I know many of our lovely clients have been thoroughly enjoying the constant stream of changes over the last 12 months; it’s been very exciting and almost as though we have started from scratch! We are really grateful to their patience as they stuck with us as we went through every service, room, product and solution with a fine tooth comb to ensure that it really matched our ‘Espiritu Ethos‘. I know their stock question each time they arrived has been ‘So what’s changed now?’!!
So what has changed? Here is a quick summary to entice you to pop in if you’ve missed all the fun!
Private Room (Grace Kelly)
We snuck in a whole new room for private hair cuts, for those clients that need a little privacy or find the noise of the hair dryers too stressful. It’s perfect for Weddings, when the bride decides she would prefer to pop out for her hair and makeup, instead of have us visit her on location. (All haircuts using this room need to be booked in advance).
It also seconds as the Tanning room; we love a spray tan, but are less keen on it spraying all over our beautiful vintage dressers 😉
Most importantly it makes for a useful extra beauty room, now that the beauty and spa area has grown so much!
What a breath of fresh air Aromaworks has been! The products arrived in November 2014 and immediately the Spa services sky rocketed. Within a few short months they asked us to become their Flagship Spa, acknowledging our commitment to excellence, service and providing gorgeous, natural, effective products to our customers. It was a huge honour, and we can’t thank them enough for all their support over the last year.
With a much larger Spa team for 2016, this area will be growing massively and we will be able to meet the demand and reduce the waiting lists at last.
Pamper & Polish
We realised that Pedicure clients tend to like a little peace and quiet, whereas Manicure clients tend to chat a little more. So we we created a new ‘Polish and Pamper’ area with an extra manicure desk by adding not just a new wall, but a beautiful arch covered in buttons. This created the ….
The Greta Garbo Lounge
The ‘Fabulous room’ has become a chill zone, and is now called the Greta Garbo lounge, entrusted to Pedicures, Luxury manicures, Small Parties and a quiet cup of herbal tea after your Spa treatment. It is a harbour in a storm after the busy lives we all live.
The Kitchen Moved
Oh yes, we don’t do things by half! There is a lovely new Kitchen up by the reception desk to reduce the throughput through down the corridor to the new Spa area. There is also a door to the corridor, to help reduce the noise of the hairdryers filtering down. Strangely, rather than make the reception area feel smaller, it now feels much cosier and welcoming.
Oh and the ‘Borrow Corner’ is back, with lovely books for you to read while you are with us, Hair magazines, and toys/lego for the children to play with.
Barber Area & Salon
So what happened to the Barber area you ask? Well, we realised that we are not the type of salon for a colour only area, and we won’t be adding more hair stations as once considered, so that gave us lots of room for manoeuvre. The Barber chair is now near the window on the opposite side of reception, and the styling units have angled round to give a more open, welcoming feel to the salon.
With the beauty area becoming busier, we’ll be able to use the barber chair for quick eyebrow threads, quick 15min facials and of course it is still the Children’s favourite!
For the time being we are not offering wet shaves, sorry gents! But they are planned to return in 2016!
New Beauty Room
This created a much needed new beauty room; the Sophia Loren. We’ve replaced our wax system with Waxperts, which is giving much improved results, and have upgraded all facial and intimate waxing to the use of hot wax only to ensure we protect your sensitive skin and give better precision.
Of course all this change, this has meant some more difficult changes at the end of 2014, and therefore for those customers who haven’t popped in for a while won’t recognise many faces. We’ve had a wonderful 18months with Kirsty who was promoted to Spa manager, but she is off to gorgeous pastures new in Cumbria; we are hugely grateful to her for her input which carried us through such a busy time. The wonderfully yummy Natalie is off for a while on maternity leave, but will be back, don’t you worry!
We have a new Salon Manager (we were very lucky to persuade the gorgeous Becky to join us), but there is no ‘Hierarchy’ here. Instead there is a system of support where the less experienced staff help reduce the load on the more experienced and therefore more busy staff, who in return repay their help with passing on all their knowledge, skills, hints and tips. And they all take very good care of me <3
Our new team is so amazing that you will feel right at home straight away. I count my lucky stars every time I walk into the salon. These girls truly understand our commitment to customer service and excellence, plus you can feel the support system they have created amongst themselves. Plus their skill level and flexibility means that we now have much more availability for all the different services that we offer.
To be so new, we would never have expected to be winning awards already. So imagine our delight when we won Best Hertfordshire Beauty Salon and ALSO Hair Salon in the Muddy Stilletoes Small Business awards. Apparently we missed out on Best Day Spa by just a couple of votes to Sopwell House (just wait until next year!!).
Then we won Phorest’s ‘Customer Excellence’ award for all the reviews that we receive from our clients – apparently only 2% of salons receive this award, so big thank you’s to our clients for taking the time out to let us know what they think of their experiences!
Battlers Green Farm
Even the shopping village has changed. We said goodbye to one of the Interiors shops and gained a ‘Physio Zone’ next to CycleZone. Osprey Outlook store arrived (one of my big favourites, so I have to hold myself back from going in too often!) and coming in 2016 is a New Restaurant.
