Siobhan and Philipp Haug are not only husband and wife but also business partners. The couple opened their first own hair salon HAUG LONDON HAUS in Central London in December 2022. Before setting up their own business, they have been working in leading positions at hairdressing giant TONI&GUY. The two of them are both winning big titles in the hairdressing industry – ‘London Hairdresser of the Year’ and ‘British Colour Technician of the Year’. In the interview, we talk about winning competitions, and they tell us about their personal concept for business success.
Congratulations to your very own salon Haug London Haus! You opened in one of the most expensive areas of London, Westminster. How would you describe your first four and a half months as business owners?
Philipp: We feel really lucky that we have our own shop now. As we had a lot of clients waiting for us to open our doors, we had a really busy December. So, we had a good start. Then there were a few weeks right after Christmas when it got fairly quiet here. That was probably because in our area are a lot of offices and there were train strikes at the time. But we did get anxious for a moment thinking: wow what did we do? But from then on, we became busier and busier – to the extent that we extended our team with three hairdressers who are also really good friends of ours. It`s amazing!
You decided to take the leap and go on the adventure of starting something on your own. Was this a gut decision, born out of passion, determination, and confidence? Or were there months or even years weighing up pros and cons, maybe overcoming fear, doubts, and hesitation?
Siobhan: We knew we would definitely open a salon at some point, and we had a really clear vision of how it would look, what the vibe would be. But of course, there was a nervousness. It`s a big thing to make the jump especially as we`ve got two young children. But ultimately, we felt really confident in what we were doing and what we were about to create: something quite small and boutique with a very independent hospitality-focussed ethos. We want to be a warm, open, and inviting space for people.
Philipp, you became London Hairdresser of the Year 2018/2019, and Siobhan, you won the title British Colour Technician of the Year 2021. What prompted you to take up the challenge – which always implies the possibility of losing?
Siobhan: Competitions give you great exposure. Plus, you meet new people and potentially new clients. Also, people want to feel confident in who they`re going to in a salon. And having a title like ‘British Colour Technician of the Year’ or ‘London Hairdresser of the Year’ gives confidence in your specialty to clients. Because it proves that you understand your topic.
Phillip: One big part of what we do is also hairdressing education. Awards make you stand out and that can help attract hairdressers to come to your courses.
I`ve read that for you both there were several years when you competed and didn`t win anything– Philipp, I think you entered 10 times before your big win. How did you keep up your faith? Also, how did you not lose confidence and not take it personally?
Philipp: This is a general decision that you need to make often in life: when you don`t get what you want you have only two options: you either walk away from it – and then it bothers you for the rest of your life – or you try until you have what you want. Since I have won, I feel completely different about the award. Now it`s something that I ticked off my list. Before I had a real love-hate relationship with it.
Siobhan: There is a huge amount of evolution that happens when doing competitions. You get better every year. So even when you still haven`t won, the progression is so strong, you become such a stronger hairdresser in that area. So, I think it`s worth it just from that perspective alone. Philipp won three years before me and his winning gave me a lot of strength because it made it attainable for me. Because seeing someone I love and who I`m close to succeed and get that title – and him having so much confidence in me… Year after year he said: ‘This is your year! You will get it!’ And he said it in such a matter-of-fact way that I thought ‘Oh yeah, he`s probably right, I probably will get it then’. And in the end, I did.
This is such a great story!
Philipp: I`m very realistic about competitions. Last year for example: with a little bit more luck I could have won again. At the same time I`m aware that when I did win the title, with a little bit more luck for someone else, they would have won it. And I believe that when you`re out there and the quality is there, then you will get to that one year when you just have that lucky punch.
Are you planning to keep on entering competitions?
Siobhan: Yes absolutely! It`s creative hairdressing, and that`s something that we are still passionate about. And for us, it`s now also about the business.
Philipp: We do have a different focus with the business in mind. This year we are also entering business awards.
In your salon you don`t only offer the usual hair salon services like cutting and dying hair but also education for upcoming hairdressers. You take styling jobs on the Fashion Weeks in London and New York, you enter awards. And you have a family with two kids and your youngest daughter is still a baby. How do you guys manage it all?
Philipp: Obviously, it`s been a bit crazy over the last couple of months and we are a little bit overworked. But it`s really nice in our team here, everyone is very equal. We have amazing hairdressers in our salon and that makes it really easy for us. Even when there`s a day when we aren`t in the salon, we know that everything will run just as well as if we were here.
What`s your vision for Haug London Haus?
Philipp: We made a conscious decision that we wanted to have something small. The costs in Central London are high but they are controllable. A smaller space allows us to grow slowly and organically. The dream is to become more recognized, build our salon profile in and around London even bigger and make as much noise as we can.
Sounds like a good plan!
Siobhan: What`s really important to us is to keep our identity which is what our clients love about us: they are not rushed or hurried, but this is a place where they can come to and relax, where they sit in the bar afterward and have a drink. We want to always keep this warm hospitable feeling that is synonymous with our name. Funny enough, this area is known for restaurants having queues outside – we have a Hot Chocolate Café at the end of the road where people queue up, we have a beautiful restaurant next door where people queue up – and it would be quite nice if we soon had people queuing outside Haug London Haus!