Just have a dream.
The rest will be sorted out…
– Jana Šafářová
– Jana Šafářová
Not only insiders from the hairdressing and fashion scene, but also crowds of satisfied clients know that behind the big red dot and inconspicuous door in Vězeňská Street in the centre of Prague there is a hair salon with a unique hair spa and a concept store with carefully selected fashion. Red Salon is celebrating ten years since its opening and owner Jana Šafářová tells us how she and her team managed to create a space in the historic centre of Prague where you will forget about the outside world and feel like you’ve been transported to the backdrop of your favourite British film or one of the cool hairdressers (or perhaps bars?) in central London. And then you’ll be excited to call home about it all.
However, the Red Salon’s space at the time would have transported you to a horror spookery rather than a holiday-themed procedure in around 2012. In fact, it underwent a transformation from an unmaintained former restaurant with the electricity cut off, where you had to shine a flashlight in the jagged underground rooms and avoid the dingy air conditioning. In spite of all this, however, Jana Šafářová was attracted by the local genius loci and after many consultations with the film architect Martin Kurel, the contours of today’s hairdressing salon became clearer even in the dark cellars. When Red Salon opened on 13 January 2013, the first clients did not believe that it was a brand new business. Martin Kurel took care of every detail to make the space feel cosy and lived-in from the start. “I’m making apartments for the film, where it’s supposed to look like someone has been living there for thirty years,” he used to tell Jana.
Jana Šafářová looked for inspiration on how to set up a hair salon with an experience unparalleled in Prague in London, where she went on the recommendation of the well-known Czech hair stylist Mirka Myšička Hajdová. She worked with her for eight years, Mirka gave the concept a clear face and has a big share in the shape of the Red Salon. To see what London salons offered at the time, Jana had three blowouts a day, which, given the traffic in the British capital, often meant getting into a taxi with half-wet hair. “I had a notebook with me where I wrote down what I liked, what I didn’t like and what I was absolutely smitten with after visiting each salon. In Notting Hill, when I saw three dots above the door instead of the name of the hairdresser, I was immediately clear about the visual of my dream. But at that moment I was still miles away from any realisation,” recalls Jana.
Beginnings are never exactly a cakewalk and when you want to build a business or your own brand in uncharted waters, this is doubly true. Jana Šafářová started writing the story of Red Salon after her maternity leave, when she didn’t want to return to her original job in the technical field and was thinking about a change. She wanted to work with nice products in the field of fashion or cosmetics, which she would like, understand and meet personally with the end customer. And she did. “I did a retraining course in hairdressing, but found that cutting and styling hair alone was not the way for me. I took advice from the top hairdressers in the industry, but when you open a salon, no one tells you that instead of a regular washer and dryer, you need professional machines that can handle continuous use, or that it’s a good idea to wire the electrics so that the first time you run all the blow dryers, the fuses don’t blow. After taking my towels home every night in the early days to wash and dry them overnight, I’m now an expert in such situations,” laughs the salon owner, who unfortunately went through a lot of inconveniences while realizing her dream.
– JANA ŠAFÁŘOVÁ