The monthly Farmer’s Markets have been a big hit, creating a lovely buzz around the farm and they put on the ‘Music on the Farm’ festival for charity, which we thoroughly enjoyed and managed to raise a resounding £300 with ‘Pampers for charity’ on the night.
Our promotions have been simplified a little, but those we have are packed full of value:
– 10% rebooking discount is still there of course!
– 1/2 price colour with a cut on Colour Club days is very popular!
– 20% Introductory Discount
– Share the love and we reward your friend with a 25% discount and you £10 off your next service
– Mummy Mondays moved to Wed and is now back to Monday for 2016
– And we have some lovely Product Promotions too
No Spa is truly a Spa until it has a pile of enticing Spa packages for you! There are rewards for our regulars and early birders, and special pampers for the pregnant ladies in your life. Of course tea and cake is still a popular choice with our Fabulous Friends or Double the Spa packages. There are combos with hair, beauty and other spa services to make the ultimate treats. Then reminders to take home for the family to enjoy and treats for Mums and daughters.
Want to bring more than 1 friend with you for a pamper or perhaps you need ideas for a hen party? Or maybe you’d like to throw a pamper party for your Teen or Little Lady? Check out our gorgeous Party choices with lots of lovely ideas.
Lates, Sundays & Mondays
Gradually we have been extending our hours and days. First came late Tues to 8pm to match Thursday, which is now 9pm as of Feb 1st 2016. Then we reopened on Sunday WITH beauty/spa this time and it will be extended to 9-5pm from Jan 2016. We are finishing the year by extending Wed and Friday to 7pm. Finally Mummy Monday is returning which is very exciting. So we will be open 7 days a week!
Hair and Beauty Therapists
At the beginning of the year we started an experiment to see if it was possible to have team members who could do both hair and beauty. It’s turned out to be a resounding success, so it will be something that we will keep doing. How lovely to be able to have your massage or manicure with the same girl who then does your blow dry! The remaining stylists were feeling a little left out, so have been trained in manicures and makeup, so they’ll get the fun of doing the ‘Girls Night Out’ pamper parties and packages.
New Levels in Beauty
To highlight the difference in years of experience and offer different price points there are now 2 levels of pricing in beauty: Beauty Therapist, Spa/Senior Therapist.
We also have new uniforms for the girls who combine hair and beauty services. They have attractive grey uniforms that they can pop on for their beauty services and remove for their hair services.
Oh it’s been a long journey to find a colour with no nasty chemicals, that can also actually cover grey. But at last we have found one! It’s created by Keratin Complex (a sister company to Unite), and is not only PPD free (that’s what tends to cause all the allergic reactions), but is full of Keratin to improve the quality and shine of all our customers hair. Our stylists (a cynical bunch normally when it comes to new products), were jumping up and down with excitement to use their new bleach and have had fantastic results. The full range will be arriving at the beginning of 2016 and replacing our Wella range.
We also now have Olaplex which fixes heat or colour damaged hair from the inside (rather than covering the damage in a layer of silicone, which actually increases the problem, often literally melting the hair from the inside) and is changing industry dramatically.
Unite have asked us to potentially become a training hub and centre of excellence for them in 2016, which is another huge honour and really exciting.
New Colour Levels
The quality of the colour that you receive from us will always be the same, however there is a difference between the stylists that ask for advice (very much encouraged) and those that don’t need any input. Therefore we have 2 levels for colour from now on: Technician and Specialist.
We will also always have 2 stylists involved in every colour correction plan and bring in a new special colour consultation discussion and form for new clients.
New Stylist Titles
The concept of our 3 levels of stylist sounded good: ‘Graduate’ i.e. New, ‘Stylist’ i.e. can cut all types of hair and ‘Master’ for nervous customers. But then we realised that as they are also standard hair names, it meant that it confused comparisons with other salons. So we now call them ‘Stylist’, ‘Expert’, ‘Top’ and have a new ‘Manager’ level. (‘Manager’ is to take into account that Becky has less availablilty). Whilst we did this, the gorgeous Wendy was being promoted to ‘Top’ level to recognise her years of experience, skills and talent.
Having been open for 20months, we had to make a few minor adjustments to the pricing levels, especially as now knowing the market and the competition we face, we realise that there are some mistakes to be rectified. We spent 2 months working into the early hours, looking at the prices, working out options for regular customers who this might affect and making sure that the changes are spread as evenly as possible.
Remember there is the rebooking discount, packages, and great team members at all levels of the pricing structure; so there is something for everyone.
For 2016 there will be a change within the Spa pricing structure. We will be offering the Beauty Therapists to do the Aromaworks Facials and Massages, but at a much reduced price (£5-£10). They make a great option for someone who doesn’t need the many years of Spa experience of our more senior therapists.
We have added some exciting new services over the last 6 months, all still with our 100% guarantee of a fix or refund if you aren’t totally satisfied:
- Spa Body Treatments and Facials – what’s the difference between a massage and a Spa massage? It’s the experience and pure yumminess of it. These facials and body treatments will take you to a whole other level of relaxation.
