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Who's Behind The Chair? Q&A with Karlene Rose

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The Chapel, London

“Keep your head, heels and standards high.” The motto of the iconic Coco Chanel, and one which our very own Karlene Rose wishes to pass on to her guests. Karlene is a woman of grace and poise with her own individual style on show every day both in and out of the salon, “My style icons range from Alabama Worley from the film True Romance, Amy Winehouse and Priscilla Presley - but I like a bit of punk, bit princess and a bit of pinup ”. But of course, there’s so much more to Karlene, our expert stylist, than just the way she looks on the outside. We wanted to really get to know who’s behind the chair.

Tell us a little about your background in hairdressing?

I grew up in Scotland. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I was obsessed with fashion and loved art and being creative. Hairdressing to me is a combination of both art and fashion so it seemed obvious to go in that direction. My Mum said she’d only let me leave school at 16 it if I got a job at the top salon in Dundee - which I did. I picked up colouring skills very quickly and was promoted to colour technician whilst still perfecting my cutting skills in one of Dundee’s top salons.

It sounds like you had it pretty made in Dundee - so what drew you to London?

I remember taking trips down to London when I was around 15. I loved it and knew it was the place I’d live when I was an adult. My mum’s friend lived in London and I’d come down to stay with her a lot - exploring different areas of London and getting a real feel for the city. I loved how different it felt to Scotland - so much going on. When I was a bit older I’d come down a lot with friends for gigs and I had a lot of friends who lived here as well. After making a career for myself in Dundee I felt it was time for me to move on. So I applied for a job and got my friend to view a flat for me and moved down within the month.

When I first moved to London I lived in Upper Clapton and worked in Soho which was completely different vibe to what I was used to in Dundee but a lot of fun. I’ve now lived in Crouch End for the past 5/6 years, and work in Angel. I absolutely love North London and couldn’t see myself living anywhere else.

Totally, London is such a great place to be for someone with such a great style - but why did you
end up at The Chapel over all other salons?

I worked at a couple of other London salons before finding to The Chapel - I wanted to take my career to the next level. After looking for a new place to work, I wasn’t getting the right vibe but luckily a friend found the ad from The Chapel. I looked into it and I loved the level of service they provide and that more personal touch.

As soon as I came into the Islington Salon I knew it was the right fit - the atmosphere was so relaxed and the team were lovely. I love how we really look after the guest from start to finish here - it allows me to really look after them as well as giving me more time to be creative to get that right style to suit them.


So what do you do differently at The Chapel which benefits you and your guests?


What changes everything is our ‘conversation, not consultation’. We like to make the guest feel comfortable and have a nice chat about their hair, their lifestyle and most importantly, how they want to feel. This allows me to create a truly bespoke look for them rather than just an item from a service menu.

I also love that we charge by the hour, not by service. It means that we can truly devote as much or little time that is needed to achieve how a guest wants to feel. We can be completely honest and say whether it is a good idea for them or even achievable in a desirable timeframe for them.


And finally, what do you wish you could say to all of your guests?


My Nannie was always immaculately dressed with her head held high. We called her the queen because she was very royal. She was a very proud, strong woman, and taught me to be confident and told me to always be me. She loved my style and my attitude (which came from her) I want all of my guests to be proud of their individuality and hope that I can help them find it.

You’ll find Karlene clopping her heels or Doctor Martens at our Islington salon, ready and waiting to help you rediscover your most beautiful self - check out her Instagram here. To book yourself in with her or any of our other stylists, our guest relations team would be more than happy to help. And keep your eyes peeled for more uncovering of who’s behind the chair next month on our blog!

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