Recently, we found ourselves speaking to some of Bath’s leading retailers about the current economic doom and gloom (page 24), and how they proposed not merely to survive, but to make a profit, during the next year or so.
There was a remarkable similarity in their responses, the overwhelming conclusion being that you have to try harder, become innovative, think outside the box and generally offer customers that little bit extra.
To the enormous credit of Savi Sorisi, who owns and manages Bridgwater House, this is precisely the service he established when he revamped his beautiful salon a few years ago, well before the first bite of the credit crunch. It was important, he felt, that every aspect of each customer’s visit was enjoyable, from the salon aesthetics (wooden floorboards; modern art on the walls; the distinctive mirrors with their iron tangle of vines, leaves and flowers, specially commissioned from local blacksmith John Collins; smooth black Italian marble surfaces. In addition to all of the above, there’s a climate-control system which lends the large room the right temperature at any season of the year, and another, more tangible luxury in the form of the vibromassage chairs used for hairwashing.
Savi is equally proud of his relaxing Finishing Touch beauty area in the basement (more of this later) but today I’d turn up mainly for Wayne. Much as I appreciated the comfortable vibe of the salon, I’d be quite prepared to visit Wayne in a draughty barn. Indisputably one of Bath’s very best hairdressers, with the kind of long flowing locks most women can merely dream of, Wayne has a big fan base and a number of clients here at the Bath Life offices.
A cleaner I know always says that she far prefers working for messy clients than for neat ones, as there is a much greater sense of satisfaction at the end of the job.
I suspect that Wayne must have felt a similar emotion as I walked in to the salon. My hair was dry at the ends, the wrong colour at the roots, and I’d recently attempted to do something that I should have learned many years ago was doomed to failure – ie cut my own fringe.
Undaunted, Wayne first addressed the shade and condition of my hair, suggesting a combination of colouring treatments – a permanent tint by Goldwell to tackle the greying roots, and a semi-gloss dye to blend this in to the mid-length without unduly drying it further.
Twenty minutes later – by now fully informed on the state of the Coles’ marriage, Britney’s mental health and practically everyone’s cellulite – I was conveyed to one of the vibromassage chairs and allowed to play with the remote control while my hair was washed and conditioned using the Matrix products favoured by Bridgwater.
I then received exactly the cut I wanted – longer at the back than the front, gently choppy, fringe tidied up – after which Wayne did that thing that only hairdressers can do – ie blowdried my hair in a way that made it look perfectly glossy. I knew in my heart that it was TOO perfect for me and that I’d push the fringe to the side the second I left the salon, but I also knew that this was the cut that would take me through Christmas and well into 2009.
If I’d had more time, I might also have explored the salon’s spa underworld where an astonishing number of treatments and therapies are on offer – specialist facials, eye treatments, waxing, body treatments, massages, tanning, and a whole slew of treatments for men. Special packages also abound, including those for weddings.
Bridgwater House is an exceptionally well-thoughtthrough salon staffed with people who are passionate about what they do, and do it well; it’s welcoming, smart yet unpretentious, and if there is any justice in the world it will survive the credit crunch.
Thanks Bathlife - www.bathlifemag.co.uk