New Stratford men's salon Daimon Barber is very much in a league of its own
If the menfolk of Stratford are looking more dapper of late then it may be down to the presence of new outlet Daimon Barber on Ely Street. It is where the international luxury men’s beauty brand has just established a stylish flagship “hair retreat” . Owner Louis Hayes-Davies tells Gill Sutherland all about it.
Gone are the days of when men got ready for an evening out with a splash of stinging El Cheapo aftershave and a quick slick of hair gel.
There’s been a huge boom in the male beauty market which is now worth $75billion a year around the world and growing. It’s no longer just shaving foam and deodorant though, men are opting for more luxurious smells, moisturisers and beard and haircare products.
Stratford has seen a mini boom of barbers over the last couple of years, but Daimon Barber is very much in a league of its own.
Styling itself as a “hair retreat” the flagship outlet sells the Daimon Barber upmarket male grooming products – everything from face serum to yuzu hair paste – while offering the very best in barbering services, including traditional wet shaves and facials.
The brains behind the operation is owner Louis Hayes-Davies.
We meet at the salon on Ely Street – the newly transformed three-storey townhouse that used to be home estate agent Sheldon Bosley.
Louis has an easy charm, big grin and ready laugh, and his enthusiasm for his brand and new salon is infectious.
“I want to put Stratford on the map,” he declares with a satisfied beam. “I want people to come in and have a refreshing change and to feel looked after.”
Although as a barber’s it is aimed at men, there is a separate salon and blow-dry bar at the back of the townhouse where stylist Gemma Lewis tends to the ladies.
The new state-of-the-art salon replicates the promise of the brand, with haircuts, hair styling, wet shaves and facials being overseen by Italian master barber Samuele Bartolotti.
“We are not overly male or female,” explains Louis. “We took a line to make it a luxury space. It appeals to everyone and all generations.
“It’s a place to relax and unwind. Time is important – it’s not 15 minutes in and out. I want people to come in and have an experience. I know a lot of people say that, but honestly if I’m spending 45 minutes of my time and money getting my hair done then I want to have a lovely time. I would want the people to say, ‘Louis how are you? Your skin is looking great what are you using?’ – and that’s what I want our clients to experience.”
Louis grew up in Birmingham (“not the posh part”) and now lives in Moreton Morrell.
When he was younger he thought about being a hairdresser. Louis picks up the story: “My dad said ‘you’re not being a hairdresser – they are all gay’. Like, hello?!
“I ended up doing a degree in hospitality management – my dad was happy. Then I went into sales. One day I opened The Sunday Times and there was a big advert for the position of UK sales manager for Dior – I got it and stayed there for ten years. It just went from there really.”
Among the people to urge Louis to set up on his own was Tamara Ecclestone – the socialite daughter of Bernie Ecclestone – after Louis had helped Tamara launch some blow-dry bars.
He decided to take the plunge and went freelance for a while.
At this point Louis came across the Daimon Barber brand as a cottage industry. “The products were being made by Daimon in his kitchen in Islington. I helped him develop a couple of products before going on to do some other work.
“Then in 2019 Daimon called me and said, ‘I’ve met the love of my life I’m going to New Zealand and I want you to be able to do something, can you buy me out?’. I was like ‘No don’t be so ridiculous’, but he honestly meant it. And I did.
“I ran it in the evening while I was working full-time in London. I thought this is getting a bit too much. Then just before the first lockdown I gave up my full-time job to solely pursue Daimon Barber.”
Even lockdown didn’t dent Louis’ enthusiasm. “I looked at the news to see where wasn’t shut down and I targeted that country,” he says. “So we are now in Norway, Sweden, Japan, Paris, Italy and a few others. It was a gamble but it’s paid off.”
It was the authenticity of the product that initially appealed to Louis and he’s keen to keep that signature aspect.
“Daimon was very much in touch with making things that are good for you, whether that’s dealing with challenging skin or a sensitive scalp. We use ethically-sourced and plant-based ingredients.
“My time at Dior has also been an influence; it was very commercial but sexy.”
Besides the gorgeous products, Louis is particularly pleased with his team and to have poached barber Sam.
“We met when he did my hair, and I told him about my idea for the Daimon Barber Hair Retreat. He said keep me posted… and now he’s here!
“Sam has a lovely way with people. He will listen with you and has a very nice soul. People come away thinking what a great experience.”
After a long chat and lots of laughs with Louis, a couple of cups of delicious Nespresso coffee, and a divine blow dry courtesy of the lovely Gemma, I can certainly testify to the lovely experience at the uniquely fab Daimon Barber Hair Retreat.