Combining the international flair of New York and Paris and sharpening the standard in South Sustralia’s Glenelg, become acquainted with Maison Jacquet salon, writes Cameron Pine.
Maison Jacquet doesn’t feel like a hair salon. While its main objective and reason for business is the best hair and experience money can buy, it’s warmth of character and eclectic disposition spark an emotional connection with each guest that leaves a lasting impression. A visit to Maison Jacquet is like coming home to a space fuelled by the finesse of the French and the nous of the New Yorker.
Pops of colour on a neutral canvas cover an older red door – the salon was ironically once called the ‘red door salon’ – that conjures images of the famous New York red door spa. Owners Cassie Harwood and Mathieu Jacquet set out to completely rejuvenate the 13-year-old salon into something that represented their global brand.
In order to lift the levels of sophistication and ‘Frenchify’ the space, a combination of soft pinks, lilac, and green hues are spread throughout the salon, with a feature painted banding drawing an emphasis on the carefully curated art wall – the focal point that anchors each salon area surrounding it.
With a personal story at every point and intricate details that play between the softness and function of the space, each element is carefully curated, starting from the selected feature stone bench and lighting in the waiting area. A bench and mirror that extends on an entire wall was incorporated to create an inviting and open communal space for clients to unwind and experience an inimitable service and standard of hair.
Cassie has been hairdressing for 20 years, including ten years in New York City and for 15 years as an Evo ambassador. Cassie’s passion lies in her skills developed while working at a high-end 5th Avenue salon and curating her own clientele that not only expect but are happy to pay for a high level of service. Maison Jacquet’s mission combines the flair and personality of her French husband Mathieu but bolsters it with the little things that clients in New York are happy to tip for.
We chatted to Cassie about a homecoming and passion project that runs far deeper than just a salon renovation.
INSTYLE: WHAT SERVICE ELEMENTS HAVE YOU BROUGHT BACK FROM YOUR SALON EXPERIENCE IN NEW YORK?
CASSIE HARWOOD: The salon prioritises giving clients ample time during their appointments, ensuring they do not feel rushed and that their time is valued. No double bookings or ‘squeeze in’ appointments can happen in a luxury high-end salon. We also have a client-centric design that takes into account modern day clients’ needs and preferences. Amenities such as laptop work space, phone charging outlets and adjustable Sonos speakers are provided in different areas to enhance the client’s experience. Brass bag hooks underneath the station bench to keep bags off the floor promote convenience and cleanliness. It’s the little things, like dimmable lights and a service menu that goes above and beyond. We also have a separate, semi-enclosed basin room, offering privacy and separation from the main salon floor. This helps create a more intimate and tranquil environment during their time at the basin area. We use low or no smelling colour, with Evo Hue-Verse, which has minimal or no strong odours. This consideration ensures that clients have a more pleasant and comfortable experience during their hair colouring services.
IN: HOW HAVE YOU CREATED A UNIQUE SERVICE OFFERING IN AUSTRALIA?
CH: To maintain a unique service offering in Australia, we have implemented several strategies around training and processes, a client-centric approach, brand identity and industry research and learning, which resonates with our customers and keeps them coming back. We continually invest in understanding and meeting the needs of our clients. We actively seek feedback and engage in conversations with our clients to understand their preferences, expectations, and desires. This allows us to tailor our services and offerings to provide a personalised and elevated salon experience. We stay true to our brand and focus on what sets us apart from others not only in the area but the whole industry. We emphasise our unique strengths, whether it’s a specific expertise, specialised techniquess or a particular atmosphere, and consistently deliver on our brand promise. To stay ahead of the competition, we frequently visit other salons or service-based businesses to observe and learn from their experiences.
IN: YOUR SALON AESTHETIC IS ECLECTIC AND HAND-PICKED. WHAT ARE SOME KEY ITEMS AND THE STORY BEHIND THEM IN YOUR SALON? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE BRANDS AND PIECES?
CH: After dreaming about this space for quite some time, our mood board came together with a very clear image and aesthetic. Once the design concept was finalised, we devoted considerable effort to carefully source the perfect furniture. Our couch, a beautiful vintage find, was from the online auction house, Curated Spaces. We specifically looked for a curved design, and the unexpected green hue turned out to be a delightful bonus! Our coffee table, named “The Eos” from Black Salt, is a solid concrete masterpiece that has become a centrepiece of conversations with everyone. Its robust and industrial appeal adds a unique touch to our space. From the outset, I had my heart set on including something from Dowel Jones in our design. So, when it came time to choose lighting, there was simply no other option. We patiently awaited their custom pieces, and the outcome was beyond worth it. The lights from Dowel Jones have become the most talked-about aspect of our space, and they truly tie in the whole space perfectly. Our art wall is probably what we have become known for as those that have been to our homes and NY Salon know this is something we have adapted in every space. It tells many amazing stories as we have been collecting and curating some of it for years! It’s a nice way to take people on your journey and allow them to understand us and them on a deeper level.
IN: WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST SPLURGE WITH THE NEW SALON FITOUT?
CH: The marble front desk! We wanted a statement counter so we went with a Calcutta Viola marble with very irregular markings, which has been another huge talking point, but definitely a huge investment.
IN: HOW HAVE YOU CREATED A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT WITHOUT GOING OVERBOARD WITH YOUR BUDGET?
CH: Using a combination of high end and vintage pieces helps the budget, as well as knowing where to spend money on key items and pulling back a little on others. Our art wall is a feature yet not very expensive given the scale and impact. Staying true to our style and embracing individuality is always better than going straight to the most expensive option.
IN: IN TERMS OF VISION, DID YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANTED THE NEW SALON TO LOOK LIKE WHEN YOU TOOK OVER RED DOOR SPA OR WAS IT A MORE GRADUAL APPROACH?
CH: We have been pinning and saving images for a long time of what our dream salon would look like so from the minute we saw the space we knew it had so much potential. We ran the salon as is with a little cosmetic fix up for about nine months while we got working on plans, but there was never any option of not doing a full re-brand. Like any good renovation our floor plan and ideas changed as we inhabited the space, particularly in the first few months, but once we had decided on the floor plan – and budget – we were good to go!
IN: FROM THE STREET YOUR SALON HAS AN IMPACT. HOW DID YOU WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL WHEN LOOKING AT YOUR SALON?
CH: Firstly, we wanted the immediate impact of a change as we had taken over an existing business. Our goal was to make the salon stand out and create a strong first impression. We wanted people to feel drawn to its luxurious and mysterious aura, while also creating a sense of comfort and familiarity through the carefully selected design elements. The black and white awning draws your eye as its catchy and bold but the brass lettering and signage, which was also a big splurge, elevates the front of the building, and makes it feel very alluring. We also added the planter boxes with cacti, which gives it a sense of home.
IN: WHAT DOES MAISON JACQUET MEAN TO YOU?
CH: The term ‘MAISON’ in French translates to ‘house’ or ‘home’, suggesting a sense of warmth and comfort. Maison Jacquet to me as a salon is designed to entice you and make you feel like you’re entering a refined, private residence where every detail is carefully curated to provide a memorable experience topped with beautiful hair. I believe now more than ever that hair is regarded as high as any other luxury service or experience so we as an industry need to ensure we are holding up our end of the deal if we want to maintain that and continue to charge accordingly.
For more information visit www.maisonjacquet.com
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