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It Takes FOUR

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, just ask the ladies over at FOUR London

Written by . Published on November 2nd 2011.

It Takes FOUR

DO you often sit at your desk daydreaming about what it would be like to go into business for yourself? Are you longing to make your hobby your full-time gig? What is holding you back? Admittedly, with the media constantly predicting another recession and every other headline forecasting financial doom and gloom it doesn’t exactly inspire future entrepreneurs to go out on a limb. However, just such a thing is happening – and right here in London. About a year ago, four very ambitious  ladies decided to follow their dream of opening their own hair salon in the heart of Mayfair, and after finding a few investor dollars and investing a lot hard work themselves, the business the thriving. Brooke Bohan, Maleeka Taher, Charlie Double and Denise Arnold are the faces behind FOUR London and the very women that embody girl power. Think you can’t do it? Think again.

Surround yourself with people who know their trade as well as you know yours – from a business standpoint you can’t do everything yourself, but you can pull together a team of professionals who can advise and give you the direction you need.

What drove the four of you to leave your current jobs behind and go into business together?
Although, we had – and still have – the utmost respect for our previous employer Jo Hansford, we felt the time had come for us to pursue a new business adventure. Having worked in the hair colour industry for a number of years together it was a natural progression for us all. We had excellent training from the best in the business, and the ten years we trained and worked together has enabled us to progress our own careers and pursue our dream. 

Were you friends outside of work or did you build the business relationship based on respect in the workplace?
Yes, we've built a strong friendship – from nights out to holidaying together – however, mutual respect in the workplace was essential.   


Four Outside Closed Mod

Do you find a certain power behind the fact that you are all women?
Yes, absolutely. Jo Hansford was the first female hairdresser to open a colour specialist salon and working for her has given us an understanding and the knowledge that through hard work and knowing your trade inside out, anything is possible. We are all driven by the same goal and want our business to succeed. We may differ in our opinions, which is a good thing, but we are able to listen to each other, thrash out ideas and arrive at the best decision for the company.  


What are the differences you find between working with men and working with women?  
It enables us to have more of an understanding for female issues – although that can also be tricky when a lot of hormonal women are gathered in one place! 

Was it hard to start a business during the current economic climate?
It was certainly daunting, but by researching the correct advisors in business we were guided in the right direction. 

When it comes to your salon – and business in general – what is your philosophy?
Working in an industry that is very male orientated we need to always maintain the highest standard in providing a serious approach to hair colouring and client care. Always honest yet warm. Innovative yet safe. Confident yet kind. Aspirational yet not out of reach.

What advice would you give to other women in their 20s and 30s who are dreaming of starting up their own business?
Make sure you have all the right business advice from the start. Make sure you have the best possible business plan that money can buy because without this you may fall before you even begin. Surround yourself with people who know their trade as well as you know yours – from a business standpoint you can’t do everything yourself, but you can pull together a team of professionals who can advise and give you the direction you need.

What was the hardest part of opening the salon?
Doing all the back office work, without this you cannot have business.


Four Mezanine Floor

What was easier than you thought?
Nothing, everything was much harder! Anyone that decides to go it alone (there's four of us) needs to think very hard as it's totally consuming, but certainly worthwhile.


FOUR London’s one year anniversary is on the horizon – any regrets?
None. The year has been a great learning curve; you need to make mistakes in order to learn from them. So whilst it hasn’t all been plain sailing, it has been eye opening and fun learning and sharing it together.  We’ve had great support from everyone involved in the business and our clients too – so we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Where do you see the business going in the next 5 years? 10 years?
Education is key and fundamental to the business, so it is important to us to train our next generation of colourists and instil in them the same drive and ambition as we have ourselves. Product development is also in our sights for the future along with salon expansion. Having a happy team that are full to capacity on a daily basis would be perfect. Who knows what the future holds for FOUR, but whatever it is we look forward to the challenge.

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