Far from the name suggests, Butchers Salon is home to hair extraordinaires Susannah Jones and Katie Knox, whose mission is to rid the world of mind-numbing hairstyles. They burst onto Hackney Road in the heart of Shoreditch just over a year and a half ago when they decided to collaborate, and in that time have amassed a loyal following of stylish creatives, tending the locks of local East Londoners and crafting hairstyles for the likes of Hong Kong Tatler and Hunger TV.
The thing that sets Butchers apart in a sea of independent salons is their dedication to creative ventures and support of emerging businesses. They have designated an area in-house purely to pop-ups where they invite likeminded brands to become part of their community, resulting in unique collaborations when compatible brands collide. Susannah tells us that “we didn’t want to just be a hair-based salon, but a whole creative space. We wanted it to be more of a centre for housing creatives and showcasing different talent, especially in the local area.”
Not only does this mean they can provide a platform for the rich talents of young East London brands – “a pop-up makes so much more sense for those who can’t afford a big unit just to test the water” – but also Butchers benefits as a business from these brand mash-ups. By creating another point of interest within the salon they both give their existing clients a dynamic and exciting reason to re-visit. They also increase their customer base with the additional following of the new brand. “We’ve had a lot of business generated from people interested in the pop-ups. We also become friends with everyone involved with the brand, who then come here with their friends and get their hair done.”
Founder of current in-house pop-up Facebar London, Nicola Fiveash, agrees that a positive difference between their previous location and this is the synergy between the brands. “Now we’re sharing a space with a fabulous hair salon our clients can have a blow dry as well.” The UK’s first professional makeup bar, Facebar London offers the services of experienced fashion industry makeup artists at much more attractive prices. Nicola explains that moving from their previous site on Redchurch Street, the brand wanted to remain close to their local customers as well as grow their reach even further. “Now we have a lot of returning clients as well as referrals from previous ones. Add all the amazing new Butchers clients and that’s a lot of beautiful faces!”
Busy from day one back in October, Facebar is permanently booked up at weekends with an ever-expanding East London following – discovering the area that works for them and iterating on that success has proved an effective business tactic and pop-up strategy. Nicola recommends to other brands thinking about a second pop-up: “don’t disappear. If the area you’ve been in is right for your business, stay close and keep building your customer base without losing the all ones you already have.” Ultimately, learn your strengths and build on them the next time.
Susannah also reveals that learning is a major part of the collaborative relationship that emerges between Butchers and the brands that appear in the salon. “It’s interactive – for a lot of the pop-ups we’ve been working with them as well and I think we’re always subconsciously giving advice. A brand will come to us with an concept and we go through different ideas together. It’s nice to think that we can teach in a sense – not that we thought we would be teaching! It’s exciting seeing them grow.”
This education works both ways. Not only does Butchers offer advice and expertise in conceptualising and branding the pop-up, they also gain something from each brand in a personal sense as well as a business one. “We’ve actually learned skills as well which is exciting. With Facebar we’ve all learned how to do our makeup. We also had a juice bar which was all about living a healthy lifestyle. We’re quite big on being eco friendly and ethical so now we can all make amazing juice.”
So what does the future hold for Butchers? “Now we have the amazing Tina Outen with us – she has her own salon in New York so we’re going to go over there to do a pop-up project. She has her own Tina Did It brand in here but we’re definitely open to more collaborations.” Susannah adds that they’ve been approached by major shoe and sportswear brands for in-house partnerships, and they are always on the lookout for the next exciting fashion project or standout creative concepts. Be that juice, makeup, fashion or hair, whatever business comes next will undoubtedly flourish in this collaborative playground of creativity.
If you think your brand would fit in with the Butchers family, head to their space listing to find out how to collaborate and to strike up a conversation with Susannah and Katie.