Salon in the Spotlight: The Studio, Aberdeen

By Kat Hill | 24 March 2021 | Feature, Salon & Spas

The Studio Aberdeen

Having been in the industry for over 20 years, Sammy MacDonald has grown her beauty business from the ground up. “My salon business opened on the 1 December 2016 with the Victoria Street branch,” reveals Sammy. “I took on half of the building as at the time I could not afford the full unit myself. Peaches Wax Bar occupied the other half. The salon grew quickly and we bought the Peaches Aberdeen branch and created a big salon with eight nail stations, two pedicure stations, three brow stations, six treatment rooms and a spray tan area.

“On the 9 November 2019, I opened the second branch in a suburb of Aberdeen called Bridge of Don. This branch has five nail stations, a brow station, two pedi spas and two treatment rooms. We were due to open our third branch in March 2020 within the John Lewis store in Aberdeen. However, Covid-19 had different plans, but thankfully the branch opened within John Lewis on the 20 November 2020. This is currently a temporary contract with the view to hopefully become a permanent stance when things return to normal.”

With three salon setup, the key to the business’ success is Sammy’s focus on teamwork. “The salon is based around the team,” Sammy smiles. “My team come before everything else – including the customers.

“I have always worked with the ethos that if you keep your team happy, this will follow down through and your clients will feel effect.”

“We focus so much time on staff development and training. I am the co owner of The Aberdeen Academy of Beauty Therapy and staff are expected to attend courses here on a very regular basis. During lockdown, we have focused largely on online training and all of the staff have updated their skills and tried really hard to keep their skills fresh even when the salons are currently closed.”

The salons are bright and welcoming, offering a clean, fresh space for clients to have their beauty needs met. “It’s always been so important to me that the clients can walk in and see immediately how fresh and clean the salon is,” Sammy explains.

“Anyone that knows me will tell you that I always wear a classic set of red nails; I never wear anything else on my nails. I really wanted to incorporate some of this into the salon design, but with red being a ‘danger’ colour I was wary of using it. I already had the red ‘S’ in my logo for ‘Red Sammy’ but I felt the salon lacked warmth and personality. I decided to incorporate some red touches in the way of red roses, my favourite flowers.

“When the flower wall arrived I was so worried! It was so different from all the pretty pink salons that surround mine, but once it was up I was in love and there was no stopping our red rose theme. I found a local florist to make us the most beautiful door arch for the main branch and a rose trail under the sign in the Bridge of Don branch. Now everyone comments on our very different but beautiful colour choice.”

The salon achieved finalist status in the Scratch Stars Awards 2020/21 in the Nail & Beauty Salon of the Year category. “It felt absolutely amazing!” smile Sammy. “Our team were finalists before and we attended the awards evening in London. It was an amazing evening!

“The team made me promise we would go back again and walk away with an award! So, I had to enter to try and upkeep my promise.”

“I have won a Scratch Stars Award with the salon I owned before The Studio and it really is the biggest and best award you can achieve in the UK. To be a finalist with the amazing team I have now blows me away.

“I’m very lucky to have every single one of them! I love seeing us achieve and accomplish our goals together. The team has worked so hard to help grow the business with me it really is a full team effort and to se the team get the recognition they deserve is amazing.

“Thanks Scratch for running these amazing awards!”