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Local Spotlight: The Parlour, Chiswick

Local Spotlight: The Parlour, Chiswick

The Parlour London

Jacqueline Fletcher started The Parlour, a boutique blow-dry and bohemian braid bar in Chiswick, two years ago. Guided by a goal to ‘bring back the neighbourhood’, her salon aims for a girly yet relaxed vibe, a comfortable place to bring yourself, your friends, even your kids. We asked Jacqueline how she came to start her salon, about balancing work with a new baby, and about her plans for The Parlour’s future.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m from Boston, Massachusetts, and I’ve lived in the UK for nearly ten years now (crazy how quickly time flies by!). Whilst at uni, I decided to put myself to the test and come here on my own for an adventure for a few months. I ended up falling in love with the city and with my husband, made a bunch of fantastic friends, and over time England has become my home. We’ve now moved out of the city to a lovely little country village 20 miles north of London, and I absolutely adore it. It’s a great place for our little baby boy to grow up. He’s only six months old but already really enjoys our long country walks.

headshotWhat did you do before setting up The Parlour?

I studied interior architecture and psychology at uni and then went on to work in sales, corporate branding, and interior design for a while. I became disillusioned with how black and white and boring it all became—the opposite of why I decided to study arts and design in the first place. So I thought I’d make my skills work for me, start my own business, see if I could have some fun.

What inspired you to set up your business?

Both my parents had their own businesses when I was growing up and I always liked the idea of being in charge of my own schedule. My mum is in the beauty business back home and I used to think I would open up a salon with her there—but obviously I never returned. The tipping point came when I went to a ridiculously overpriced salon in north London and hated every second of it. It was grey-scale, like nearly every single salon you see on every high street everywhere. Everyone wore black, loud awful music, and a general air of ‘we’re better than you’. They poured me the most revolting glass of wine I ever had and then slapped me with a crazy bill for the privilege. It was in that moment I knew I could do better. So I did. I put my branding and design background to use and created The Parlour—retro salon with a twist.

What makes The Parlour different from other salons?

I think sometimes going to the salon can be a little intimidating so I decided to break the mould and try something totally different. The Parlour is inspired by the nostalgia of ‘grandma’s kitchen’—warm, comforting, and kind. We have lovely cakes and cocktails on offer, all the time, all complimentary and we play real music, none of that techno pop crap, so it’s really easy to settle in and get comfy. Nearly all our decor is either upcycled or handmade and we showcase artwork from local artists. We have lots of bright and cheery pastel tones in the shop and in all it makes for a very inviting and girly atmosphere. Our stations are designed to make it easy to bring the kids along (we get lots of friends coming in together too). Although we do get extremely busy, we take great care to never rush our clients as we do appreciate how valuable the ever-elusive ‘me time’ really is. We’re not flash—or loud—nor do we aim (or claim!) to be ultra high-end. It’s not about being showy, it’s simply about giving you the quality and time you deserve.


What types of services do you offer?

We started off as just a boutique blow-dry and boho braid bar, but our clients have been so fiercely loyal we’ve had to extend into colouring and cuts as well. We’ve got a few seriously talented colourists on board who’ve been doing this stuff at really high end salons around the world so it makes sense to use their skills! We’re quite regularly featured in London’s top ‘best of’ lists for blow-dries, but we do get people travelling in from across London and the suburbs just for our vintage and bohemian up-styles. Our braid bar is starting to get insanely popular too—lots of mainstream TV programs and movies feature these plaits and we’re starting to see them on the runway a lot more too so there’s definitely a rise in demand which is really exciting to see. We also throw really lovely tailored parties (great for kids, birthdays, hens, and brides) and our ‘learn how to’ workshops are always loads of fun too.

You’ve recently had a baby—how are you juggling motherhood and running the business?

It’s hard. The little one needs my attention almost constantly but so does The Parlour (especially when it’s doing really well) so I do struggle to get the balance right sometimes. Having said that, I think I’d die of boredom if I didn’t have both now. I guess I got used to the pressure—I can’t even remember what I did with all the spare time I must have had before the baby came! I do really enjoy being able to create my own hours and working from home, but sometimes it’s hard to get anything done at all. I guess there’s pluses and minuses to every situation, but for now I think I am handling it as best I can. I like having things to do, being busy.

What are your plans for The Parlour?

In August we’ll have been open for two years, and I’m hoping by then we’ll be able to start looking into opening up a new shop a bit more central/east. Ideally the goal will be to have three or four completely individual Parlours dotted around town, tailored to their own neighbourhoods. We’ve already got a great idea in mind for the next one and are really excited to get started!

For more about The Parlour, see their website.

The Parlour is located at: 8 Devonshire Road, London W4 2HD, United Kingdom

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