Spotlight on

Wonderland Hair and Beauty

November 2014

Creating the perfect salon is a dream that local hairdressers Sophie Laidlaw and Liam Wickham have been working on for years...and with a combined 26 years' experience in the hairdressing business between them, they finally opened Wonderland Hair & Beauty in Livingston in March last year.

Having heard they won a major industry prize in September – the Newcomer of the Year prize at the British Hairdressing Business Awards in London – I visited to see what it's all about.

“We've worked in many different salons and have tried to distil the best practice from across the industry into what we're creating here at Wonderland,”explains Sophie. ‘We’ve tried to do something new by creating a haven of inspiration and creativity in Livingston to rival anything found in the world’s biggest cities.” Wonderland was the only Scottish salon to make it through to the finals. All the other finalists were city centre salons, and Wonderland came home overall winners, a remarkable achievement.

A team of great stylists is the first ingredient in the recipe for success. Sophie herself works for ghd – the styling products company – and travels extensively styling hair for photoshoots and fashion shows, so she is a direct link for the salon into the fashion industry. They have recruited other experienced stylists who are attracted by the team ethos at Wonderland including most recently Kirsty, their experienced colour technician. Sophie believes that a key element of their success is their emphasis on creating a happy team as an essential first step in providing a premium service.

All customers are offered a “menu” of complimentary treatments on arrival. Currently a range of mini massages, the options vary so that there is regularly something different. The service seems very slick, which belies the careful planning and attention to detail that goes into it – everything from timing of the treatments to the brand of oils and creams used.

They have managed to achieve a first class service (“Can I take you coat? Which complimentary treatment would you like? Can I get you a coffee?”) with great hairdressing – which is afterall what it's all about – in a friendly and relaxed salon atmosphere.

So how close have they got to their perfect salon so far? “I don't think we'll ever get there totally as we're always wanting to push forward and improve, bring in new ideas and services!” says Sophie.

Call Wonderland on 01506 429922

See wonderlandlivingston.co.uk

Coffees are complimentary of course, and for tea-lovers Wonderland offer an artisan “tea of the month.” This is a really special range of teas, and the day I was there it was a delicious green and jasmine tea. [illustration]. “The idea behind the teas and coffees is that we're appealing to all the senses when you come here,” says Liam.