Walk into Edward and Co.’s new Alexandria premises and feel a flash of déjà vu.
Maybe it’s the instantly-recognisable street art that adds colour to the otherwise white walls. Maybe it’s the “massive windows” that salon owner Jaye Edwards swears by to imbue the maximum amount of light into every one of his establishments (this time with a bonus skylight sending sun in from above as well). Maybe it’s Cash and Rex, Jaye’s two dogs who roam the salon, delighting clients and inspecting every inch of the vast salon floor.
Cash and Rex (and also Jaye) have made the move from Surry Hills, leaving Edwards and Co.’s flagship salon to commit themselves almost full time to Alexandria. While Surry Hills continues to hum along, the salon brand’s Melbourne location is also flourishing. Now this new salon has debuted in the midst of the burgeoning cultural hub that is Alexandria (you can thank the $13 billion Green Square project for the increased urban activity). Next, Byron Bay and then Brisbane, meaning Edwards and Co. will have grown to five salons, not to mention an education program, in less than four years. That qualifies for ‘runaway train’ levels of success.
“Alexandria is one of the fastest growing suburbs in Sydney, in terms of people moving in. The area is a bit of a hot spot for new businesses,” Jaye shared. The result is a professional, fashion forward local client base, filled with creative millennials, similar to the clients that frequent Surry Hills. While Jaye’s personal clients have all moved with him, Cash and Rex, the rest of the database will be made up of the photographers, fashion retail staff and other business men and women, mostly recruited through social media, promotions and other guerrilla marketing tactics, that inhabit the local area.
Pair this instant clientele with a near-perfect space, and the establishment was a no-brainer for Jaye. Whereas Surry Hills needed a lot of work in its initial salon construction, Alexandria was more salon-ready from the get-go. A large downstairs area is devoted to cutting and styling, while the mezzanine second floor houses the basins and a colour area comprised of a big, social table (“we do all our colour work at a communal table to save you sitting in front of the mirror for three hours,” Jay explained). Premium products from Oribe, R+Co, evo, Chrisophe Robin and Mr. Smith line the shelves and outside is a cacti-infused veranda Jaye is still contemplating how to use. Yoga or Pilates in the morning are looking like front-runner ideas.
“I chose to go with a bit of a cleaner look, a little less industrial, a little more modern, only because it ages better. The industrial aesthetic was a bit of a trend, this isn’t a trend it’s more constant,” Jaye said of the new, individualised look. However, ties to sister salons are necessary, and help build the feeling of a bona fide salon empire in the making.
“You want to have, not exactly the same salon, but a similar feel in the look,” he said. “For me it’s about the vibe and the environment and the culture you create within the salon, if you don’t have that across all of them, none of them will work.”
The sizeable space has turned into more than just a salon. The team are promoting the space to rent for a vast number of occasions. Photo shoots, birthday parties, hair, fashion and technology launches, TV commercials and more would all be perfectly suited within the graffiti walls. Recently, a launch event for Regaine allowed beauty media to flood the salon. Here Jaye and the team lent their talents, with hairdressers offering blow-dries and Jaye giving a presentation about styling thin hair to create volume, while dermatologists covered the science behind hair loss.
Aside from the usual salon services, this is the kind of place where clients might just come in to hang out. “I feel people will feel comfortable coming here and sitting down and having their nails done,” Jaye said, hinting at the nail technician coming soon to the salon. “It’s not a typical salon; you kind of want to sit down and hang out and have a coffee. The whole idea behind the salon is that it’s similar to a café, where you don’t feel like its awkward, where you can just come and chill.”
It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Edwards and Co. Alexandria is more than just a salon, or a branch in a rapidly expanding salon chain. It’s a culture, where clients will come back for a cut, a colour, a chat, or just to hang out with Cash and Rex. Can you blame them?
For more information visit edwardsandco.com.au
Click here for Styleicons|TV.