Our Salon of the Year competition proves that hairdressing isn’t just a ladies’ game – men are also aiming to be crowned the cream of the crop.
Philip Politi, 53, has spent more than 20 years establishing a loyal clientele and said “the product should always speak for itself”.
He set up his own salon, Philip Politi Hairdressing, in St John’s Road, 24 years ago and it has become a leading salon for both sexes.
Talking about the competition, he said: “We actually have been following the competition because a lot of our clients have been coming in saying they have seen the Evening News.
“We have got quite a big, loyal clientele and they are 100 per cent behind us, which is great.
“We are really excited and absolutely delighted that we are in the top ten.”
Mr Politi’s partner, Freda Howden, 50, has also joined the team as the salon’s make-up artist and is one of ten staff on-hand to make sure clients have an excellent experience.
“The bottom line is, in this day and age, service is everything – people are wanting great service, and just getting a simple haircut does not work,” Mr Politi added.
“We are a bit old school. It’s all to do with the clients and the staff. We just do what we do and try to be the best.”
Mr Politi said his salon had the cutting edge because it had just introduced a new range of shampoos said to be a “miracle product” for fine hair.
“We are going one stage further, having a room in the salon dedicated to it so we can take clients in private and prescribe what’s best,” he added.
Mr Politi has been hairdressing since he left school aged 17 and said there “were very few guys going into hairdressing” in 1990.
“The secret to success is to keep motivated through the good times and the bad times and service is tantamount,” he said.
“I think it’s fantastic that all of the clients have voted for us.
“I have promised the staff I will take them all out for a drink, which will cost me a fortune.
“I think it would be fantastic if we won – it would just be another feather in our cap. We do what we do every day and we try to give our best and that’s the bottom line.”
Chris’ career decision was not rocket science
Another man who is leaving a permanent mark on the industry is Ishi Hair and Beauty owner Chris McLennan.
The salon, on Hanover Street, is Mr McLennan’s second branch after he decided to team up with friend and fellow hairdresser, Paul Paterson, 32, six years ago.
And despite only opening at the beginning of the year, the salon’s clients have all been voting in an attempt to see their favourite hairdresser crowned.
“It’s amazing to be in the final ten – just the reaction we have had from clients and we really appreciate all the customers for voting and getting us this far especially being a fairly new salon,” he said.
Mr McLennan, 29, originally went to university to study physics, but decided to follow his heart and pursue a career in hairdressing after getting hooked on the TV series, The Salon, nine years ago.
“I was at university studying and I did not enjoy it, but I used to watch The Salon religiously and I had a complete change of career and tried hairdressing one summer,” he explained.
“You can imagine what it was like sitting down and telling my dad that.”
However, the duo made the right choice as they now have 12 dedicated staff.
Mr McLennan said: “I think we are a wee bit different from our competitors – we are pushing trends. Paul has been selected for the prestigious Sebastian Art Team and there’s only six people chosen throughout the country.
“We are quite a relaxed salon and we try to make everyone happy and everyone’s friendly – we have people with a lot of experience come to work with us and want to work with us.”
A haircut at the salon can cost anywhere in the region of £38 to £48, with Mr McLennan saying the business has a loyal fan base.
“I would be over the moon if we won. It would do wonders for the business,” he added. “I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has voted for us so far.”