I am a lover of ‘hand-crafted experience’, featured in this great podcast (Masters of Scale). Especially as a fresh Newtech business owner. At the core of WrenewApp and the entire business activity, there is the principle of small steps, the idea that slow and steady wins every race.
Passing on the Hairdresser Craft
This is the spirit that I have immediately recognised in Tony Napolitano and his legacy business, although our fields of activity are nothing alike. He is the descendant of a family with a long hairdresser tradition. I found Tony’s hair and beauty salon on Holloway Road, London, a street filled with independent shops, that maintain the foundation of the UK economy. Generation after generation Napolitano family passed on this artful skill, to the point that his grandmother, Nicola Napolitano who had eight children, gave this profession to no less than seven of them. She is also the one who established the first hair salon business in Clerkenwell, way back in 1927. Then came Tony who set up his hair salon in 1979, and named it Headlites.
Traditions at Every Corner
Though immediately cozy, Tony’s salon strikes you with a deep touch of history. A tasteful gathering of traditional and vintage hairdresser tools, which doesn’t look old at all, but refined. Everything speaks about the hard work put into this business by an entire family lineage passed-on. Tony’s client communication system is all done via telephone.
He only uses a paper notebook to write down the programming hours and details about the clients after a short discussion on the phone. Yet this traditional way of keeping in contact with his clientele finds a good reflection within our Wrenew platform. How could this be? We have a manual booking feature that suits Tony’s business style perfectly. This feature allows Tony to add all his bookings manually to his calendar, with the option of having additional notes for each appointment.
Blissful Human Interaction
Tony says that talking on the phone is of real help. “It gives him the time to understand his client’s needs. This is exactly what his customers come to Tony’s salon for. Especially women, whose hair always needs a personal touch, need to be heard.” In our current world where almost everything tends to be replaced by tech solutions, everybody needs a warm emotional understanding and a human interaction full of comfort. Hair and beauty services are a good way to satisfy these deeply rooted human needs. WrenewApp has a feature that reflects it, furthermore, it will greatly benefit from Tony’s feedback.
Tony managed to somehow keep the prices for his services low, over the years. He even kept the same accessible fees for all the beauty services after reopening his location, following the 2020 lockdown. He is lucky enough to fully own the building, so he decided to maintain good prices. It is all part of his concern for the local community’s stability, and for providing quality services that everybody can afford.
Harmonizing Tech and Community
Despite Tony’s traditional way of doing business, he is very open to new technologies and innovation. He is very comfortable with the idea of taking his business online. The only mention he has is that this transformation will happen organically, no sooner than at the right moment for Headlites. Tony is focused on providing services that connect his local community and give them a space to bond. So the online direction will happen in a manner that encourages and enhances these values.
Pitching Wrenew to Tony and his heritage background was not an easy job. Thus I am even more grateful for the insight I got on my audience’s requirements. I could go as far as to even say that Tony and his collection of traditional statement tools inspired me to go in the direction of a direct connection with people and the community’s needs.
Care for All Community Members
Headlites reunites several services for each category of people. Practically, everybody from the community has a reason to come here. Toddlers can get here their first haircut, the pensioners receive special fees and treatments. But there are also sections for the more active community representatives. Tony’s salon has nail and lashes services, a tattoo space, and even an afro hairstyles section. Furthermore, he even has a section for training professional hairdressers, so that the Napolitano family legacy can go on. The Headlites is a community of professionals that maintain more than a fashionable hair and beauty trend within the area, they protect the local and human values by continuing to deliver direct services for all needs.
Preserving the “Local Heart”
Tony admits that he is subconsciously fighting against plastics. Everything in Headlites shop comes with a story and shows everybody the origins of this profession. Every object here was passed on personally from one generation to the other. Tony also buys such collection items himself. Everything to preserve the tradition and the community’s heart. I am more than grateful for Tony’s opening his gates for WrenewApp and the insights into hard work and traditions. The values of Headlites inspire us during the beta testing period, as precious feedback and addition to technology’s advantages that we wish to bring onto the market.
Tony has been directly in business for over 40 years (since 1979), on the Holloway Road, London. He took the initiative from his grandmother, Nicola Napolitano who opened her hair salon in 1927. However, she was not only a professional hairdresser and a successful businesswoman. She was a caring mother of eight children. Seven of them became hairdressers like her, and in their turn passed on these family values to their children. This is Tony’s inspiration and his greatest family values. This is how he structured his business from the very beginning, around the idea of closeness with clients, listening and understanding them to provide emotional support and a sense of belonging, besides the fashionable beauty treatments. Headlites provides multiple services for all ages and all needs in the community, cuts and special fees for toddlers, elders, afro styles, nails and lashes, tattoos, but most of all a permanent support and sharing of these core values to others and future generations.
WRENEW welcome any support or constructive feedback and if you’re a hair and beauty business looking for fresh approach or secondary booker – kindly sign-up here for a four (4) month extended FREE trial at www.wrenew.app