in the world of hair. Camilla Lund, Colourist at SALON64, says it’s less about subtle, delicate balayage and moving into spring/summer, all about big, bold, Bondi blonde! Other trends that we will be seeing more of is colour rose brown, styles braids, side partings and lots of accessories.

 

Favourite Soho spot for coffee? SALON64!!! There is only one spot for the best coffee in Soho and that has to be SALON64. A fully functioning coffee bar, we even have our own blend of SALON64 coffee beans. Farmed in Colombia, roasted in London and available for purchase in store. Weather choosing to takeaway, or drink in and use one of our transformable getting ready bars, this is the best coffee in Soho by far. 

 

Career highlight so far? From the team styling backstage on behalf of SALON64 at Paris Fashion Week, to celebrities and countless features on SALON64 London since the opening in October, we have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time. This said, the biggest career highlight for me isn't any of the glitz and glamour you would expect. I get the biggest kick and sense of achievement every time someone walks through our doors, orders a drink, sits at the bar and flips open a mirror to get themselves ready for the day. When such a sight has never before been seen, it’s lovely to see the public jumping straight in with this new idea and feel we really are becoming innovators of all things - beauty, hair and lifestyle. 

 

A tip for aspiring entrepreneurs? Don’t be inspired by your own industry. Although its great to see what others within your industry are up to, I wouldn't create your whole business plan based on this. Instead, get inspired by other industries and how you can implement what they may do so well into your own field. SALON64 are constantly looking at hotels, private members clubs, new restaurants and other signature London hot spots for our latest ideas. We want to lead the way within the hair and beauty world. 

 

Cut and blowdry at SALON64, from £77

14 Bateman Street, London, W1D 3AG, Salon64.co.uk     

 

Image: Victoria Metaxas aurora-stories.com

Image: Francesco Russo  russofrancesco.com

Image: Francesco Russo  russofrancesco.com

Image: Francesco Russo - russofrancesco.com