Each month we speak to a local resident or business owner to get their take on the Village; what brought them here and why did they stay? This month: Hampstead through the eyes of Renata Jon, owner of Heath Street salon, Renata Jon.
How long have you been a business owner in Hampstead?
I have been in the area as a business owner and resident for approximately 15 years – although it doesn’t seem that long! Before the opening of my salon Renata Jon on the Heath Street, I was working at John Simon (which closed down in 2012).
What brought you to Hampstead?
The charm of the area. Of course this charm is very hard to define, you have to experience Hampstead in order translate the feel of the area. However, two words come to mind: unique and delightful.
Why did you decide to set up your business in Hampstead?
I had a lot of loyal clients in the area and had developed good relationships with them, so my vision was to establish a service and location where I could continue to do this. I’m a perfectionist, so I wanted the perfect location, and after five years of relentlessly searching, I came across it and opened my salon on Heath Street. If you are looking for a good hairdressers, or even a great cup of coffee, Hampstead is the area. And there was no way, I was giving up on Hampstead. In my opinion, details can set the perfect mood and atmosphere. It’s about individuals and establishing a relationship with them. Whether it is the relaxing Jazzy beat, a nice cup of tea, a great coffee; whatever it is the approach to a client must be a personalised one. People come to the hairdressers not just to have their hair done, but also as a means of relaxation and escapism. Thus, a high standard of service in the hairdressing and beauty industry is crucial.
What is the salon’s place in the community?
I would describe the salon’s place in the community, as a means of escaping the hustle-and-bustle of busy London. Its location allows people to come not only to use the service of our salon, but also to enjoy the area before or after treatments. I believe that Renata Jon allows people to discover the area. Knowing it pretty well, I would consider myself an expert, and I never mind being asked questions.
Who are your most frequent type of customer?
I must say that about 50% of my clients are local Hampstonians, those born and raised in the area. The other 50% are those that have recently settled in the area. Most of my clients have been using my services for years, having initially been recommended by friends.
What would be your recommendation for a newcomer to the area to familiarise themselves?
As a newcomer to an area you must get involved in the community. For example, participating in the various yearly fairs or festivals.
What are your top three favourite things about Hampstead?
It has to be the people, the Heath - a London jungle getaway – and the variety of coffee shops for every mood.
Where do you like to go that no one else knows?
I like to go to the Pergola on the West Heath. It almost seems like a secret garden that not many people know about. I am still amazed that such a beautiful space has risen in popularity. But hey, I think it is best to keep it that way; a hidden gem!
Where do you go for: brunch?
Maison Blanc for their amazing cakes, or Gail’s for almost anything from Gail’s.
The Wells has great food.
Where do you go to escape?
Whenever, I need to escape, to think, to wander, or if I just need to take a walk, the Heath is right next door, and if you walk to the Pergola in the West Heath you will find benches and most likely a woman with a great sense of style and her head in the clouds.
What makes the area special for you?
The tight knit community of Hampstead make the area so special. Walking down the street, you see familiar faces, as if everyone was your neighbour. This reflects the unique village feel that is so different to anywhere else in London.
Any upcoming festivals that people ‘must’ see?
There is a music festival and the picnic situated in front of the Kenwood House (on the Hampstead Heath) in August.
How do you like to spend a long lazy weekend morning?
An ideal long lazy weekend morning would have to include; making the most of my sleep, followed by a health fruity breakfast in bed whilst skimming through the latest luxury fashion magazines.
What is your favourite thing about Hampstead in Spring?
It is something wonderful to witness nature waking up after a long winters sleep. Hence, I must admit that taking a walk in a sunny park in Spring is a favourite of mine.
69 Heath Street