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November Collective

The November Collective is opening its doors very soon and we can’t wait to see what’s inside. A state-of-the-art hair and beauty destination in buzzy Livingston, a stones throw away from the gorgeous city of Edinburgh. Christopher Laird and Emma-Louise Cantwell are the brains behind this incredible space; which has been built from scratch to the pair’s specifications and spans an impressive 150 squared meters over 2 floors.

Why the November Collective? Both Christopher and Emma have November birthdays – born exactly one year and one day apart. They are planning to provide an inclusive salon experience offering services from a hand-picked collective of creatives.

After working together for 6 years, Christopher and Emma realised their relationship had the potential to start an incredible business together. The pair are always on the same wavelength and perfectly balance out each others strengths and weaknesses – can you name a better duo?

Building a salon

Can you imagine? After successfully fighting off brand giants such as Tesco and Starbucks, Emma had convinced the landlord to take a chance on their vision. ‘We had looked at so many units and even started the process with one, but something wasn’t right…We didn’t think building our own salon would ever be an option. But the landlord listened to our ideas and  and gave us the go ahead – he really believes in what we are going to create.’

Christopher and Emma were handed full creative control over the project and have worked on designing a functional salon space with a natural flow. Glass fronted over three floors, the salon is flooded with natural light, with the 32 Crittall-style windows acting as ‘picture frames’ to the views outside; the main section looks out on a river and stunning woodland which changes beautifully through the seasons. While the generous space allows for up to ten styling stations, Christopher is keen to avoid a traditional salon layout. ‘I don’t want colour clients having to sit in the same position while their colour develops, so we’ve added in different zones – there’s nothing more intimidating than staring back at yourself in the mirror for 45 minutes!’ – Agreed.

The neutral, unisex interior was designed to be gimmick-free and to provide a ‘blank canvas’ in which to work. Luxurious materials – oak floor, taupe leather chairs and green velvet beauty stools – create a feeling of calm and are accented with lush botanicals and cleverly created ‘zones’, each with their own scent. Christopher and Emma took inspiration from places they had visited – five-star hotels, local bars and Ibiza spas – to ensure their salon would appeal to a diverse clientele. ‘I’ve never been in a salon like it’ says Emma. ‘We only wanted to do it once – and right.’

Upstairs, the glass-fronted beauty mezzanine has space for six make-up artists, while an oversized wooden dining table provides a multi-functional workspace. ‘Lockdown has changed the way we live and work and shown us that clients want a versatile salon experience. We wanted to create a space that allows the customer to take their time – they can come in and use this area to take calls, have a cocktail, send emails.’ The lighting in particular has been given careful consideration; Emma worked closely with the electricians to ensure it would create the right ambience, without throwing off the accuracy of hair colours. The effect can be adjusted to suit the occasion – the pair plan on hosting events and seminars to make full use of the salon’s clever layout.

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