Here at Salons Direct we are constantly talking to stylists and salons across the UK to discover their very best advice when it comes to salon management, building a successful hairdressing brand and running a salon.
Here we catch up with Sean Hanna to find out more about his hairdressing career whilst discovering more about the creative direction and interior of his seanhanna salon based in Sutton, Surrey
What do you think are the attributes that make a successful salon?
Education. I have always believed that education underpins everything we do. We have our own advanced academy and all of our team undergo regular training. It’s important to understand that hair trends, products and techniques are changing all the time so it really is vital that we teach accordingly to provide the best knowledge to our staff and therefore the best service to our clients.
What inspired you to create a salon with an interior as distinctive as the Sutton salon’s?
We wanted something that was unique to us and not the same as other salons. We were inspired by the likes of Abercrombie and Fitch where the interiors were darker but we upped the level of lighting so that it’s not as extreme but still unlike a typical high street salon. Additionally, the furniture we have is bespokely designed for us which adds an extra touch of authenticity to our salons.
How has the business evolved?
We’re 35 years old next year and the business has changed many times. We opened our first salon in Worcester Park in 1981 and now have 8 salons across the UK based in London, Bristol and Cambridge. Throughout this time we have won tons of awards and have presented hair shows all across the globe. Over the years, we have always aimed to create a space that our team feel inspired to work in and our clients feel comfortable in so we’ve adapted to meet those needs.
How does seanhanna keep up to date with new hair trends?
Luckily we get to work all over the world presenting the best UK trends and styles so we are a natural part of what is ‘happening’ in the UK hairdressing scene. Our Session Director and partner in our Sutton salon is Yesmin O’Brien, and as well as looking after a busy high profile clientele, she works on many of the main fashion weeks including London, Paris, Milan and Rome.
How do you think The seanhanna Sutton salon stands apart from it’s competitors?
The salon is great – it has a fresh, modern feel and is quite distinctive. The high ceilings make it feel airy and the massaging backwash units give clients a sense of luxury. But most importantly, it’s the team that really make it stand out.
How do you see the business of hairdressing evolving over the next decade or so?
Clients are definitely changing as they’re becoming more time conscious and knowledgeable about what they want, so our business will change to reflect this. As people are becoming much more involved with technology, things like online booking are becoming more important. Clients want to be able to book when it’s convenient for them.
Also, with the prolific use of social media, someone can have a great hairstyle here in London, post it on their Instagram and their best friend in LA sees it, loves it and is taking it into their salon – suddenly a new style is transglobal. This is happening all the time now so whatever evolves in terms of fashion or trends, it’s happening faster than anyone could have imagined.
What can we expect from the Sutton salon / seanhanna in 2017?
This autumn we are focusing on balayage, which is currently one of our most popular colour techniques. In early 2017 we are going to run a campaign on hair and scalp condition. A healthy scalp helps us to have good, strong hair yet not many people know much about this.
As a result, we will be offering a free hair and scalp analysis to all of our clients throughout February and March. This is something I’m really looking forward to and I think our clients will love it.
Who has been the driving force behind the success of the Sutton salon?
As mentioned earlier, we have a great team in our Sutton salon. Many of our team there have been with us for around 10 years but the special thing about Sutton is that it’s where Yesmin O’Brien is based. We have worked together for over 25 years and she is one of the most highly respected hairdressers in the UK.
She is a global session hairdresser as well as being an advanced educator for both L’Oreal and GHD. She brings so much creativity into the salon which is awesome for everyone.
How do you stay innovative and competitive within the Greater London salon scene?
We have always stayed true to our core values. We’re aware and respectful of other salons but we always do our own thing. We constantly come up with new innovations in both cut and colour. Our signature cuts are designed exclusively for our clients and our creative team teach them all over the world.
Unlike many salon groups of our size, we are not owned by accountants, we are all hairdressers. Although it is a business, our passion has always been the hairdressing. I love it as much today as the day I first started out as a trainee in King’s Road in Chelsea.
What makes a great salon experience for a client?
There are many types of experiences that can work for different types of clients. For me personally, I always aim to create a balance of friendliness and professionalism within the salon. I want clients to have the best advice possible. Each head of hair is unique and what works for one person may be a nightmare for someone else. A good hairdresser should be able to interpret what a client wants and also what could work with their hair type.
I think it takes a while to build a relationship with a hairdresser or a brand, yet we have tons of clients that have been with us for years – even some from when we first opened in 1981! Clients who may have come to see me in the early years now visit other stylists in my team. They believe in my team and know that I am still passionate about making sure they consistently deliver an excellent experience.
For more on the seanhanna salons HEAD OVER TO THEIR WEBSITE
If you are looking at restyling your salon, make sure you check out our extensive range of LOTUS FURNITURE
Credits for model imagery
Hair: Yesmin O’Brien – Session Director – seanhanna Sutton
Photography: Desmond Murray
Styling: Bernard Connolly
Make up : Irena Rogers