Salon of the Month · Cutting Room Creative, Chapel Allerton

Thirty-two years ago, Chapel Allerton, a village on the outskirts of Leeds, was firmly placed on the hairdressing map with the opening of Cutting Room Creative.  Under the leadership of owners Charles and Karen Dodds, the salon has gone on to win numerous awards and grown to become one of the most celebrated salons in the UK.

The couple were immediately drawn to Chapel Allerton as the place for their new venture. Says Charles: “Chapel Allerton was, and still is, a fantastic village on the immediate outskirts of Leeds city centre. It has its own vibe that is quite unique and we wanted to be part of that. Plus, we found a fantastic space that we have since managed to enlarge twice and now have a 4500 sq ft salon.”

Becoming a Destination Salon

Cutting Room Creative

Being off the beaten track, the salon needed to offer something special in order to attract people from surrounding areas. Charles and Karen were determined to make it a destination salon. Client service was and still is, at the heart of what makes Cutting Room Creative just that. Says Karen: “Consistency really is the buzz word here. We, like many salons, introduce new innovations but once introduced they need to be delivered each and every visit to each and every client. We have developed our own in-house course called the ‘Perfect Client Journey’ and every one of our team is trained and retrained as this concept naturally evolves as hairdressing itself evolves. Consultation really is the key, but following through and delivering fantastic service at every visit from our front of house all the way through to our coffee ladies keeps our clients coming year after year.”

Team Players

Also, key to ensuring Cutting Room Creative delivers consistency and continues to be a destination salon, is ensuring the team members are always motivated. Says Charles: “I like to think that Cutting Room Creative is a great place to work. All of our team members are treated as individuals and a training programme for each team member, following a needs and ambition module, is always delivered. The feeling of family is very strong in the salon (they call themselves the CRC Massive) and yet we feel treating everyone as individuals is key to creating this environment. Hairdressers love to learn and we love to teach. In 32 years, we have delivered more than 180 successful apprenticeships (this year we have recruited eight new apprentices). We are very proud that the reputation of the salon and our training programme has ensured that we keep our team intact and are still managing to find great young recruits.”

KeraStraight's Role in Our Success

A major part of staying ahead of the competition is to constantly evolve by offering new services, and in 2013 Charles and Karen decided to add KeraStraight to their treatments menu. A decision they have never regretted.

"KeraStraight was a natural choice"

Says Karen: “We wanted to offer a smoothing service to our clients which complimented our brand of hairdressing and delivered what it promised – beautiful hair. As a big colour salon, integrity and condition of the hair are paramount to us. After much research KeraStraight was a natural choice.”

“The full KeraStraight smoothing service has always been number one for us, closely followed by Intense Boost,” adds Charles. “Our clients love KeraStraight. Both the stylist and clients also appreciate that, in the past five years, the service has become less complex, quicker and even better for the hair. It is fairly rare in hairdressing to introduce a whole new service and yet KeraStraight achieved this. Client demand was high as this was something lots of people craved and didn’t know how to achieve it. We also ensure it is prominent on our menu and our salon literature, which of course generates new and consistent revenue.”

 Karen and Charles Dodds

With 32 years of success behind them, Charles and Karen have built a sturdy foundation to take the business forward. And with a strong team in place, the couple have plans to use those skills to allow them to evolve their own roles within the business. Says Charles: “Training is still our passion and introducing young people into the fantastic world we all work in and developing the skill sets of all our team continues to be high on our agenda but we are going through an exciting period of management change. As directors, we are now moving into a more advisory role. To that end, we are bringing through some of the younger team members into prominent management positions. Once upon a time, it was just the two of us supported by a general manager. We now have a salon management team of seven including a financial director, each with their own area of responsibility ensuring that going forward, Cutting Room Creative stays on top of its game.”

KeraStraight looks forward to working with Cutting Room Creative for the next 32 years and beyond.