September 9th, 2021
Last week Samantha Cusick London opened their second salon, this one in Fitzrovia. We were delighted to be invited along to celebrate the opening and have a treatment in the brand-new space.
Sam opened her original salon in Notting Hill in 2016, with an aim to make visiting the hairdresser not at all intimidating or pretentious but rather an empowering, euphoric experience. The team specialise in all things colour, combining their knowledge with cohesive styling, creating wearable, everyday styles and colours using the latest technology and techniques in a fabulous, unique environment.
Her vision proved so popular that a second salon was meant to open in early 2020 but, as with many businesses, the pandemic put everything on hold. 18 months – and an understanding and flexible landlord – later, the new salon is up and running, ready for business.
So last Thursday I found myself in a quiet, leafy square in Fitzrovia, central London, just behind Oxford Street. Facebook’s UK HQ is based here, but you wouldn’t know that from the outside of their building. Although the previous day there had been a demonstration by medical tattooists about their moderation of images containing nipples. The protesters had been dressed as inflatable breasts and caused some excitement – I was sorry to have missed it.
Approaching the salon I couldn’t help but notice a large, handsome Bulldog sitting in the open doorway, keeping an eye on the comings and goings around the square. This was Sidney, Sam’s own dog, who is the Vice President of Customer Relations. A job he does brilliantly – wandering around the salon (I suspect looking for crumbs, rather than feedback on styling) and checking out the neighbouring salon too (no doubt keeping an eye on the competition) who are more than happy to accommodate him.
The salon itself is fitted out with Samantha’s signature style of lush tropical prints, neon lights and rococo style gold fittings. It instantly draws you in – a club you want to be a part of and that welcomes you in with open arms and a cocktail!
On arrival, after having a chat with Sid, I was offered a probiotic or fruit juice shot and shown to Sam’s own chair. We had a chat about what treatment I was having – a toner and blow dry (I’d been sent a patch test in advance) – and decided on the colour to be used. I loved the quirky decorations and fresh flowers – each station is slightly different but is part of the larger theme. The wallpaper mural down the entire side wall of the salon is tropical birds, leaves and animals and keeps you looking to see what you can spot. This is the same as Sam chose for her original salon and keeps a link between the two.
I was then introduced to Theresa who gowned me up and took me over to the wash station. This is towards the back of the salon, up a couple of steps, which gives a great view across the whole salon, and a bird’s eye view of the fabulous mural – as well as the pink neon sign across the back wall. I could also watch the stylists and salon make-up artist working on their clients. Definitely better than TV! Also the backwash is papered with big cats and topped with lush greenery. All very cool and beautifully quirky. There’s definitely home inspo here, along with hair goals.
Theresa gave my hair a wash, and then Sam came over to carry out the toning treatment. We had a chat about her plans to expand her growing empire – she’s looking further north for her next salon – not her native Nottingham but possibly Manchester. It’s great to see businesses thriving and considering expansion after the difficulties of the last 18 months. It’s particularly rewarding to see salons that have managed to keep their staff and clients after such a long period of closure. Sam was able to furlough her staff throughout the lockdown and has since taken on more to support the new salon opening.
After a relaxing head massage and Olaplex treatment, Theresa showed me to my stylist’s seat. I was also offered a choice of fabulous cupcakes, cookies and a full drinks menu. I love a salon with its own bar! It would be rude to refuse – well it was (almost) lunchtime.
Next I met Master Stylist Emma Fordham (@lovemeknot_) who was going to do my blow dry and style my newly toned locks. The signature style at Samantha Cusick is cool and undone, so when Emma suggested beachy waves I jumped at the chance, as I’ve never been able to achieve this myself.
Emma usually works at the Notting Hill salon and we talked about the differences between the two. Other than location they share the same relaxed vibe and customer-centric ethos. The Fitzrovia salon is just a little more sparkly as it’s brand new. Although I did hear there may be plans afoot to freshen up the original salon once Fitzrovia is established.
While I’d been having my hair washed I’d spotted Pro MUA Keeley (@keeleywilsonmakeup) sorting out her kit, in between making over clients. I had very definite kit envy when I saw her array of Bobbi Brown brushes! She invited me to come back to have my face touched up after Emma had finished with my hair, so I did just that. Keeley used to be a Pro Makeup Artist for Bobbi Brown (hence the coveted brushes) and had recently left them to set up on her own as a freelance MUA. She did a great job of making me look as glamorous as my hair in a very short space of time. Very impressive!
It was then time for me to leave. I loved my experience at SCL – it was really relaxing and fun, and felt like I’d spent time with my girlfriends. I’d absolutely recommend a visit either with a group of friends or by yourself – you definitely won’t feel awkward or embarrassed. It’s a salon where the welcome is warm and the style is definitely more than matched by the substance.
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