I am at Gina Conway Salons & Spas Wimbledon in a bid to find my perfect hairdresser match. I have been booked in with Jo who was highly recommended to me by a trusted friend and after reading a few reviews I realise Jo is not short of committed clients. It doesn’t take me long to see why. Our consultation feels like meeting up with an old friend. She has a lovely manner that makes me feel at home straight away and … I trust her. Yes I really do! Maybe she is going to be ‘The one’!
I have had a lot of hairdressers over the years. Yes, I have moved location quite a bit but I can’t excuse the fact that I been known to change hairdresser rather frequently and for no apparent reason. Maybe I just haven’t clicked with any of them enough to keep going back. But I can’t help feeling that I am somehow missing out on something rather special.
Most of my friends have managed to find a hairdresser who is ‘their’ hairdresser. ‘The one’. A trusted and sacred person who has cut their locks for years. They remember their short bob, helped them grow out a fringe and seen their first grey hair appear. This hairdresser relationship means that they will travel miles for an appointment and book in with them months in advance. So how come I have never found ‘the one’ when it comes to hair stylists? Have I just been unlucky or have I never booked frequently enough to let a hairdressing relationship blossom?
But finding ‘the one’ hairdresser isn’t JUST about how they cut your hair. No, no, no. There is, in my opinion, 3 fundamental areas which a great stylist will have in addition to being good at the scissor part.
They have to listen. Really listen. To you, not the ibiza mix beats in the background or their fellow stylists chit-chat. A good listener will always make a better hairdresser. Not just because you won’t end up with a bob unexpectedly. But because at the end of the day listening helps you, as their client, feel understood and feel valued. Dare I say, feel loved. So you walk out the salon with that added glow.
Now, this is a very important one. A great stylist makes you feel like you are their only client (at that moment anyway). I have been in many a situation with a mop of wet butterfly clipped hair covering half my face and no stylist. Where is the stylist? With another client that’s where! The outrage! The insult! There needs to be a solid commitment from your hairdresser that their attention is fully on you and no one else
It’s terribly difficult to say to a hairstylist (or anyone for that matter) ‘sorry but I’m not in the mood for talking right now’. So if you have a chatty hairdresser and all you want to do is bury your head in a gossip magazine for 30 minutes it won’t make for the best coupling. A great hairstylist will recognise the social clues which lets them know what mood you are in and take your lead in the conversation. Happy to chat, happy to listen, happy to just stay silent.
And it is little surprise to me that Jo has all of the above and more. She tells me she has been at GC wimbledon for close to 10 years and with that much experience in one salon there is no wonder how she has been able to build such a great many clients who don’t want to go anywhere else. Jo mentioned that even one of her clients lives in Hong Kong and come back to have their cut with Jo time and time again. Now that is dedication!
Gina Conway salons are renowned for giving their clients a first class service with added extras such as a complimentary mini treatment before your haircut to make you feel even more pampered and relaxed. The salon is calmly decorated with muted tones, darks woods and has beautiful glass house plants adorning the countertops. The salon is spacious and you don’t feel too close to anyone else having a cut or treatment. So much so that if you wanted to talk about something very private it would indeed be possible. This place feels ‘just right’. And I can’t help thinking that the salon is designed that way. To make sure that every client can connect with their stylist and work towards building the bond of ‘the one’ hairdresser.
Well, I am sold. I think I may have found ‘the one’ and can’t wait for my next appointment!
Jo Rooks, Designer and Illustrator