'It's more than just hair': The Leeds salon and events space dreaming big with summer events and fine art
For the clients who have scooped a sought-after appointment at award-winning Leeds salon TINT, their visit is about more than getting their hair cut.
It's a chance to enjoy a day out in the city, let their hair down - quite literally - and have a much-needed natter after months in lockdown.
TINT's owners Matthew Sutcliffe and Steven Whiteley are in the midst of a busy few weeks, extending their opening hours to fit in clients who are scrambling to get an appointment.
For the pair, who have more than a decade of experience in hair, the focus is on quality over quantity - that's been at the core of their independent business since they opened in North Street in 2017.
Matthew told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We’ve got a nice yin and yang situation. Steven does the managerial side and I do the artistic stuff. It was a great opportunity to go into business together, and we get on, so that helps.
“We're both in the salon every day, we’re driving it from the front. We don’t have pockets of cash to throw at it, so we have to think on our feet and be inventive."
The 21-strong team at TINT recently scooped a prize for the 'best salon team' at Creative Head magazine’s Most Wanted 2020 awards.
It's a rarity for a salon with a mix of self-employed and employed staff to win such an award, Matthew said, and the team spirit is at the centre of their business.
“When we’re training our staff, it’s not just about how to do the hair," the 37-year-old added.
"It’s about communicating with clients, letting them really enjoy themselves.
"We ask the team for ideas, we’re always bouncing off each other for ways to drive the business forward, rather than standing back and trying to manage it from a birds’ eye point of view.
"We’re right in the thick of it and we understand what people want - not just the clients, but what our team wants too. They play a big part of what we do."
TINT doubles up as a multi-functional space hosting photoshoots for fashion designers and there's evening events on the cards when restrictions ease this summer.
The salon was transformed into a fine art gallery when it reopened following the first lockdown, hosting the artwork of local painter Nina Hunter.
Another young illustrator, Chloé Mead, will launch her new collection with a big soirée at the salon at the end of July.
Matthew added: “We really wanted to work with local people. As a new business, the best way to get new clients through the door is to work locally and create a community around our area.
"Nina's work got people’s attention. Clients have bought a few of the paintings, it was such a cool thing to have in the salon."
Matthew's advice for people in Leeds who want to support independent businesses?
“Just get yourself out," he said
"One of my clients today has been to get her hair cut, then she’s off for a drink, she'll do some shopping and probably hit about five different businesses.
"Go shopping, go to hair salons - make a day of it, rather than it just being one destination."
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