We love hearing about the different ways salons across the UK run their businesses. This week’s Salon Design of the Month is built on a more unique concept. Along with having stunning interiors, Hive + Co prides itself on collaboration and community, allowing freelancers to come together for one common cause.

We caught up with owner, Harley Somerville, to find out more…

How did Hive + Co begin?

After a year or so of being self-employed in the beauty industry, I wanted to create a unique space for other freelancers. I have always desired to own an eco-friendly salon for like-minded individuals and help them to grow their brands.

From this, I established Hive + Co in October 2019 in Aberdeen, Scotland. After an incredible first year, it became clear that we could expand to a bigger premise due to the high demand we had gained.

Hive + Co Salon

How did you decide upon the aesthetic of the salon?

I’m obsessed with monochrome and nature. I decided to combine a few different styles to the salon – modern, natural and Scandinavian with hints of industrial vintage. I like seeing a few styles come through as one size does not fit all. I see the interior as an insight into my own personality.

How do you stand out from your competitors?

Our branding + vision! I realised that there was a need for more spaces to support self-employed stylists and beauticians. I incorporated the word ‘collaborator’ into the brand because I wanted all the freelancers to be a part of the team, but still have the opportunity to focus on their own individual business. We are all collaborating on projects together and working within a collaborative salon space doing what we love. The salon is also used for yoga and selling local products such as skincare, art prints and candles. We don’t just want to collaborate with our team, but the great local community that we are apart of.

Our 3 C’s are community, collaboration and collective.

Hive + Co Salon

How do you think social media has influenced our industry?

Social media, especially Instagram and more recently Tik Tok, have changed the way our customers interact with us. They like to feel more involved with the day to day running and begins the scenes of the salon. We like to involve our clients in small decision making by running frequent polls on these platforms.

We constantly post different images on different backgrounds – which is a must in the fast-paced world of social media. Our customers love to see the variation and not just the same type or style of posts. Hive + Co social pages have always incorporated posting quotes, too – inspirational and motivational! We found our customers were coming in and talking about these posts and sharing them along with other local salons and self-employed specialists in our industry. Social media in the hair and beauty industry is one of the KEY factors to becoming established and most importantly… having a busy full diary!

Hive + Co

How do you keep up to date with the latest industry trends?

Instagram mainly because we follow a variety of hashtags and lots of industry leaders. Also, we like to try and create our own Hive + Co trends to try help evolve the industry – whether it is our promotion of freelance work or our photographs we like to switch up the game regularly.

What do you think makes a successful salon?

Minus the obvious such as a strong business plan, good marketing strategies and constant reviews the main 3 drivers for us are:

  • Strong internal communications & encouraging individuality
  • A strong team on the inside will always shine bright on the outside. We may all be running our own businesses within one space but we understand each other’s situations and we bond over something that we choose to do for ourselves.
  • It is knowing that trying to be individual is hard but we know that no one else is Hive + Co. No one has our team or has the same passion and drive as we do.

Being individual is as simple as being you.

Hive + Co Salon

What advice can you give to others wanting to open a salon?

To quote Nike ‘Just do it’ !

Whether you want it to be a small stand-alone salon with 2 members or a large 15+ team if you have the passion and enthusiasm you are already more than halfway there! Start with a basic business plan, look into funding and make lots of to-do lists. Most importantly though start small you can always grow and growth is beautiful to watch.

What can we expect from you in 2020 and beyond?

2020 for us has been an incredibly weird year – we opened in October 2019 and on 23rd March 2020 we closed for 4 months due to the national lockdown. Now we have moved to a larger premises with 3 new collaborators joining the team. This year for us and many others is a year of celebrating small victories and survival but also planning for the bigger future we all desire! In the future, we plan to expand nationally and remain focused on encouraging many other hair and beauty industry workers to make the brave and bold step to creating their own brand.

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