In this edition of ‘Salon Spotlight,’ we catch up with the co-founders behind Linton & Mac. Created by Jennifer Linton and Joanna MacDonald, the fashion-forward salon based in Aberdeen is comprised of a creative team bringing clients fresh, innovative hairdressing.

What are your first memories of appreciating/noticing really great hair?

In 2011, we were working together at Ishoka and both went to see Hooker and Young on stage. Their work was incredible and we both got very excited about what they created. That was definitely a pivotal – and inspirational –moment for us.

When did you both decide that working within the business of hair was going to be a full-time profession?

Jenn – when I started in the industry as a Saturday girl at 15-years-old; I instantly knew it was for me.

Jaye – when I dropped out of University, where I was studying Property. I had always loved hair and decided to embark on a totally new career – and never looked back!

How did you first enter into your business partnership?

We had worked together previously, so we already knew we both shared the same passion and vision, but it wasn’t until we met over a glass of wine, two years’ later, and started discussing our ideas and dream salon that we realised we could really venture into a partnership and create something exciting.

What is one thing you wish that you had both been told before embarking on a professional career in hairdressing?

That it’s not always as glamorous as you think – there’s an incredible amount of hard work and sacrifice involved – but it’s worth all of it.

Tell us more about your focus on education and training staff?

At Linton & Mac we never get complacent and are always looking to grow. Our team plays a huge part in how we deliver a high-quality service and enhance the customer experience and staff training is essential in helping to achieve this, and is a crucial factor in upholding our salon’s service, business and reputation. Our team truly are testament to our success; we continually invest in them educationally, and as a result, they have helped us scoop a total of twelve high-profile business and industry accolades since we opened in 2015, including the 2017 L’Oréal Colour Trophy and the 2018 Hair Awards Best Regional Salon in Scotland, proving that investment pays!  

How do you think social media has shaped the industry you are a part of?

Our industry is inherently visual, and, as a result, it lends itself very well to being showcased on social media. It also opens doors and gives those starting out in the industry accessibility to iconic hairdressers, while allowing everyone to communicate so much more. For us, social media has been invaluable: we made a conscious effort from day one to make sure our social media wasn’t just about the salon and our team of 30. We are very active, both in the industry and outside of hairdressing, engaging in events, exhibitions and business seminars that interest us and spark our creativity. Much of this is detailed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as our blog – The Low Down. We feel this injects our personality into what we do, that it isn’t all about business and gaining new clients, but instead about us as business owners, as friends, as real people, and that authenticity has been really important to us from the start, allowing us to grow and flourish in so many ways.

Where do you find inspiration to keep your hairdressing fresh and innovative?

We are very active people, both industry wise and socially, and are always on the move, educating or visiting shows and exhibitions, both in the UK and overseas, so we are often inspired by meeting and networking with like-minded people. We collaborate with manufacturers that we believe fuel the industry, which is also inspiring, as are our team. We love watching them passionately create hair in the salon every day.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to stylists just starting out in the hair business?

Work hard and train harder. This isn’t a part-time industry and you really do get back what you put in. Immerse yourself in the world of hair; don’t be afraid to ask questions; look, listen and learn; don’t get complacent and continually connect and network with other like-minded hairdressers as you never know what those connections might bring.

What do you think has contributed to the success of your salon?

Taking the leap into business was the hardest decision for us, however, the past three years have been a whirlwind, and have proved that if you have the right offering in place and really listen to your clients’ – and teams – wants and needs, you can really make it work. While we may not have had as much business experience as many of our peers, what we did possess was the ability to look at things from a fresh perspective and this, alongside our drive, determination and creating a passionate working environment, has proven to be a winning formula.

How did you decide upon the aesthetic of the salon?

We wanted to be different, and our initial aim was to bring a touch of London and NYC-loft inspired style to Aberdeen, which we did by choosing a very industrial 1,690 sq ft space that had a studio feel, with high ceilings and exposed brickwork and pipes. We’ve got 15 styling stations in total and wanted our furniture to be very classic, simple and Scandi-inspired. We also injected our personality into the salon and now have our name in (neon) lights, with a navy reception desk, industrial product shelves housing a range of gorgeous products in an organic, plant-filled space, and the odd flamingo dotted around too – incorporating stand out features and a mix of what we both love and makes us happy.

What are some of your favourite tools or products to use?

We LOVE the Windle & Moodie WAM Revolving Curling Iron – this is our ultimate favourite and is great for root lift. We’re also huge fans of Kevin Murphy’s styling range – particularly – a super lightweight texturising hairspray for sexy, tousled, post-nap hair. 

Where do you see the future of hairdressing heading?

For us, the industry seems to be moving in a more collaborative way, and we can only see this continuing. Knowledge really is power, and by combining ideas and ideology, we can all benefit and become stronger.

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