When Royston Blythe opened its doors 30 years ago, who’d have thought we’d have had such a fantastic and fabulous journey! As the anniversary celebrations commence ahead of the 30 official date in November, Royston and Nick took a trip down memory lane with one of our favourite local glossies, Wolverhampton West.
Q/. It’s been 30 years since you both started the salon, how did it all begin?
Nick: It’s crazy, it only seems like yesterday! We opened the salon under Royston’s name 30 years ago this November. The early days were tough, we worked really hard to make a success of things but despite that, as you can probably imagine, Royston and I had a great deal of fun along the way. That first year, we would both be at the salon for 6.30 in the morning and then at 8.30 I would leave and have to go to my day job in another salon in Wolverhampton. I’d be back again at 5.30pm and there were times when we were still at the salon at 2.30 in the morning.
Our fabulous Lisa, who is still with us 30 years on, has always been an absolute dream and worked ridiculously long hours with us. We were all really determined and committed to making the business a success and we never turned anyone away. It was about 12 months later that I eventually left my day job and we’ve never looked back since!
How has the business changed over the years?
Royston: Our core business hasn’t. We’ve always been a luxury salon, exceeding expectations with fabulous hair and delivering outstanding customer service in a friendly and approachable manner. We understand that our salon is an affordable luxury and we have every type of client – from bingo players to billionaires – and everyone is treated in exactly the same way. And, this is something that will never change.
The business has grown unimaginably since the early days and obviously, our team has become bigger to accommodate the growth. Six years ago, we opened up in Shrewsbury which has also been a fantastic success. The explosion of social media has definitely had a positive impact on our day-to-day business. It’s so much easier for people to view our work now and it reaches a much wider audience – we are getting clients flying in from around the world for appointments after seeing transformations on Instagram or on our website, which is a huge testament to the talent of our team.
What has made the business succeed?
Nick: We love what we do and so do our team! When you work at Royston Blythe, you have great fun and are surrounded by positive, talented and happy people that have a clear focus: to delight clients and make them feel and look the most fabulous version of themselves. Investing in people is the best investment we could ever make, whether it’s in the development of our team, holding special events to recognise success or throwing a party to thank our clients for their loyalty, we always make sure that we show our appreciation.
What’s your favourite thing about the salon?
Royston: Undoubtedly our clients and our team. The Royston Blythe salons have a very special, electric energy and a fabulous vibe which comes from the spirit of the team and the brilliant relationship that we have with our clients. Obviously, both Nick and I work full time in the salon and have done for the past 30 years – every day is different, we have so many wonderful people walk through our salon doors and this is what keeps us motivated, loving our work and looking forward to the future of the business!
Why did you never leave Wolverhampton?
Nick: This is a question that we get asked all the time. We love Wolverhampton, it’s our home and it’s where our friends are. We never wanted to or needed to leave and we’ve established and maintained a very successful business here for 30 years. London is only a short distance away and Birmingham airport is so close, giving us access to the whole of Europe and beyond, so we can work – and party – anywhere and have the best of both worlds, always coming back to our beautiful home and staying close to our friends.
You had a salon in London, how did that work?
Nick: We have many celebrity clients that travel to us from all over the world. We needed a London-based salon and the 5* Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, Mayfair approached us. We employed the Queen’s hairdresser, our good friend Ian Carmichael and, when he wasn’t working from Buckingham Palace, he worked alongside us to ensure all our London based clients were looked after.
So, what were the highlights over the years?
Royston: Oh, there have been too many to mention…! We’ve loved travelling the world as ambassadors for mega brands, winning many national and international awards and seeing our team being recognised for their talent. Many of the team have been with us since they left school and to watch them stand-up on stages at massive international hairdressing events and be announced as winners of all sorts of prestigious awards is just fabulous. Likewise, it’s amazing to watch their ability and confidence grow when they’re working away from the salon at venues like Buckingham Palace or at events with world-renowned fashion houses or celebrities.
Of course, there are all the fantastic – and crazy – staff parties too! There’s been plenty of celebrations over the years, everything from hen parties to christenings!
What’s next for the salon?
Nick: Simply to keep doing what we do…we’ve got an amazing team and every one of us lives and breathes what we do, and we intend to keep on doing it!