Since its opening in September 2021, November Collective has already grown from two creatives, co-owners Emma- Louise Cantwell and Christopher Laird, to a team of eight, with hopes to expand.
Having worked together since 2016, Cantwell and Laird’s working relationship began when they were both at Edinburgh’s The Makeup Bar, working collaboratively on clients who came in for hair and make-up services. From there, the duo began collaborating externally on weddings, photoshoots, and other freelance bookings.
The pair quickly discovered they were on the same wavelength and worked well together, so opening a salon seemed like the natural next step.
“We always wanted to open a salon, but we wanted it to be something more. It’s not just a salon, it’s an experience,” says Cantwell, “It’s a collective of creatives, and we like to call it a collective more than a salon to highlight that it is a shared collaborative space for creatives in the hair and beauty industry.”
When it came to the search for additional creatives to bring on board, Cantwell says the most important element was finding passionate, hard-working people who fit the brand’s values.
“Chris and I are so work driven, and really enjoy what we do. We wanted to find like-minded people who want to progress their career, because we’ve grown a lot and want people who are also looking to grow so that we can help and support them,” says Cantwell, “We do a lot of internal training to share what we’ve learned in our own careers, and also encourage the team to take part in courses to brush up on their skills or learn new things.”
The shared space provides creatives with opportunities they wouldn’t get in a standalone beauty salon, nail bar or hair salon. Currently offering all aspects of holistic massage, hair, make-up, nail and waxing treatments, Cantwell hopes to expand to also offer microblading services and to add an aesthetic clinic element to the space. The creatives are also encouraged to speak to all the clients who come into the space, not just their own, which helps them grow their own clientele and leads to more collaborative opportunities across the teams.
Many of the professionals also work together to create content for their social media platforms and are encouraged to seek freelance work for events like weddings together. The space, set over two floors, provides a hub for employees to explore new methods and techniques, as well as being a location open to clients for more than just treatments.
“The coronavirus pandemic has changed how a lot of people work – we have a workspace set up where clients having longer treatments can bring their laptop to work, take calls or just have a coffee while waiting for their colour to develop, for example,” says Cantwell.
The team also uses the space to host a range of events, making it even more accessible to clients, even if they aren’t coming in for treatments.
“I think it’s a great way to keep our creatives engaged and grow our relationship with customers too. A lot of our long-term clients are now our friends, and that’s thanks to having the collaborative workspace and creating a welcoming environment,” says Cantwell.