4 Salisbury court, 63 Mabley Street
London E9 5RW England
Growing up and residing in Hackney, one of the 6th most diverse boroughs in London and with over 89 languages spoken was a truly magical experience. Living side by side in a close-knit community offered a wealth of creativity, diversity, beauty, knowledge and insight. It was often easy to forget how diverse the borough was itself, as the differences in each other, was what connected us all.
The borough has since seen many changes over the last few years and whilst in some ways this has been beneficial, with more financial investments being made in the area, I particularly felt that a huge portion of the community had been forgotten and the financial gap, limited access to services and separation had become more apparent. This was particularly evident in the hairdressing industry.
My professional, personal and educational experiences as an assistant stylist, client and student exposed many examples of exclusion, particularly within the hair industry. Stylists and educators often refused services to clients with textured hair. This in my experience contributed to clients feeling discriminated against and excluded, which greatly affected the self-esteem and confidence of those whose hair had been deemed “problematic.”
Being on the receiving end of these exclusions and witnessing the lack of inclusion in formal education motivated me to use my hairstyling craft to encourage, maintain and celebrate the diversity within the community and offer future generations the same opportunities and services that I experienced in my former years.
In July 2020, during a global pandemic, with a few years of assisting under my belt and a mere 2 months experience as a qualified stylist, I decided to open ONYX an inclusive salon in the heart of Hackney Wick, London. Opening the salon in the same area I was born and raised in was something incredibly important to me as primarily give me the insight to our clientele and community in a way that has allowed me to fully understand and establish trust with our clients. Secondly, the area lends us the very diverse community which allows us to be authentically inclusive.
Two weeks prior to our official opening date in September 2020 I was given the incredible opportunity to attend Fashion Week in Barcelona with KEVIN.MURPHY, the very brand I have worked with throughout my entire hairdressing career.
Over those intense few days, I couldn’t be prouder to be part of a team that was also inclusive. I was made to feel welcome, supported, valued, seen and heard. Something that had not always been evident at such prestigious events. This was the first of many wonderful examples of inclusive experiences I have since been part of with the KEVIN.MURPHY team, such as the WALKING IN LONDON campaign and COLOUR WORLD. Coincidently, both were shot in the same borough as ONYX.
Opening our salon doors has allowed people from all walks of life with various hair types to experience affordable services without compromising on quality, something that was and still is not very evident in all salons across London. It is daily practice to always use inclusive language to address our clients, to provide a space where people can bring their whole selves to the salon and ensure that all clients, future staff and visitors are seen, heard and represented regardless of gender identity, race or ethnicity of language proficiency.
Our guests at ONYX not only leave with desirable hair that has been enhanced and refined, which in turn gives them the confidence in owning their natural beauty, but also have the opportunity to escape from the stresses of outside, unwind with our high-quality hair treatments and indulge in our exceptional services using high performance KEVIN.MURPHY products for an array of hair types.
Our service menus are gender neutral and centered around hair density as it is a factor that affects us all. When texture has been a deciding factor for pricing, the most textured clients in our research have felt they were discriminated against as they were typically charged more, solely based on their curl/coil pattern. We also offer our clients a wide range or treatments from bouncy blow-dries, cuts and colour to locs retwists, braids and curl care.
My biggest drive behind the success of Onyx has been that I am extremely passionate about my craft and my community. In my ongoing mission to further extend and support those who have ever felt marginalised or excluded, I am currently in the process of developing and rolling out a series of ongoing face-to-face “Nurture my Nature” workshops.
These workshops will enable the groups to get out of their comfort zones and engage in difficult conversations, learn about their own hair, gain an understanding of the perspectives of others, acknowledge the influence of different cultures on values and behaviors and build confidence.
Our inclusive salon Onyx officially opened in October 2020 and has been going from strength to strength ever since.
Our ongoing face-to-face inclusion and diversity workshops “Nurture my Nature” will take place in September/October 2021.
22.214.171.124 | 27/08/2021