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Kitti Clarke is the owner of The Art House in Colchester. As the name suggests, the salon is a creative hub that combines hair and photography is a super cool studio environment. With the vast majority of Kitti’s clients having colour, finding a solution for skin testing was a priority. Thankfully, she discovered Colourstart. We chatted about her journey and why being a ‘mainstream’ salon just wasn’t for her.

“It is just me, my assistant, and my dog at The Art House. I went self-employed in 2019 and rented a chair for a little while, then lockdown gave me space to really think about what I wanted from my career. I wanted my own studio, and I had a vision of creating a very inclusive safe space for anyone to have their hair done. I opened in December 2020. It was terrifying, but it is the best decision I have ever made and thankfully it’s going very well.  

I tried to make my salon mainstream, then I realised that the more I stayed true to myself, the more successful I became. I am neuro divergent and have ADHD, so I wanted an environment that everyone felt comfortable. I really believe that your vibe attracts your tribe, and we embrace everything here. We’re inclusive of everyone; the LGBTQ+ community are made feel really at home here and we have an incredible client base.

Colour really is my thing & I am a brand ambassador for Manic Panic and K18. The majority of our clients are colour clients and keeping track of skin testing used to be a real challenge. Some of my clients live hours away, so having to visit just for a patch test was not working for us.

I discovered Colourstart at Salon International not long after I opened. I could see straight away that this made sense and would be so much easier for our business. I just told clients that this is our system and that’s what we’re doing. They were totally fine with it and no one questioned it. We just said these are the terms of our business, and if you want to do business with us, then you have Colourstart.

I ask all new colour clients to see me for a consultation which is £15, and that’s when we set up their Passport. I have not had anyone question it, but if you approach it confidently and explain it’s a one off £15 charge and that charge is out of my hands, then clients are completely fine about it.

My advice to other salons is do it wholeheartedly for all your clients. It is a gamechanger. It has made everything so much easier; I don’t have to deal with any of the paperwork and it has streamlined everything. The fact that you can switch products is brilliant, now you can be as creative as you like without worrying.”