Ok so I’ve actually been asked by a fair few clients when the next blog is coming… All I can say in my defence is that we have been seriously busy over the past few months!  But I’m glad you’re still interested?!  And at long last I have found a few hours to sit at the laptop and share with you all some news about our activities and what’s in the pipeline.

So we are moving into our eight month of trading!  Can you believe it?  This year is literally flying by.  I have to admit I did expel a sigh of relief when we hit the six month mark as you hear so many gloomy tales of businesses that go under very quickly.  When we were forced to open in Feb, the wind howling outside and hammering rain against our beautiful Georgian windows, I did worry that we were up against it!  But with a lot of hard work and a great team around me, we have been steadily building and gaining so many new clients. My friends have joked that anywhere we go in Clifton I seem to know everyone!  And what a nice feeling that is.  I have lived in Clifton for over five years but having a business here has meant I have made friends with many locals, other traders and residents.  I genuinely look forward to what the day will bring on my walk to work now and it seems that we are making some real progress.

If you had not yet heard, I was lucky enough to win the title of ‘Bristol Hairdresser of The Year’ last week, as voted by the public in the Evening Post.  The competition was decided at a live final where myself and four other finalists had to complete a colour, cut and styling in two and a half hours.  We then all had to present a ten minute talk on our inspiration for an Autumn/Winter trend prediction.  Now anyone who knows me well, knows I love a Mood Board!  So these kind of competitions are right up my street. I managed to get hold of a stunning model Charlotte who looks a little like Rosie Huntington- Whiteley…(Not a bad start?!!)  Then got down to the task of collaging together my vision.  The other finalists were all lovely and it was really nice to meet other Hairdresser’s in Bristol who love their craft and want to excel.  I always think there is a preconception that with fashion and hairdressing the epicentre is always London?  But competitions like this highlight that there is great talent, passion and creativity in this little city and it makes me proud to be part of it.

When the winner was announced we were absolutely thrilled and came back to the salon grinning from ear to ear.  The salon is also nominated for ‘Bristol’s Salon of The Year’ which is announced this week..nail biting!!  I’m not sure how lucky we will be, but already this recognition has got my team enthused and beaming.  Rightly so.  I told the team at the start that I anticipated a lot of hard work this year, but truly believed that with the right attitude and intention we could create something very special.  It is so exciting to see the momentum building and we are all feeling really positive about the future.

Last week also delivered a big fat stack of Clifton Life magazines… and I am delighted to say that the images from Atelier’s first ever shoot were featured in the issue, with one adorning the front cover!!  (Personal goal ticked!)  We were also quoted in the article about how to plan a ‘kick ass wedding’. (I have noted a few pointers there!)  It was a great issue and we were chuffed to bits to be involved.  Thanks to editors Matt Bielby and the wonderful Deri Robins at Clifton Life for giving our work this exposure.

Another juicy little nugget of news, is that we have we have been confirmed as being able to stock REN in our Spa!  I may have told some of you about my penchant for REN.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with the range, it is made in Devon, is free from any toxins, parabens or free radical you could imagine, smells INCREDIBLE and performs to the highest level whilst also being affordable.  This is what we are about at Atelier, ‘affordable luxury’ and I have to say I always had in my mind that I wanted REN.  Strangely it was a client of mine that introduced me to the range when she bought me a divine gift set for my birthday.  The signature fragrance in the range is the ‘Moroccan Rose Otto’, which is the body oil we use for our head, neck and shoulder massages.  Rose has so many qualities, notably it’s calming properties.  I have had the terrible task of testing some free samples from REN over the past few weeks (!) and I can report that despite working 6/7 days a week and keeping numerous plates spinning, my skin is glowing!  Clients have commented and I can really see a difference.  I am a super cynical consumer and will only part with my hard earned wedge if something is formidable.  Well, I’m telling you peeps, this range is it.  I cannot tell you how happy I am to be able to say we are a REN Spa.  The company’s ethos and commitment to their customers is very much in line with our own, not to mention those glorious little glass bottles are going to look pretty swish in amongst our décor!  To ice our metaphorical cake, we have been gifted with a fabulous and charming account manager Dan.  (He goes to yoga with Kate Winslet!) and is a shining example of a man who believes in a great skin care regime!  Amen to that.  Roll on the training in London.  I may bore you all to tears with my new found knowledge, but when you try the samples I’m confident you will understand my evangelism!

So where are we at with the Spa I hear you utter?  The occasional cloud of dust or a verse from the builders may escape up the stairs (they do they love a sing song..a little bit of showing off in front of the girls I suspect)  but up here in the saloon while we squirrel away, you would hardly suspect the hive of activity that continues beneath us.

Over the bank holiday, my long suffering fiancé Steve has been dressed in full Breaking Bad body suit, paint spraying.  No easy feat I can assure you.  He’s the best.  I may be me getting my 15 mins of fame, but none of this business would be possible without his hard work behind the scenes, so ‘cheers luv!’ HEEEE  Heeee!  We are enjoying phase two of the salon and have evolved the feel of the décor slightly downstairs. We hope you will like it?!  I would certainly be happy to chill out down there after a wonderful treatment.  And on that note, I must introduce our new team member who will be managing the Spa…

Charlotte was introduced to me by some very good friends of ours.  Dan summed her up as, ‘the equivalent of you, but as a Holistic Therapist’.  Now this was obviously of interest!!?  What he meant I later found out, was that Charlotte takes her profession very seriously, loves what she does and see’s it as less a career, more a way of life.

Charlotte and I instantly understood each other and have been emailing/talking now for many months on how our vision for the Spa will take shape. I am delighted to welcome Charlotte into our team.  She is the consummate professional, great fun and incredibly talented.  After a busy few weeks I had been feeling a little run down of late, so Charlotte asked me to try an Ayurvedic treatment with her.  After a very thorough consultation, she somehow managed to lull me into the most serene trance.  Working first on my neck and back with impressive precision to first release tension and then ending with a facial and head massage that had me practically dribbling!  She used her repertoire of skills ranging from reflexology to reiki to work me into a fluffy frenzy.

On floating home to Steve who was cooking dinner, I cannot tell you how relaxed I felt.   I tried to explain to Steve how immense this treatment had been, my expression of bliss seemed to crack him up, but I had the last laugh as I drifted into the best nights sleep EVER and woke up the next day feeling, quite frankly, EPIC!?

I am now reading all about Ayurveda, which essentially is an ancient Indian medicine that believes in balancing the ‘doshas’ to bring the body and mind into harmony.  All I can tell you is that I felt different.  Focused, energised and calm. Charlotte describes the massage as ‘nourishing’ which I really agree with.  I have come up trumps with this Therapist and cannot wait for you all to meet her and experience what she does. Charlotte + REN in Atelier’s tranquil surroundings = HEAVEN!!!!! (Can’t wait for her to join so I can get another one! Hurry up Steve!;))

So on that high note I must now sign off.  Another fully booked week awaits me, and the results of the salon of the year comp… Finger’s crossed guys!

Thank you so very much to all who nominated us for the awards and voted.  I hope we are making you proud so far and we can’t wait to welcome you all to the ‘Retreat’ when it is finished.  You’re support means we can grow and excel, it means a great deal to myself and the team.  We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment and will keep you posted on the comp!