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Simon Webster Hair Crowned Winner in UK-Wide Music Makeover Competition

A big congratulations is in order for Brighton’s Simon Webster Hair who won the prestigious Music Makeover Competition!

The team were awarded a £5,000 prize by PRS for Music, to upgrade their music offering for clients – beating off 300 other businesses in the process. This now means clients can choose their own tracks and even play their favourite vinyls whilst enjoying their treatments.

We spoke to Sophie Webster at their recent launch party to find out more…

What made you enter the Music Makeover competition?
I picked up an e-newsletter from PRS about the competition and just spontaneously entered. The application was easy and we seemed to fit the criteria exactly; we work really closely with both musicians and artists on a local and national scale. We were running a really old system that didn’t fit with our passion for music too and so it seemed a great fit for us. I didn’t even tell anyone else in SWH Team that I’d entered because I wasn’t expecting to win, so it was a great surprise when we got a call to say we were finalists – it just shows you should go for these things.

What did you have to do to enter?
We sent some photos of the salon and a video about the independent traders of Brighton and the North Laine area especially. We wanted to give the judges a real feel for the creative community of the area and the importance of independent, home-grown businesses to the town. We accompanied the pictures with a brief history of our salon and our passion for working with other creative industries, especially within music. Another point we highlighted was how crucial music is to your experience of a situation and in business that means catering to your clients’ tastes and mood is really important.

How did you feel to win?
We were completely thrilled – and surprised, we hadn’t expected to win at all. The whole process has been great; our clients and salon team have been involved with prioritizing what we wanted from a new system. PRS were really helpful and enthusiastic throughout. The launch party was incredible and there’s a real buzz around the salon. It’s been wonderful.

How will it add to the Simon Webster experience?
It’s taken our focus on providing appropriate music in the workplace to another level. Each floor of our four-storey salon can now play different music on three independent speaker networks, creating an atmosphere and ambience specific to the services that are happening in each area and the mood of the clients and stylists working there.

As you pass between the floors you notice that change and it really does impact on your senses. The staff love it and like being able to cater to their client’s tastes. For our clients, they can now directly add tracks to the salon playlists via an iPad on each floor, encouraging and building conversation between customers and the team. The wireless speakers have given more even sound distribution and a much-improved sound quality across the salon.

A turntable allows for us to play music that isn’t available digitally; vinyl has always been really important for us in the history of music and our business. Finally there’s a huge TV screen in the salon window that allows us to loop images and videos from some of our editorial shoots, Fashion Week shows and promo for musicians. People can now get an immediate and real sense of the variety of work we do from the shopfront.

Can customers bring their own vinyl/ play their own music?
Absolutely! We have had plenty on already. We’ve got plans to host special events for our clients where they can bring in their favourite vinyl for a play and we’re also hoping to host events and gigs as an alternative music venue from the New Year.

Finally; what would be your two chosen tracks to have on whilst you’re being styled?
That is almost an impossible question – the diversity of music we play in-salon is vast and always client-centred so it depends on who is in, what they’re having done and what their mood is at the time. The SWH Team have really eclectic tastes and we play all genres, including plenty of Brighton-based acts like Alice Russell and Lakuta. To give two tracks that we personally love and would have on ourselves though…for Simon it’d be something by the Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil or Paint it Black, or maybe Young Fathers, Shame. For me, probably some Amadou & Mariam or a bit of Kate Bush. It’s really too difficult to pin down!

Address: 16 Gardner Street
Phone: 01273 605577
Opening Times: Mon, Wed, Fri-Sun: 10am-6pm; Tues, Thurs: 10am-8pm