- Stress Buster Massages – you’ve got tense shoulders and neck, but don’t have the time for a full massage? Then a 15 min massage fully clothed, on a Shiatsu Massage chair is the perfect solution.
- Style&Go – A dry blow-dry, perfect for the party goer, or lady who doesn’t mind washing their hair, but struggles to control it and would like us to finish it off for her.
- GlamBlowDry – For those BIG Blow dries when you are after a glamourous or curly look, enabling us to book an extra 15mins to make it last.
- QuickBraid – A fun quick braid for a festival, night out or party (30mins max)
- Restyle – Extra time booked for the consultation for your restyle, so that you get the style you deserve and time during the service to adapt your ideas if you need.
- Parting – For when you just need those pesky greys/colour along the parting covered.
- Pre Lighten & Tone – for those ladies who love to be all over blonde.
- More Highlighting options – Short and Long options on half-head and full-head highlights, to enable us to give a better quality option that a ‘T Section’ and Regrowth and a maintenance option.
- Hair Extensions – have been back for some time, but I think I forgot to mention them, oops!
- Revarnish – A quick removal and varnish for those in a hurry; only 15 mins.
- Full Manicure – This is a 45 minute manicure, with a file, cuticle push back and paint. But leaving the massage and cuticle removal to the Deluxe manicure (60 mins).
- Quick Makeup – We don’t always need a full makeup that will last a whole day for a wedding. So instead we’ve added shorter ‘Quick and Fresh’, ‘Smokey Eye’, ‘Natural’ and ‘Vintage’ makeup services for you to choose.
- Hot Wax – All our intimate and facial waxing is now done only with hot wax because it protects the sensitive skin and enables us to be more precise.
- Threading & Electrolysis – Did you know we added these last summer? It’s possible that I didn’t shout enough about them at the time.
- Semi-permanent makeup came for a short time and was really popular. But with Monika’s move to Ireland, it has been put on hold for a couple of months until we find someone who is as skilled.
Did we have some Fun too?
We had a really chilled low key team event day with cake and bubbly, mediation and vision boards! Culminating in discovering that Becky is bizarrely bendy and we are never playing the cornflake pack game with her ever again! (She was also the winner of the bucking bronco at the Music on the Farm, but has bribed me to never show you the photos!).
In November we raised over £100 for Kids Like Fifi (a gorgeous little 18month old, whose Mum knows she is going to need so much help from Young Epilepsy that she is planning on raising a humungous amount for them. Aroma works and Unite kindly provide us with presents for a raffle, and we turned 5 lovely ladies hair purple so that they could raise more money through sponsorship.
We had a small Christmas party to thank a few of our clients, with live music and lots of pressie options, which went so well that we are going to make our parties a regular thing and invite everyone from now on. Keep your eyes on our news boards in the salon and Facebook, as they are going to be very fun!
Sadly in June my body rebelled against the level of change and late work nights and I was hit by a massive Fibromyalgia flare. So I have another huge thank you to the team who have managed the day to day running from June-Oct; how amazing are they! And thank you to all the kind clients who have asked after me, and are so welcoming when I do actually make it in.
I’m still frustratingly on a very slow recovery and not up to speed, but we’ve looked on it as a learning experience; i.e. use more project management and stop making so many changes all at once!
Jane Iredale Makeup
Last but not least we have brought in a fabulous new skincare makeup range by Jane Iredale – their mineral makeup was the original mineral makeup. It is a true mineral makeup, with no nasty additions to it, and will help to continue to heal and protect your skin after your normal skincare regime; it’s so good that we can put it on straight after facials. It’s very sparkly and pretty too!
To Come in 2016?
There are still lots of exciting changes to come, just at a slower pace than 2015:
- Laser Hair Removal using Soprano Ice (Feb 1st)
- NIR Facial skin tightening (Feb 1st)
- Online Booking
- Mummy Monday Coaching mornings
- New Eye lash options
- New Eyebrow extension options
- New Facial Peel range
- Treat/Loyalty Cards
- More regular blogs and vlogs
- Monthly SMS updates of important news
- Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter newsletter
- Charity of the Season
- Employee of the month
- More support for local authors & musicians
- Monthly hints & tips newsletter
- Keratin Smoothing Treatments
- The return of wet shaves and more male services
- Lots of fun parties!
Phew, what a year that has been, seeing it all written down is quite emotional!
If you feel strongly that there is something that you would like us to prioritise looking at or improving, please do let us know; it will definitely help us in fine tuning our project mgmt skills!
Huge thank you’s to the team for supporting me and keeping me in one piece, and for taking such good care of each other; you are all diamonds!
Also thank you to our customers who have seen us through the last year and been so patient and supportive. Remember to share the love as often as you like, so that you can get your £10 rewards. From February to March if we get only 3 refer a friend cards with your name on them, you will receive a £40 service!
To those customers who may have disappeared for a while, we totally understand; how’s about popping in and seeing what you think of all the changes? We’d be happy to offer you the 20% introductory discount until the end of March 2016.