The singer Morissey once said: “I do maintain that if your hair is wrong, your entire life is wrong.” So it’s just as well a new salon has opened up in Mill Hill offering the discerning gentleman a range of grooming options that are top notch, but do not break the bank.
The brainchild behind the Stag Gentleman’s Grooming Salon, located in the Broadway, is Josh King, a hairdresser since his teens. The shop opened in October and King tells me – five days later, his voice hoarse – that he has not managed to get home most nights before 11pm.
“It’s been madness. It’s beyond amazing. We’ve aimed for 15 new clients this week and we ended up with 52,” he says. “I turned away 10 people today. If I don’t manage to get a third stylist in the next week, I’m in big trouble.”
His salon shop is luxurious, with its trendy striped wallpaper, leather sofas and high quality furnishings. You could be forgiven for thinking you are in the City, not suburbia. King says this was his aim.
“The main thing that I think is attracting everyone straight away is that it’s the nicest-looking shop in the Broadway and I’ve made it look like no other,” he says.
“We are not a barber shop and we are not a hairdresser – we are one of a kind. We are a very high-end luxury male grooming salon. The difference is we are not charging extortionate prices. They are very reasonable. Our motto is to do everything that no-one else is doing. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing in the whole of north-west London that can compare.”
Modelled along the lines of Ted Baker’s Ted’s Grooming Rooms or the Murdock salons in central London, the Stag is described by King as “a gentleman’s club where you can chill”.
The prices are indeed reasonable: a gentleman’s beard shape-up starts from £10.
King, 30, continues: “We do anything from hot towel wet shaves to ear flaming, a whisky bar, nose-hair trimming, eyebrow shaping …”
Despite the salon opening only recently, King adds: “All we’re going to be doing is expanding, taking it to threading, manicuring, anything a man wants … even if it’s just popping in and chilling out and having a drink.”
He’s already found that men are eager for the whole experience. “I thought we’d be doing 20 cuts and every other person would be having the wet shave, but it’s been the complete opposite,” he says.
King started learning the trade at Laurence Stoll, in Mowbray Parade, Edgware, before training at Daniel Adams in Mill Hill.
After qualifying,aged 19, as a hairdresser, he started his career in HOB Salon in Mill Hill, where he became the assistant manager within the space of 18 months. After winning the ‘assistant manager of the year’ award, he was promoted to manager at HOB Salons’ Hatch End branch, where he worked for more than three years.
“Then, after reaching my full potential and feeling there was nowhere further I could go, for the past two-and-a-half years I’ve built a salon at my home in Bushey and gone to full capacity and can finally fulfil the dream I have wanted,” says the former JFS schoolboy.
“For the past 15 years, my passion has always been to open my own salon – and it’s not just about the haircut; it’s all about the service.
“It’s not about being a conveyor belt, a customer coming straight in and straight out again. We offer half-hour consultations with all our clients before cutting their hair.”
From the moment he got into hairdressing, King says he has been exceptionally ambitious and passionate about his craft. “Hairdressing is a very hard game to make an amazing success of yourself,” he admits. “I always wanted to do something special and you can’t be a good hairdresser unless you love it. I’ve always had that passion. I owe that to my customers who followed me to my salon at home.”
No expense has been spared on the products used in the Stag, which include brands such as Hanz de Fuko – of which David Beckham is said to be a fan – eShave, Hairbond and Blind Barber.
Of the services he offers, King is most proud of the Works, priced at £40. “It’s the ultimate experience package,” he explains. “You’re in there for about one-and-a-half hours and we aim to make you feel relaxed and to have the best experience of your life.”
“You come in, you choose your own whisky, you take a seat, you have a long consultation and you get your beautiful haircut. You lie down, you have your own hot towel, wet shave; and we then put several moisturisers and prepping lotions on.
“We flame your ears, we hot towel wet-shave your neck, we tidy your eyebrows, we go over the blow dry, and then we sit with you and explain what we’ve done and show you how to get the same result at home. It’s not about just looking good for a day.”
King certainly dreams big. “My motto is that good is not good enough – you have to be exceptional, and that’s what we’ve aimed the Stag to be,” he says.
I want it to be an empire. We’d like a shop in every area, a training academy. I have big plans for the salon, but the main thing is we want to blow people away.”
• Details: www.facebook.com/TheStag2208