brooks and brooks feature

Sometimes it takes the power of two to bring something fantastic to a hairdressing business.

This dynamic duo leadership style is exactly how Sally and Jamie Brooks of the Brooks and Brooks salon, London have carved their reputation within the business of hair.

Here, we speak to Sally and Jamie to learn more about how working as a power couple benefits business and how they keep up to date with the latest trends.

What is it like working with your ex-husband?

Sally Brooks

Sally: We are the best of friends and really try to support each other in everything we do. It’s always good to have someone to bounce ideas off and have a moan to, but what makes it work really well is that we know each other inside out.  Then we both go home to partners that don’t have to listen about work, so it’s the perfect relationship.

Jamie Brooks

How do you separate your business and personal life?

Jamie:  I have two children so that makes me compartmentalise my life and focus on family when I’m at home. Down-time away from work is really healthy and we have a great team that lead the salon when we’re not there.

Related: When is the right time to promote your staff?

Sally: Having a young team is a bit like having children, you are always connected to the business even when you are away. But it’s important to have a healthy work/life balance. I have two puppies and that’s just like having children and just as demanding!

Brooks and Brooks Hair

Brooks and Brooks Hair

The Brooks & Brooks salon is a 3 time winner of the prestigious ‘London Hairdresser of the Year.’ Tell us more about how Brooks & Brooks started?

Jamie: It actually started really quickly – it was an idea and then it all happened in the space of three months. It was never an ambition to have a salon but sometimes you have to go with a gut instinct and take the risk.

Sally: I am a great believer that you should never try to change the company you work for as they are the ones who are taking all the risks running a business. So if you have your own ideas, then go for it and do it your way.

How does Brooks & Brooks keep up to date with the latest trends within the industry?

Jamie: We have a team of very different people that work for us; some are interested in fashion,  some in the session world and some are just super-normal with normal lives who love to go home and watch reality TV. However, the mix of personalities and interests is what works. We do a lot of team events where we share ideas and everyone talks about their interests.

Sally: Nowadays there is no excuse not to know what is going on with trends on the catwalks, celebrities and the street thanks to social media. Instagram has everything you need in one place and should be the go-to for all hairdressers.

Related: How to attract new clients through social media

What do you think makes a successful salon?

Jamie: The team and the mutual respect they have for each other. It’s important to find out what is important to each individual so you can grow and develop them in the way that suits them. Also, you have to remember the most important person in the salon isn’t you, but the client. Without them, there is no salon.

Sally: The best advice I ever got was when I worked with Trevor Sorbie. I had just been promoted to artistic director and I spent weeks writing a list of things I wanted to change. When I presented it to him he simply said: “Anyone can write a list.” It’s not about saying you are going to do something, it’s about actually doing it.  

What is one misconception people may have about being a salon owner?

Sally: That you don’t have to work hard.  You might have more flexibility of working hours when your company is established, but the hard work never stops because as the owner, the buck stops with you.

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What have you found hardest about opening/running a salon?

Jamie: Having one salon has its good and bad points.  It means you can talk with your team and that you are hands-on with their training and development. However, it also means that as people grow you don’t have enough space for people to grow into.

What is your favourite aspect of running a salon?

Sally: Working with people you really like – and being in charge of your own destiny. There’s nothing better than being able to say no without being questioned.

How have you remained innovative?

Jamie: If you love this industry and you have a creative mind you will always be innovative. There is so much talent out there it’s infectious – if someone does something amazing it puts a fire in your belly. As a salon owner, you must be innovative to get the most out of your team – a good art director is constantly pushing their team and working with them to bring out the best in them. Innovation comes naturally when you have a team that wants to be the best.

What inspires you to continue with your craft?

Sally: Evolution – the industry changes all the time with new innovations and challenges so you can never sit still. There is still so much to try and so much to do – so little time and so many avenues. Who wouldn’t want to keep trying new things?

Follow Brooks and Brooks on Instagram @brookshair

Time for more Ask The Expert? Disover: Patrick Wilson | Sarah McKenna | Cynthia Chua