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New Wave

Based in Littlestone, Kent, Curl Up & Dye is the vision of Chris Clifton. But as with all grand designs, not everything went to plan. Read on for Chris’ inspirational story.

new wave salon refit


About 18 years ago, I had a funky, beach-themed salon, called the Bleach Hut; it was very cool. We had half surfboards sticking out of the wall that acted as our styling stations; yellow sand tiles, driftwood mirrors and mirrors framed with flip flops. We had really bright acid green, yellow and orange walls, Hawaiian shirts on the walls – we even had a stuffed shark on the window! It was very, very cool, but fortunately for my clients my taste has changed since then!

With this salon, I was going for more of a boutique feel with a luxurious baroque or regal twist, underpinned with retro accents. We had been trading for a couple of years several doors along from our new location so I had already done the hard work of choosing the colours. I wanted to replicate our old salon on a much bigger, more grand scale. I really like interior design so I enjoy putting things like this together. The idea behind the colour originally came from my bank; several years ago it had a makeover and they chose a lilac and silver colour scheme. I asked the bank clerk why they had chosen lilac (as it seemed a bit out of place) and she explained that they had commissioned a study into colour and the results were that lilac-based colours were the most relaxing. Now, when their clients are kept waiting in the queue the effect of the colour helps to keep them calm and stop them from getting stressed.

So I decided that when I opened my next salon I would use the same tactic to ensure the most relaxing experience possible for my clients – especially if we are running late! I chose to vamp up the colour from lilac to a deep mulberry to create a decadent, luxurious feel that would complement the boutique styling.

new wave salon refit 2


Yes, I had a budget, but unfortunately it went way over. In fact it was double what I initially thought I would need! I had to do some serious begging… I needed to do a lot of major structural work and have all new utilities brought in, before we could even think about the electrics, heating, plumbing, plastering, flooring, etc. The building had been left derelict for almost two years, so it was overrun with rats, and had big holes in the roof. There were also lots of walls where I didn’t want them to be and the floors weren’t all on the same level! Everything that had been done to the property previously had been bodged over the years by cowboys. Coupled with the property being 125 years old, it was like opening a can of worms; every job would lead to another job. I also had nightmares with builders, resulting in me having to sack two different firms before I finally got the builders I wanted. So, all in all, the build took the best part of a very stressful year. On top of this I was also running my old salon!


Capital were amazing, Sue and her team over at my local branch of Capital in Ashford have always looked after me. They really went out of their way to make sure I was happy and that I got what I wanted when it came to the furniture. Let’s be honest, you are making a major purchase when you are kitting out a salon and it can seem a bit daunting, especially when you’re having items custom made to order, but the team at Capital made it so much easier. Nothing was too much for them; I’m not sure you would get that kind of service anywhere else.

new wave salon refit 3


  1. You get what you pay for; cut hair not corners.
  2. Plan, plan, plan. You can never plan ahead enough.
  3. Invest in a good coffee machine for your builders.
  4. Be original, be brave and do your own thing.
  5. More is more when it comes to lighting - you can never have enough.

Even though you’re going to be spending a lot of time at the salon and you want to feel at home there yourself, look at things from a client’s point of view. Put yourself in their mind-set, from when they first enter the reception to when they leave the salon. Dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’, when planning your clients’ experience, after all, they are the ones who will ultimately be paying for your salon.

Sounds like a great salon, right? Well if you can see yourself working there, Chris would love to hear from you! Please call the salon on 01797 367777 or email |

If you'd like Capital to help you fit your dream salon, email our furniture specialist on or click here. Just want to browse our range of furniture and equipment? Click here

Originally published in Capital Hair & Beauty Spring Magazine 2017