I often feel that salons, or the ‘beauty industry’, get a bad rap for encouraging questionable beauty standards and vanity but I personally don’t think that’s what they’re about. Sitting in a hair salon is always a people watchers paradise; the hustle and bustle, different people coming in and out and tea on tap.

What’s different with The Factory Hair Studio is how calm it is, granted it’s a new space but it’s been designed to create a tranquil getaway for all its guests. It feels modern but also stays true to its name. Dark wood, high windows (which is nice, you don’t get stared at), original brick archways and ceiling but its freshly painted white walls, black pipework and plants everywhere keep it light, fresh and welcoming.  

The salon owner, Adam, is a gentle giant, you get greeted with a huge smile and infectious happiness and positivity. Meeting new business owners is always lovely but being invited down to experience what the salon is about is even better. For Adam, this isn’t about opening another salon, it’s about opening a salon that offers an inclusive, safe space for every single person who walks through the doors. As we sit down with a coffee, I’m already excited to start the interview, his energy is contagious.  

So, let’s start by introducing you to the community and what you’re about!   

My name is Adam Haines and I am the owner of The Factory Hair Studio. We’re proud to be an inclusive and safe space, where everyone is welcome and hopefully has a fantastic hair experience. I’m passionate about building and development of relationships in the studio and the wider community. Our ethos is no egos and no rockstars.

It’s no secret there are a lot of salons in Northampton and the town is suffering in certain areas. What made you want to open a business here?  

People have fallen out of love with the town centre. There are so many small businesses that could help Northampton town center thrive and I hope to be part of that. This is my hometown and the hometown of so many friends and loved ones. I want, like many people, to be proud of that again. 

I think you’re the only “gender neutral” priced salon in the area, was there a reason you decided on taking that approach?  

The hairdressing industry is full of archaic practices, we’ve divided spaces into gender and race. This would be outrageous in any other industry but appears to be wholly accepted in ours. We chose to charge based on the time in the chair, not on outdated gendered pricing to start tackling this. It’s also a signal to everyone that no matter your identity, The Factory Hair Studio welcomes you, which I think is really important.  

It’s amazing to hear someone taking a different approach, I saw on your website you mentioned ‘active listening skills’ can you elaborate on that?  

During the pandemic, I had clients speak openly about their struggles with mental health and some even spoke of attempting to take their own lives, we’re blessed with our clients trust and can be a non-judgmental listening ear to their struggles. We must be able to have these conversations safely and signpost further support. I’m passionate about raising mental health awareness and am trained in counselling and active listening skills myself. Each member of staff will receive the same training for this reason, we’re not experts, but if we can be an ear when needed or help people get the support they need, we may be able to save a life.

I think it’s not only admirable but inspiring to other business owners in the community that you’re taking this approach. I know you’ve met with our Changemaker Incubator Team and student Kirstie Pope about being more accessible, tell me more about that.

When we talk about inclusivity, we tend to only think of some select groups. We should be talking about everyone. Part of growing an inclusive space is training ourselves in as many aspects of social change as possible. On top of our mental health training and LGBTQ+ support, we are learning about how to be an inclusive space for people with autism. If I’m honest, this was an area I was fairly ignorant in. Changemaker’s Kate Robinson organised a meeting with Kirstie for me, which was not only enlightening but humbling. She helped show me a myriad of ways to make my customers journey more accessible, comfortable, and enjoyable. I put the advice and guidance into action immediately, it’s helped me provide a higher quality and more personal service to our clients who have autism. 

Is there anything that excites you about being a business owner?  

I’m excited for a lot of different reasons. I’m excited to provide a space for passionate stylists to grow and develop with the freedom to choose their hours, services, and prices. The space also excites me, I want clients and customers to feel at home, openly talk and build a relationship with their stylist. 

I’m excited to stand for strength in the community and support our local services and charities, using the studio as a platform to help social change. We have information on display for Q Space already. 

I am excited to change the culture around what hairdressing is. To move away from egos and chasing awards and move towards the needs of the client, respecting their time and their goals. Most of all I’m excited to be creative on my own terms and help people fall in love with their hair but also to help them if they need it.  

Your positivity is contagious, and I love that, final question. What are your hopes or dreams for the future?

I hope to make non-gendered universal pricing an industry standard and to be an example of how the old ways aren’t set in stone. I want the studio to be known as a place where everyone is welcome, and we can serve as a beacon for the industry to see that inclusivity and social responsibility are no longer options but moral standards.

I want The Factory Hair Studio to be a space of creativity, helping stylists rediscover their passion for hair and giving them back the control and flexibility to work how they want to work. Mostly I want everyone who walks into The Factory Hair Studio to feel welcome, understood and listened to and then walk out with great hair and a smile on their face.

We’re excited to see what Adam and The Hair Factory Studio does next, check out their website here or find them on Instagram.

If you think you would benefit from our support or want to find out more about how the Changemaker Incubator Team can support contact us today!

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