Tell us about your business, what did inspire you to start it?
Meg Liu: I’ve been working in the industry for years now, working in salons and working on campaigns for Gucci, etc. I always dreamed of having my own salon and we felt there was the potential in Shoreditch to start something new and exciting, it felt like a good challenge. We love the vibe in Shoreditch, it’s an area full of interesting and creative people. We never imagined it would take off so well and are very pleased to be able to say that 10 years later we now have three salons – with a fourth coming soon! We are very grateful.
What is unique about ESHK compared to the other local hair dressing salons?
Fernando Lopez: Meg and I started to work in East London for a salon on Spitalfields Market in 2002. Back then there weren’t many hair salons around, we were constantly surrounded by lots of stylish people and were working to develop hair styles and trends that were ever evolving and changing. We took all of that experience and put it into our own salon. We are proud of our 30 strong team of Stylists who are from all over the world and are able to give us a unique international perspective on trends and the latest new styling techniques. Over the last decade we have created a lot of cool cuts and our clients love it.
Meg: Our aesthetic is also very unique – literally! We use reclaimed materials and cool furniture we find in second hand shops to kit out the salons. When we first opened, like all start ups, money was tight so this was the best way to be able to get what we needed without spending a fortune. Now, Fernando and I still search second hand and thrift stores for our salons, we keep the ESHK feel in every salon but every one is different.
You have been running ESHK for 10 years, what would you say has been your most memorable experience while developing your business?
Meg: This has to be the time our Shoreditch branch turned into a rain forest! There was a leak from the outside and from upstairs in the building which resulted in our floor looking like a pond! Water was dripping from everywhere via the ceiling – plus we were fully booked that day! It was bad luck but we can now look back on it and laugh. It was quite a surreal day but things like that are all part of the learning process when you have your own business!
Why did you choose Shoreditch/East London to start your business?
Meg: We always felt East London was the place where we could exert our creativity. When we started working in this area years ago, there wasn’t a lot going on but we saw so much potential to do more. East London was the area where we lived, hung out, worked, got inspired every day… it was natural for us to open here.
Fernando: We’ve grown up in East London so now we want to take this style we’ve developed over the years and bring a piece of Shoreditch to other cities around the world.
What are your favourite stylists/ hairdressers?
Meg: Our own Stylists, they are just incredible! We are lucky to work with such amazing Stylists who are always full of energy and ideas – they keep amazing us.
Where do you find inspiration for new haircuts and styles?
Fernando: By watching and talking to people. Our team is young, dynamic and from all over the world which is incredible in terms of keeping us inspired and engaged with what is popular in each of the salons. We have a gathering once a month with all of our staff where we discuss new and existing trends as well as trying out new ideas that we can launch ourselves.