Here at Salons Direct, we love catching up with the most interesting experts from across the hair and beauty industries. We recently spent 5 minutes with Sarah McKenna, founder of Vixen and Blush – a London based salon that specialises in sourcing and fitting high-quality hair extensions.
Having carved a reputation with popular social media influencers such as Sarah Ashcroft, we find out how Sarah got started in the business and her thoughts on where the industry is heading.
What is your first memory of appreciating/noticing really great hair?
Having been born in the 80s with straight mousy brown hair, I remember (even from a young age) noticing classmates who had naturally blonde or red hair with amazing waves or texture. There was a girl who had literally golden hair that came down to her waist and she could rock that 80s obsession with crimping like no one else! You always want what you don’t have. Little did I know that by my 20s I was experimenting with hair extensions and colour and could pretty much achieve any look I wanted.
When did you decide that the business of hair extensions was for you?
I moved to the UK (from Dublin) in 2008 and loved the new environment I found myself in. London is an amazing and inspiring place and I was soaking up new fashion, new experiences. I got hair extensions for the first time and I remember running around my flat from room to room because I was THAT excited about having long thick hair for the first time. That sense of an instant transformation was what I wanted to give to others. Within a month I was training and spending all of my waking hours researching how to make them better and just trying to find out more about what people really wanted from hair extensions.
What do you think has contributed to the success of Vixen and Blush?
I would never have started a brand if I didn’t find a good source of hair. The biggest reason for our success comes down to our hair supply. It took me three years to find a reliable source of Russian Virgin hair! The business has grown so fast within 5 years and I could not have done that without an amazing team. Team Vixen is highly-skilled and highly-motivated and any success is shared success.
How have influencers helped position your business as leaders in the field?
Even though what sets us apart is good-quality hair (which you can’t get across in an image!), visuals are always what people are drawn to. We love to show our transformations on social media, and working with influencers gets our work out there for people to see. It has an immediate and noticeable impact where we will receive phone calls specifically asking for a certain influencer’s exact service. I think we can be seen as leaders in the field because we put ourselves out there – we are always willing to do that next crazy transformation! Nothing scares us!
What advice can you give to anybody starting out in the business of hair extensions?
Don’t start out until you are confident about what you are offering. Do your research and prepare properly. I know from experience that a lot of companies selling hair make it seem like it is easy and that all you need is 1 day’s training. The reality is the skill itself, when done properly, takes time to perfect. And on top of that, you need to trial hair and make sure you’re confident with the product you are offering. My advice is go slow! Gain confidence and knowledge and then put yourself out there knowing you’re able to do a good job.
What is your career highlight to date?
For me, it’s a very personal highlight. It’s not about the outward success but actually it’s when I have a good catch up with a client that I would have first met 5 years ago. They usually reminisce about when they used to come to me in the tiny 1 chair salon in Clapham and I was working on my own and we both then marvel at how time passes and things change. Those moments are when I stop and take stock and are the highlight of my career.
Where do you find inspiration to keep Vixen and Blush fresh and innovative?
Mostly from my pure excitement about hair extensions! I have never fallen out of love with them. We do innovate what we do – we are always tweaking. I think we do it in response to our client’s demands; the more clients we see the more we learn about what they want and what suits them. I will always try to offer more and it’s always because of my drive to make hair extensions look 100% natural for all clients. Okay, so I’m obsessed!
What can we expect to see from Vixen and Blush throughout 2017 and beyond?
We have 2 salons in London where we offer permanent and clip in hair extensions. We will be selling clip in hair extensions online globally also. After that, we hope to open a training school and start to sell hair to individual hair extensionists and other salons. We hope to be able to share our expertise and present a better option to stylists or there who struggle to find a reliable source of hair.
Discover more from Vixen and Blush @vixenandblush