Strange number displayed on my phone a few weeks ago led to the news that I had won a session at a celebrity hairdressers in Chelsea!
The lady on the other end of the phone congratulated me, and then checked the date. It was unfortunately the following week and I already had meetings booked in. The call ended.
She rang back two days later to offer another date. Are they desperate for winners or really want me? I later found out I was one of 10.5K applicants so lucky to be chosen!
I couldn’t remember all the details. It was a competition in the Waitrose magazine, and involved some new hair products they are promoting. The products emanated from a famous hairdresser in Chelsea. His name rang a bell but I couldn’t remember why.
The new date was a few weeks ahead and I could book in! I would need to be at the salon for 9am where I would get coffee and pastries. The session would start with a talk on blow drying and then an actual professional blow dry! Wow this could be good!
She said the details would be emailed to me. I thanked him, clicked the phone, and got on with my day.
The promised email arrived promptly and I set about investigating the notoriety of Richard Ward. The list of clients is vast and contains everyone from Pippa Middleton via Jonathan Rhys-Myers to Rowan Atkinson!
My expectation and excitement grew!
So after a weekend in the Cotswolds, and a fantastic pop up literary salon, Monday morning I needed to head to Chelsea. Due to needing to be there for 9am, foresight dictated that outfit would need choosing in advance. Leatherette, denim jeans, Bowie T, and polka dot creepers were selected.
Should I style my quiff or not? I decided to style it, so they could see how I usually styled my hair and make any recommendations!
It wasn’t sunny but I felt that sunglasses were required and donned appropriately. This decision was also advantageous from a practical point of view, as I was tired, and the neon lights of the tube were bright.
I was met by the friendly reception staff and escorted upstairs to meet with the other lucky competition winners (we were 3 in total) and our Waitrose host Julie. As a civilised affair, tea and pastries were provided, and then we headed for a quick tour of the salon and spa, which was breathtaking! 80 plus people are employed, and it was so much more than a salon. It was a brand, but interestingly enough it was clear that it also retained the charm and intimacy of regular sized salons.
We were ushered into one of the salon sections and met Richard Ward and one of the senior members of his team, Matt Hawes. Within minutes it was obvious how the intimacy and friendliness is retained. Richard and Matt were charming, engaging and real. Do not let the client lists fool you into thinking they were all show, as their passion for hair glistened through, and would be shared irrespective of your status. And they were really enthusiastic that a male had accepted and come as part of the joint experience with Waitrose.
Richard asked me how I styled my hair and after explaining he commended my efforts and said he didn’t know how they would improve upon it! What a great compliment! I have pretty much taken care of my hair since a teenager, and had a multitude of styles, and so would hopefully have some ability, but to get an affirmation of this magnitude was fantastic. Mondays need not always be bad!
Richard and Matt demonstrated on a willing assistant (one of the staff ) how to create the perfect Chelsea Blow Dry. The young lady with long flowing locks looked magnificent and ready for a night at the opera rather than a day in the salon.
Now it was our turn, and our hair was washed, and then blow dried! Matt undertook the task of re-quiffing me, and gave great advice on how to maintain the volume across the entire do and not just at the front! I will be entering the world of spritzing!
A great morning followed by a lovely lunch with one of my fellow competition winners, and now, a new friend!
With promises of free products in the post we left sated. (Only half the products arrived, and despite asking am still waiting for feedback, and to see whether I get the full quote of promised gear).
However, despite that, I was one of 20 chosen (and only man) from applications in excess of 10,000! And you know if the salon was a little nearer to home, I would definitely head there to have Matt cut and style my hair even with the £72 price tag!