The Launch of the new Scouse Bird Salon
Back in September of last year Steph launched her first physical Scouse Bird shop. She had been selling online and via stockists for a number of years, but always dreamt of opening a shop.
7 months on the shop has flourished. It’s done so well that it has outgrown it’s original space, and moved to a much larger unit. It is still within the Rent A Space in Aintree, Liverpool, but in a more accessible location.
I went to check out Steph’s new store and her brand new Scouse Bird Salon. Amongst the busyness of the launch day, Steph spared me a few minutes to chat. I asked her all the burning questions I had about her businesses, lifestyle and plans for the future.
Jessi Chats With Scouse Bird Herself
J: How have the first 7 months been since you opened the shop. I can’t believe it’s only been 7 months.
SB: I know, it’s insane. Obviously over Christmas it was so busy. Over the rest of year it has steadied out, because of where we are situated, it’s not somewhere where you get passing traffic, it’s a destination place.
So if people are coming here they’re coming to visit your shop. Or they’re coming here to buy something, which is great because it means 99% of the customers who walk in, buy something, which is great.
But, we ran out of space quickly. At first we were struggling to fill the shop, and then you get more stock, more display units and then all of a sudden you’ve got no room to put anything anywhere.
So, when the opportunity came up to expand the units, we were going to stay upstairs but take a bigger part of the unit. We thought we’d get a girl in to do nails, and when people come in to get their nails done they can have a little shop as well. But the opportunity came up to move downstairs, and downstairs has plumbing. (Previous shop was upstairs in the Rent-A-Space building).
The idea came up to have a blow dry bar, and a nail girl. The girls who work in the shop are also qualified to do make up, so we thought we could have a mini salon. Then we thought F**K It, let’s just have a full blown salon.
We’ve got a treatment room, with a girl doing spray tans on a Thursday and Friday. Then we’ve got someone doing eyebrows and eyelashes on a Saturday and Sunday. On Tuesday and Wednesday we’re going to have someone come in doing massages. Things like sports massage, fire cupping, and things like that. So we’ve got a full on salon now.
J: Are you pleased with the shops new location?
SB: Yes! I think it’s the best possible location that we could get within this building. It’s still a destination place, it’s not going to be somewhere where we get a lot of foot-flow, but it’s close enough to Switch Island retail park, which is right next door. If people are going there, then they can always pop here to see us.
So, that’s the biggest barrier in getting people to know where we are, but luckily the building is bright yellow! We’re right by the end of the motorway too, so you can to here from pretty much anywhere.
J: Now you’re on the ground floor, and you’re at the front of the building, it’s even more accessible to people.
J: We covered this slightly before – What made you want to expand the shop and the salon?
SB: We ran out of room, and it was to attract more visitors. Basically, if people are coming in to get their hair or nails done, then they could shop as well. So it was to give people more of a reason to come here, than just coming here to shop.
J: What are some of the treatments that will be on offer in the salon?
SB: Pretty much everything. The only thing we didn’t want to do was aesthetics, i.e botox and fillers. We’ve had lots of people requesting to come and do it. But, 1 – we don’t have a sterile environment to offer them, and worryingly some people that got in touch to offer it, didn’t seem bothered by that. Which is exactly why we don’t want to offer it.
I don’t believe in having beauty salon aesthetics, I think it should be done by a medical professional. So if you want that stuff done, don’t scrimp out on it, go to Rodney Street. That’s my personal view on it.
J: The team you have working for you in the salon, do they work for you under the Scouse Bird name, or are they independent?
SB: They are all self employed. They’ve either come from doing mobile work, or come from salons where they’re paid just a set amount, and the salon made all the money. I could do it that way, and I could make a lot more money from it, but I don’t really want to do that.
I want a really ambitious team in here because that’s the vibe that I want. If someone is just happy to sit there and earn a flat salary, then that isn’t the attitude I want. I want someone who will go out and work for what they want.
I just charge them a flat rate, to rent the area. Once they’ve earned that, which is usually well done by the first few clients of the day, then anything else they make is their own. This gives them a chance to really build their own business, because that’s what I’ve done. I want more people to be able to have that freedom, and that joy of work.
J: Do you have a favourite product in your shop?
SB: I do, but it does change all the time. Obviously I love the diaries, because that is my day one, hero product. You don’t even need to promote it, it just sells itself. It’s a really good product that I’m proud of.
I love the food diaries, and in the summer I love the sunglasses. I love shopping for them and trying them all on.
The one I’m loving at the moment, and it’s not even my product, it’s by another lady who works in this building. It’s her product, I’m dead proud of her, it’s the unicorn shimmer. It creates the glittery drinks. She’s similar to me in that she’s driving forward, and keeps bringing out new products. She’s really driven, and I admire that about her.
J: How do you find juggling your family life? Your blog and social medias? The shop and salon? And do you ever sleep?
SB: Erm, no I don’t, *laughs*. It’s hard, it is very difficult. There are some days when I think I’ve bitten off more that I can chew. For example, on one of the days this week I had a really bad day, when it all felt too much. Things weren’t finished, things were going wrong in the salon, I was having a few staff issues. I thought oh my god, I can’t cope with this.
But it’s ok to have a bad day sometimes. Every day can’t be rainbows and unicorns. But I have a really good team of staff behind me. My office manager Hannah, I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s an angel. She treats the business like it’s her own business, and I love that. We’ve got some really enthusiastic staff members, and I just couldn’t do it without them.
Cora (Steph’s adorable little girl) is in nursery full time, which does help, and she loves it. Obviously when I pick her up from nursery, she’s made up to see me, and I’m made up to see her. I’ve got a really supportive husband as well. I do have a lot of support which is amazing, I couldn’t do it all on my own.
J: If you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself then?
SB: Probably be careful who you trust. I’ll always try and help people. I will always do my best to help people, as I want good for them. I always try to see the best in people, and unfortunately quite often you can get let down if you have that attitude.
I’ve been let down quite often, I’ve been stabbed in the back. I’ve had people who maybe have used me to learn what they can, and they’ve taken that and ran with it. But in a way that has harmed me and my business.
So it would probably be careful who your trust and be a little more guarded.
J: Last question, do you have any sneak peaks of any future plans for expanding the Scouse Bird empire even more?
SB: Well, funnily enough, we are going through the process of applying for an alcohol licence at the moment. So we will be selling alcohol in the shop, so technically we could be an off licence. But, it’s because we’ll be giving away Prosecco in the salon, we’ll be an on licenced premises as well. So again, technically a pub.
If the salon goes well, then we do have the opportunity to expand again within this building. Maybe go upwards, and have a second floor. That is a possibility.
I’d love to at some point open a second location somewhere else. Either nearer to the city centre, or one in South Liverpool. So we’ve got one in the North and one in the South. Then eventually one in the city centre. It’d be boss to have a Scouse Bird shop in the Albert Dock.
So there you go guys, my interview with Steph, the Scouse Bird herself. Isn’t it great to see a woman create a joyful working life for herself. Everyday, although it busy, brings excitement and a love of work.
If you haven’t been to the shop yet, then I can highly recommend it. If you fancy booking in for a treatment at the salon, then head to their Treatwell Site. All prices, and appointment information is on here.
Hope you enjoyed the post. And, stay fab!