How a Hair Expert Found Success in the UK

Hair expert and co-founder, Amanda Dicker created success with her salon brand and London hair salon

Hair expert, Amanda Dicker is the co-founder and Concept Director of the award-winning UK hair salon brand, The Chapel which she founded with her husband Toby.

As well as her London hair salon, Amanda has opened salons in Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and Verbier and the brand is famed for providing the ultimate customer service experience.

The Chapel clients, or ‘guests’ as they like to call people, return time and time again for quality haircuts, outstanding colors and treatments, delivered by Amanda’s skilled and caring team of hair professionals and hair experts.

Hair expert Amanda Dicker is the Founder of The Chapel Hair Salon

Co-founder and hair expert Amanda Dicker at The Chapel in London

I believe that whatever you create, if it comes from the heart with real conviction, it will always be special

Here Amanda tells Nativa World what inspired her to build her company with her husband and what makes The Chapel Islington  different to other London hair salons…

Amanda, what does the word ‘Achieve’ mean to you?

Achievement begins simply with attaining your goals, whatever they may be. The idea of achievement has developed over the years to focus more on helping others to attain their goals as part of your own process. This just feels more constructive for me. It’s less ego-driven and ultimately, far more satisfying.

Can you outline your business journey so far?

I think most people end up going into business for themselves because they have a vision of how something can be improved by doing it differently. That was certainly my motivation. If there had already been a chain of salons like The Chapel, I’d probably have just asked them for a job and been perfectly happy – as long as I got it! But, at the time, I could see a gaping space in the industry for a boutique, luxury experience where guests felt relaxed and pampered and also where they had the chance to consult about their hair with experts who really listened and then created individual styles for them that complimented peoples physicality and expressed their personality. That’s when a hairstyle can give you a life-changing confidence boost. We never saw this as a market opportunity. We just passionately wanted to give people a better salon experience. I believe that whatever you create, if it comes from the heart with real conviction, it will always be special.

What have you learned most of all as a hair expert and co-founder?

To trust in your vision and have confidence in the talents of others. I always felt convinced that what I wanted to create was something that people would really want. That philosophy set the foundations on which we’ve built our incredible team and it attracted like-minded professionals who are some of the very best in the hair salon business.

What would you have done differently?

In hindsight, I wish I had stepped back from things a little earlier – it’s something I’ve only managed to do quite recently. For the first twelve years I would obsess about every facet of the business 24/7. When a business is your baby it’s sometimes hard to get perspective. When I eventually did, I realized that my baby was grown-up and could take care of itself, regardless of whether I was sweating about the small stuff at 6am on a Sunday morning or not.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Our founding principles were built around one key acronym R.E.S.T: Relaxation, Education, Service, and Tailored treatments. These essential founding principles encapsulate The Chapel experience and ensure customers build a relationship of real trust with expert stylists, receive their perfect treatments, understand how to care for their own hair and enjoy an utterly pleasurable and totally stress-free experience. Straightforward as it sounds, the numerous details involved in delivering this are immense. We constantly tailor, monitor, and review our service to ensure we’re offering the most we possibly can, at any given time. It’s an ongoing challenge, but it’s a crucial function that helps us tread the line between confidence in our product, and complacency.

Do you think female entrepreneurs face many barriers?

Perceiving yourself as female entrepreneur rather just an entrepreneur. Successful businesswomen have to stop thinking about themselves as some rare protected species, regardless of the fact our gender remains woefully under-represented as business owners and at board level. To this day, female owned start-ups get less funding interest from investors, but the only real way to change that is the hard road to making your business a success regardless of unfair obstacles.

How important is having a fantastic hairstyle at work?

I believe looking good and feeling good are entirely symbiotic. If you know you’re looking your very best you can’t help feeling good about yourself. If you’re already feeling fantastic about yourself, it projects from you, so chances are you’re already looking good too. Looking good helps so many of us maintain our confidence, which in turn ignites our energy, passion and creativity which to me are the essential tools for achieving your goals.

What are your favorite haircare products?

Redken Colour – this is a color that camouflages white hair and will make the hair look and feel younger. Redken Shades EQ hair gloss for the hair – this is a lip gloss for the hair, and will prevent you from looking like a sucked out ice-lolly! Shu Uemura Essence Absolute – this is like a vitamin tablet for your hair, making it healthy on the outside and stronger on the inside.

What’s special about The Chapel?

For exactly the same reasons as any of our other visiting guests- the fact that we don’t blindly follow trends, but rather use our accumulated experience to create timeless styles which are the visual expression of each guests true personality. All this is done in a luxury, five-star environment with customer service to match. That’s what makes a visit to The Chapel not only special, but very unique.

Amanda’s Travel Tips:

  • Carry a small bag with one black dress that you can wear in many different ways, you never know when it’ll be a lifesaver!
  • Take coconut oil for your skin because it’s good for the inside and out: it prevents you from eating rubbish! It also makes your skin look and feel younger.
  • Have a meditation app like Headspace installed on your phone or tablet to keep yourself relaxed and less stressed.
  • Hydrate properly!
  • Take a scented candle with you to make you feel at home in your hotel.

Amanda’s Startup Tips:

  • The best businesses are those that are born from experience and a hungry, natural passion – not just money-spinning ideas.
  • Always keep to your core brand values, don’t move away from them.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people.
  • Don’t discount, add value.
  • Always see it from the customer’s point of view.

Amanda’s Haircare Tips For Travel:

  • Go with your natural hair flow: if it’s curly be curly, go with it and not against it – this will save you time.
  • Always carry a decent hairdryer, leave the best shoes behind and make space for this!
  • Carry hair oil, this is like a lip gloss for your hair!
  • Invest your money in the best haircut as you would that perfect dress that always compliments your shape.
  • Invest time before you go away in finding the right quick hair-up tips for that all-important meeting.

Photography courtesy of Amanda Dicker & The Chapel