Blush and Blow London
Just before my summer holiday, I was invited along to experience South West London’s hottest new blow dry bar and salon, Blush + Blow. Founded by makeup artist, beauty blogger and long-term friend of ours at B.LOVED HQ, Bridget O’Keeffe (read my interview with her below) Blush + Blow fuses beauty and style in one, gorgeously luxe, place.
The moment I stepped off of the busy New Kings Road into the carefully designed salon, I knew I was in for a treat. With a keen eye for style, every single detail has been considered – and executed – to perfection. From the brass foot baths to the decadently comfy chairs and perfectly lined up nail polishes – even the coffee cups are beautifully branded with Blush + Blow’s chic logo.
My luxury mani-pedi was just that, sheer luxe. After selecting my polish (a rather neon coral – it was summer after all!) I was treated to 2 hours of pampering. Hands moisturised and massaged, it was over to the spa area to get my toes beach ready! Sinking into one of those huge big armchairs I relaxed for the first time in ages, totally switching off as the treatment took place. An hour came and went all too soon; I popped on my flip flops and was already in the holiday mood!
After my treatment, I had a chance to catch up with Bridget over a cup of tea, and find out more about her new venture…
Tell us about your business:
Blow dry bars in London are finally catching up with our American counterparts. It has taken a while but finally we are seeing fun, trendy and well-priced blow dry bars around our capital. What we haven’t seen in London yet, or even America, are blow dry and beauty bars. And so Blush + Blow was born. Your one stop shop for all your beauty needs, in a fun and beautiful environment but without the luxury spa prices.
What did you do before (training/work) and how does that experience help you now?
I started my first business, Sapphire Pink, four years ago. The wealth of knowledge I gained from all the trials and tribulations of starting a small business has allowed me to take a lot of short cuts and not make nearly as many mistakes this time around. The most valuable lesson I learnt was to remain authentic and true to myself in the branding and offering. Convincing people to buy into your brand therefore becomes 10 x easier as you are already sold on it yourself.
What motivated you to set up Blush + Blow?
My father. He is the most wonderful mentor and has helped me throughout the process with tireless advice. He has always tried to instil hard work in me, and if one can work hard for oneself then it’s a bonus!
What kind of clients do you work with?
Our clients are everything from first-time blow dry girls to well versed head to toe groomers. Most of them are mums who are time poor but still love to pamper themselves. They roll in with a toddler in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other and the desperate desire to sit down for more than 10 minutes without needing to help someone to the potty (which is why we always have staff on hand to look after our Bambino guests!).
What do you think has made the Blush + Blow launch so successful?
I think it’s a combination of few things. I firstly believe that there was a huge gap in the market for women to be able to go to one place for all their beauty needs, and somewhere where their children enjoy playing and aren’t nagging to leave. Secondly, I would like to think that because we never ever compromise on customer service, people enjoy coming in as they are made to feel like we offer service akin to that of a boutique hotel. Every element of the design was with the guest in mind. And finally, I believe that we are competitively priced and people appreciate that.
Where do you work & how do you keep your space inspiring?
I have a little office in the basement. With no windows and a tiny office for my assistant and me, I always insist on it being kept very tidy. I had the walls painted sky blue to bring in some light energy and have photos of my nieces around me as well as little drawings from them. I like my workspace to be homely with everything I need at arms length. Everything has its place!
What’’ start-up mistakes did you make -– and what advice would you give others?
I made far fewer this time around but the golden rule I would say to anyone starting a business is this. Don’t try to do it all at once. Listen to what your customers want and accommodate them as far as possible. They will help you to develop your business in the right direction and will take a lot of the guess work out of it, which is what you have to do a lot of pre-launch.
Who do you respect and admire in the beauty world?
Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, Marcia Kilgore, Pat McGrath… they are all badass girl bosses.
What do you think of trends? Do you follow them or prefer to follow your own style?
I follow makeup trends simply because as a makeup artist I always have to have my finger on the pulse with what’s going on. I don’t however allow trends to effect my personal style choices. I am a pretty conservative person which is reflected in my choice of home décor, shoes and handbag choice, and of course blow dry preference! (K-Middi all the way)
What challenges have you set yourself for the next 12 months?
To get Blush + Blow running well enough without me so that I can have a summer holiday 2017! … and also to open one more (for now!).