Islington People: Emma Rees
Come the weekend at Emma Rees’ Islington hair salon, girls gather in their glad rags and sip wine as they get they get their locks styled super-quick before heading out and painting the town red.
The Blow Bar in Camden Passage was established by the 32-year-old in 2010 under the concept of just offering blow drying with a series of nine styles, from vintage waves to high-fashion up dos, or tailor-made designs for customers to choose from.
Australian-born Emma, who has a five-month-old daughter, came up with the idea for the business during a trip to New York City with her husband. She said: “There were lots of these blow drying bars around the city and I just thought it really needed doing back in the UK. I had a couple of salons back in Oz and wanted to get my teeth stuck into it again.”
“I just wanted to give people a bit of affordable luxury. In these times of recession a lot of people find they don’t have the money or the time to get their hair coloured and styled, put a blow dry is a nice pick me up in between cuts.”
Explaining the inspiration behind the styles, she said: “We all get together and start doing look books and look at what’s key in fashion but at the same time what’s a little bit unique to us. For example, we have the Grecian braid which is quite modern but we also have vintage waves.”
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The clientele starts at the age of 17 upwards, while a private Blow Bar room upstairs caters for groups of women celebrating various occasions including hen parties and birthdays. There’s even space to get changed and lockers to store things overnight.
Emma added: “Come Friday and Saturday night, the music gets cranked up, the wine is flowing and we are where the party starts. The women arrive already dressed and ready to go – we’ve got mirrors for them to touch up their make-up after and then they head out on to one of Islington’s many bars.”
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Plans are afoot to expand the business this year and there are already two Blow Bar concessions in Virgin Active gyms, as well as mobile hair styling across London.