Salon design is becoming an ever-more important part of a salon’s success. We spoke to Emma MacNeill of Pixie Hair & Beauty, one of Glasgow’s hottest salons, to find out how she built a salon with image in mind…

1. How did Pixie start?

Having worked in hairdressing for over 15 years, I finally decided to take the plunge and start my own salon. I knew I wanted to be based in the West End of Glasgow so waited until the perfect location came up and went for it. At the time I felt that there were so many salons in Glasgow that looked like each other; the same décor, chairs, products and hairstyles being created.

“I knew I wanted my salon to stand out, somewhere that would be Instagrammable and a place to experiment.”

2. How did you decide upon the aesthetic of the salon?

I worked with an amazing interior designer, Kabe Design. There were two elements that I wanted to include in the interior, a retro pendant made from hairdryers and my brother Roderick MacNeill’s artwork.

I met with Kabe and we came up with the name first. I have a love of all things 60’s inspired; that’s where Pixie came from as it is a very famous hairstyle from the era, the Pixie Cut. Once the logo was designed, it had a futuristic 80’s feel to it, with bold colours and neon influences, which we then ran through the salon. We looked at current/future trends and decided to incorporate them:

  • Industrial concrete trend
  • What was at the time a new look neon/80s revival
  • Angular textures & prints

With the bold colours, prints and lighting coming together on the inside, we then turned our focus to the exterior. With such a clean bright interior, we felt the large windows had to be framed with one of the strong brand colours that would make the interior pop. As the logo was designed with a neon blue triangle and white font, it worked well on the pink background, which led us to use the pink for the exterior of the salon.

Pixie Hair & Beauty Glasgow window

Continuing the 80s retro neon brand was very important as consistency is key to attracting the right type of client. We recognised that Dumbarton Road in Glasgow is a busy street full of other salons, retailers and restaurants, so we knew Pixie had to stand out from the many signs and doors repeated along the street. We created an exterior design that would attract attention not just during the day, with bright pink walls, but at night, with two light neon signs.

“My main tip for anyone designing a salon is consistency. Your premises is an extension of your website, social media, marketing material etc. It has to reinforce your brand as well as create impact at a glance so that it remains memorable and easily recognisable to potential clients.”

3. How does Pixie stand out from its competitors?

We pride ourselves in being a very down-to-earth friendly bunch. I find that other well designed salons can sometimes make clients feel intimidated. Staff can come across rude and are there to pose instead of actually work. We love our clients to have an enjoyable experience from the moment they step into the salon. We want everyone to feel special, to leave feeling pampered and looking forward to their next visit.

4. How do you think social media has influenced our industry?

Massively! Having been a hairdresser for over 15 years I have seen so many changes in how we promote our business, but the introduction of social media has without a doubt been the most impactful.

Our daily routine revolves around creating content for social media. Our Facebook and Instagram is a second shop window by giving new and current clients a daily insight into our business. It allows us to showcase new trends and styles, promotions and products. Our clients also use social media to inspire them. 80% of my clients will show me an image they have saved from social media that they would like me to recreate on them.

Related: Social Media Marketing for Salons | Creating a Successful Facebook Page for your Salon

5. How does Pixie keep up to date with the latest industry trends?

Social media again plays a large part in being able to keep up to date with the latest trends. We make sure that we are following influential celebrities, hair stylists and influencers as well as subscribe to industry publications and read blogs like this one to find out about product innovations and launches. It is also essential to continue to update your skill set, myself and my team regularly attend training courses and watch webinars to ensure we stay ahead of the game.

Pixie Hair & Beauty Salon Glasgow pink shop exterior

6. What is Pixie’s biggest achievement to date?

We were recently selected by Not Another Salon to host them for the day. Sophia and her talented stylists were hosting a masterclass in Glasgow and needed to use a salon to prepare all of their models ahead of the show. I am a massive fan of Sophia and Not Another Salon, and jumped at the chance to welcome them to Pixie. I was delighted that they picked Pixie over so many other salons who had offered their space to them.

I also feel to still be in business three years on is a massive achievement, I have seen so many salons open and shut within a matter of years, competition in Glasgow is fierce with lots of talented stylists and colourists in the city. I am grateful for every day, making new and old customers feel good.

Related: Salon Design of the Month: Not Another Salon | Ask the Expert: Sophia Hilton

Pixie Hair & Beauty Salon Glasgow interior art on wall

7. What do you think makes a successful salon?

Lots of hard work! In this day and age it isn’t enough purely to be good at doing hair, a successful salon requires lots of elements all running in harmony together. Talented staff, a good location, a social media-worthy interior, competitive pricing and consistency – find your look, style and voice and stick to it.

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

Do it! If you have a passion for hair or beauty and the drive to succeed the rest will fall into place (but also maybe take a small business course first!) Keep on top of the latest trends and upskill yourself with the latest techniques. Social media is key, find your style and tone of voice, and smash it.

9. What can we expect from you in 2019 and beyond?

Lots more creations, partnerships and launches. We love collaborating and are in the midst of planning some exciting events for 2019.

10. What are some of your favourite products and tools to use in the salon?

Related: Spotlight on Parlux Alyon Hair Dryers

Pixie Hair & Beauty Glasgow salon products

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Take a look at our full Salon Design of the Month series for more salon interior advice and inspiration.