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Episode Show Notes

One half of the couple of Directors began The Boutik Salon having always been in the industry, the other from a completely different background. Naturally, they’ve brought the best traits from each other to see staggering success.

The Real Salon Owner Story this week comes from Abigail James and Den Williams, who have astonishingly found the opportunity to not only grow The Boutik since forming in its current state 4 and a half years ago, but a training academy alongside it!

Hear from the delightful duo on The Salonology Show this week, where we chat about the goals they’ve been setting, the biggest challenges they faced, lacklustre regulation in the industry, and what they love most about such a social industry.


This episode of The Salonology Show covers:

  • How the beauty industry feels to a newcomer
  • Longstanding issues with a lack of regulation
  • Lessons on tempering your ambitions, owning your decisions and hiring the right people
  • The difficulty with keeping home and work life separate in a co-working couple


This episode of The Salonology Show is sponsored by Timely. Get 50% off for 3 months with discount code SALONOLOGY


Links and References

The Boutik Plymouth:


Abigail James:


Den Williams:

Join the 🌟 Salonology Gold Club 🌟 to work with us:


Ryan Power:

Hollie Power:

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Episode Highlights

“I worked for a couple of really big salons in Plymouth and built my reputation quite quickly. By the age of 21 I was manager of New York City nails, who had nail bars in Debenhams and I did that for a couple of years. That gave me the experience to be able to move on and open my own business.” – 4:10 – Abigail James


“We had certain challenges in terms of finding staff initially, and again, that was probably partly down to the reputation of the place. But the team that we held on to were brilliant, and they were so supportive, and really helped carry us through that period. We definitely underestimated the damage of taking on a business that was already in freefall.” – 8:30 – Den Williams


“We do find ourselves saying we’re not going to talk about work tonight, we’re just going to have a night on our own, and somehow we end up talking about work, or what we could do, or let’s do this, or let’s try this. Then I’m like, ‘What are we doing? We’re talking about work again!’, but I guess it happens when you work together and you live together; you’re business partners and relationship partners, it’s just natural, I guess.” 12:10 – Abigail James


“We are very strict with our academy on who can train with us, how they train with us. They don’t just train with us and get a certificate, they have lots of case studies to do. I noticed very early that standards within the industry were slipping, and it was one of my biggest frustrations, so when I set it up it was all about standards. The level of education people come out with, not just allowing anybody to set a course just because you want to take the money.” – 20:30 – Abigail James


“The thing that does frighten me is that I could go on a course tomorrow, and be set up the following day in a salon, administering treatments that could really ruin somebody’s life.” – 25:05 – Den Williams


“As part of the fallout of the Covid period, one of the things we noticed was how, like a community centre or pub, the importance of a salon to people to get back into that environment wasn’t just about having their hair and nails done, it was actually about engaging and seeing people. For some of our customers, we’re their two hours of freedom from the way they live.” – 28:10 – Den Williams


“You do need to be really present in your business. You have to be really aware of what is going on around you. Some of our situation that we’re in now comes from maybe that we weren’t as present at the end of last year as we should have been. That was due to the fact that I was quite poorly, but you do need to be present and keep your eye on the ball no matter what.” – 32:15 – Abigail James