Crouch End hair salon reopens with first appointments auctioned for NHS
- Credit: Archant
James Lefevre at Crown London raised £1300 to give free haircut vouchers for frontline workers, and took nearly 100 bookings in the first 25 minutes
Haircuts - or the lack of them - have been the talk of lockdown, with desperate customers waiting impatiently for salons to reopen.
So Jay Lefevre, whose Crouch End salon Crown London reopens on July 4, auctioned off his first precious slots to fund haircuts for frontline workers.
Five lots, from a cut and colour, to the chance to have the salon to yourself, raised £1300 which he will convert into haircut vouchers for NHS staff.
And when he opened appointments to the public this week, he took 98 bookings in 25 minutes.
“I wanted to raise money for the people on the frontline, preferably nurses and staff at our local hospitals The Whittington and Barnet Hospitals, who really need that break and reward,” he says.
“I’m just trying to work out how to make sure they get to the people who really need them.”
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Lefevre opened the independent salon four years ago, building the business from four chairs to eight with a team of eight.
“We will continue the scheme so people coming to the salon in July can donate on top of their bill or gift a haircut outright,” he adds.
He’s taken time during lockdown to revamp the salon, including smart a new sign by local artists. But to reopen safely he will have to take capacity down to four chairs, with staff wearing PPE, sanitizing between clients, and no magazines or complimentary drinks.
“When we first closed it was really unclear whether we would get help and I spent two weeks grieving for my business,” he says.
“But the furlough scheme and a £25,000 government grant gave me hope and lockdown has given me the time to paint the salon and make it look really nice for re-opening.”
Lefevre, who lives in N8, says it’s gratifying that locked-down Londoners trying DIY cuts have found a new appreciation for their hairdresses.
“I’ve had everything from requests to teach someone how to do a fringe online to people I didn’t know asking me to break the rules and cut their hair.
“It has been a highlight to walk around Ally Pally and see all these people with really bad hair.
“The cuts going around fall into three types; the skinhead all over buzz-cut, there’s a few mullets, and the women are wearing their hair up in different partings because it’s too long.”
Levefre is not lobbying to reopen sooner than July 4 and adds: “I’m happy to follow what the scienists say, there are no guidelines yet so I’m trying to get enough PPE, although it’s impossible to cut hair with gloves on.
“I think it will be keep washing hands, wear face masks, social distancing with people on every other chair, and sanitising every station, but I’d also like to create a positive atmosphere and an upbeat salon playlist - and try not to talk about coronovirus!”
His team, including resident pooch Roots, are firm members of The Crouch End Appreciation Society and keen to be part of the local scenery once again.
“I’m so glad I am here, the people are amazing, I can’t wait to reopen.”
Crown London 24 Park Rd, Crouch End, London N8.
Phone: 020 8340 5055