Hair salon: Simon Warwick, Little Venice
- Credit: Archant
The independent salon gives West End service and quality in a neighbourhood setting and is loved by the locals
Simon Warwick has been a familiar sight among Maida Vale’s independent traders for nearly 14 years.
The stylist was working at Nicky Clarke’s in Mayfair when he decided to set up his own salon with his name above the door.
“When I looked around Little Venice, in my eyes it was like a mini Mayfair,” he tells me as he combs through my knotted hair pre-cut.
When he opened his salon on Clifton Road in 2005 he hoped to bring a touch of that exclusive enclave to W9.
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“I wanted to give the customers the same fantastic service from staff who had worked at Sassoon or Michaeljohn but at a more local salon.
“To save people from travelling to the West End to get the same feel and quality.”
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Many of the stylists who helped him start the business are still there, and there’s a strong family and community atmosphere as regulars of all ages, from kids to pensioners start arriving for their cuts and colours.
Some travel from afar, but around 70percent are locals, supporting their neighbourhood salon.
Ever vigilant about maintaining standards, Warwick is planning to renovate in the New Year, starting with sprucing up the downstairs room to increase capacity.
“We would like to grow the business and there’s room here to do it,” he says as he puts the finishing touches to a shorter, more manageable style with an elegant finish.
Colourist Lily Bunting-Branch had already worked her magic with expert balayage – a technique that involves painting on the colour to give a more natural effect and subtler regrowth.
Not only had she madeover my dull outgrown highlights with blonde tones, but she’s full of ideas to bring more customers to Little Venice.
Her watchword is using the most effective colours while minimising the most harmful chemicals – PPDs apparently - to give the best results.
She also specialises in contemporary perms, not the backcombed bubble horror shows of the 80s but subtler waves using gentler formulas that wash out in three months. Judging by her own style it’s a great look.
“It was always important for me to create a professional but family atmosphere where people get the service and are looked after but don’t feel intimidated – it can feel a bit like that when you walk into a West End salon,” says Warwick, who considered becoming a mechanic before switching to hairdressing.
“I have been blessed with amazing, talented staff, and the nice thing about the clients is they come through choice.
“If they wanted to go into town they could but they keep coming back. We understand that we are dealing with the most important thing about someone.
“If you buy a jumper you hate you aren’t stuck with it in the way you are if your hair goes wrong. You don’t pay for a haircut you pay to look good.”
As I walked out into Maida Vale with a warm glow and sleek cut, I couldn’t agree more.
Simon Warwick 34 Clifton Rd, Little Venice, London W9. simonwarwicksalons.co.uk