'Every child is different’ | EK Hair, Bristol’s specialist hair salon for kidsPosted on: 26 Nov 2019
At the age of 23, Chloe Mitchell set up her own hairdressing business. Now, seven years later, EK Hair is one of Bristol’s leading family salons.
“I was probably braver when I was younger,” Chloe says. “I always knew that I wanted to do something, and always be the best at whatever I did.”
A vibrant addition to The Arcade, Bristol’s historic shopping quarter, EK Hair is a kids’ paradise: cars and planes for seats, patterned capes, a play area and DVD screens. The salon’s vibrant décor is a deliberate choice, as Chloe endeavours to ensure her salon is an entirely child-friendly space and an easy option for families.
“It’s something for the children, so they don’t feel like they’re just tagging along to mum or dad’s appointment or having a home haircut,” Chloe explains. “It’s about creating that space especially for them.”
Bristol-born and raised, Chloe started hairdressing when she left school and says that working with children demands technical know-how, speed and confidence. Above all, Chloe encapsulates the salon’s specialist approach by the personalisation it offers to every child.
“Every child is different, so we tailor the appointment to that child. It’s just about creating a really positive space for them, so they don’t really feel like they’re having a haircut.”
For most of us, a salon visit is something we look forward to. A relaxing and luxurious experience, it’s a chance to escape the bustle of everyday life. But for some children, Chloe explains, salons can be overwhelming, or even frightening. This is something EK Hair is on a mission to change.
“For some children, just stepping in the door is something that can be really scary. And it’s not about the TV, it’s not about the cars – it’s about how they feel in the environment. So, we do sometimes host haircuts while the children are sat on their parents’ laps, or we’ve been known to crawl around the floor and play with toys at the same time.”
The EK Hair team is made up of Chloe (left) and Nessa. Nessa can use British Sign Language with her clients.
Snacks, soft toys, games, and time spent getting to know each child, Chloe and Nessa take extra measures to ensure their younger clients feel at home. While Nessa can use British Sign Language with clients, EK Hair can also offer Quiet Sessions in the trendy upstairs studio. Even the language used inside the salon, Chloe says, is carefully monitored to ensure every child feels at ease.
“We know that a haircut doesn’t hurt. Actually, it’s a really nice thing for us to have. But for some children, it’s the worst thing ever, and it does feel like it’s actually hurting them.”
“So, we don’t use the word ‘cut’ because that can sound really scary. Instead, we say ‘you are having a trim’ or ‘we’re just brushing your hair’. Little things like that can make it sound less scary.”
Upstairs at EK Hair, Chloe and Nessa offer adult services in a stylish and quiet studio.
Upstairs, EK Hair offers unisex adult services, meaning the whole family can take advantage of the salon’s unique, ultra-relaxed environment. Whilst parents and guardians enjoy a trim, their children can eat a packed lunch, play games and make some noise – something not often encouraged in spa-like environments.
“It’s just about creating a space where people don’t have to worry about where their children are,” Chloe says. “Or if the children are with them, they don’t have to worry about them upsetting others who are trying to have a peaceful time.”
With Saturdays usually booked up to six weeks in advance, Chloe says EK Hair’s diary is now full until Christmas, with clients travelling from across Bristol and beyond to access their services. It’s a client base with whom Chloe has built strong relationships with over the years, and something she admits is one of the best things about her job.
“I love doing what I do because the kids just take your mood to a completely different level. You see them grow up, start school – that’s the best thing about it, really.”
In her spare time, Chloe raises money for charity. Inspired by her clients, Chloe recently took part in the Bristol 10K in aid of Bristol Children's Hospital, raising £1000 for the organisation. Last year, she trekked to the Great Wall of China for charity.
EK Hair is based in The Arcade, Bristol’s historic shopping quarter. Away from busy roads, Chloe says that the quarter is not only boasting with character, but it also provides a safe venue for her clients: “everyone here [in The Arcade] is like a family… everybody knows everybody.”
In 2018, EK Hair were finalists in the Bristol Life Awards, and last weekend, the salon celebrated its 7th birthday.
“I feel really proud to say that we’re probably one of the most successful children’s businesses in Bristol, in terms of how many people we get in and the positive response we receive. I feel really thankful that people still support us after seven years.”
???? Celebrating our 7th birthday today ???? Thank you to all our customers old and new for getting us where we are today. Also a big thank you to @thegoodballooncompany and @lovefunwarehouse for these amazing balloon displays! We look forward to celebrating with you all ???? @365bristol @thearcadebristol @bristolshopping #balloons #birthday #salon #kids #party #family #hairdresserlife #fun #colourful #7yearsold
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