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Canary Wharf: How Jon Hala unexpectedly became a family business in Jubilee Place

Jada Hala grew up in salons and has now decided to follow her dad into hairdressing as the brand grows

From left, Violeta Hala, Jon Hala and Jada Hala all work at the salon

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Jon Hala has worked hard to establish the salon that bears his name in Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Place.

Opened the October before the first lockdown, the business came into its own as shaggy Wharfers sought solutions to their creative attempts at home haircare.

It’s since gone on to build up a loyal, ever-growing clientele of local residents and workers as well as some more unusual fans such as the Arsenal Women’s Football Team and the female mixed martial artists of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Having built up the salon to a staff of 20 alongside his wife Violeta (who oversees beauty services) Jon said a somewhat unexpected future now beckoned with his daughter’s increasing involvement.

“Jon Hala was never especially meant to be a family business,” he said. “It really happened by accident.

“During the pandemic, we had some members of staff return to their homes overseas.

“At the same time my daughter, Jada, decided to take a gap year after finishing school.

“There was a lot of pressure on my shoulders at that time because, while I had worked in and run successful salons, when it’s your own business it’s different – there were managerial aspects I’d not handled before so getting to grips with that was a big learning curve.

“Jada started working with us as a receptionist but before long, I started to give her more responsibility.

“Now we sit and do all kinds of things together – the VAT and the rotas – she’s involved in every aspect of the business.

“Then, one day, she told me she wanted to be a hairdresser, which was music to my ears.

“My father taught me my craft and now I’m in the process of teaching her.”

Jon Hala is located in Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Place

Jon grew up in his father’s salon in east London’s Leyton, sweeping floors and making teas and coffees for customers from a young age.

“It was a very tight-knit immigrant community of Turkish  people,” he said.

“My dad had always been a hairdresser, learning his skills from his uncle and he had a very good reputation, opening six days a week and sometimes on Sundays too, especially for weddings.

“You have to be a sociable person – it’s long hours, but it’s a people job. I really enjoyed the attention I got from both my dad’s staff and the clients – I was this cute kid, running round making the drinks.

“It also seemed like the ideal job because if I liked a girl at school I could offer to cut their hair.

“There were a few mess ups at the start but that’s how you learn.”

Jon went on to train at Vidal Sassoon then spent around 16 years at Nicky Clarke in Mayfair before launching his eponymous salon in Canary Wharf.

“You have to dream a bit,” said the Isle Of Dogs resident. “You never know what will come of it.

“Opening this business in Canary Wharf was a dream and we’d love to expand, perhaps to another site on the estate.

“Naturally my dream for Jada would be for her to manage part of the business. You can always rely on family members, so that would be a really good position to be in.

“Right now my focus is on passing on my skills. 

“She already has a head start because she’s grown up around the industry.

“With a family business it’s a different atmosphere to a chain – you can offer a more personal service and really look after your clients.

“But we also make sure we look after the people we work with – nobody gets forgotten here.

Jon opened the salon in October 2019

“The team has grown and it would be amazing to expand to take some of that extra volume.

“Ultimately my dream for Jada would be for her to take over – to drive the business forward  even further in the digital era.”

That’s further down the line as Jada is currently focused on her training.

“Growing up, going into the industry was never really on the table,” she said.

“People would ask me if I would follow in dad’s footsteps and become a hairdresser, but I was against the idea – I wanted to break the tradition. 

“But then I finished school just after Covid, which was all a bit of a mess. I was confused about what I wanted to do and what my options were and so I took a gap year.

“But rather than sit at home all day, I wanted to get a job.

“I was looking at vacancies and then my dad mentioned he was down a receptionist and suggested I could come and work for him.

“I don’t know why I hadn’t really considered it, because I had worked on Saturdays in the salon while I was at school.

“But I’d not thought about working there full-time.

 “I was really only meant to do it for a year, but I quickly started taking on more than the reception duties.

“Having been around salons since I was about four, I knew what was entailed in growing and operating the business.

“So I started working as a junior in the salon and developed a real interest in how the various products worked and the science behind them.

“More and more, I wanted to be helping out with the physical work of the salon rather than just running reception.

“I found it came quite naturally, doing more things like blow dries for clients.

“So I’ve since started my training in earnest – I already knew the basics, but my dad is now passing on his skills to me and I’ve just finished my first colour course with Wella.

“As it’s a family business, I’m really here to support my dad. It’s up to me to keep things running smoothly when he’s not there.

“I’m naturally protective of the salon – it’s not just any company but one he’s worked so hard to establish.

“If another site were to open, I’d love to take the reins – it would be my dream.

“For me it’s really the end result for the client that’s important.

“When you make them feel good, you get the satisfaction of doing your job well and that’s amazing.”

You can find out more about the salon here

The business now employs 20 people

Read More: Why there’s only weeks left to see Punchdrunk’s The Burnt city

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via
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Canary Wharf: How Jon Hala’s salon is all set to get you looking your best for Christmas

Hair and makeup package offered for those special events alongside range of aesthetic treatments

Jon Hala opened his salon in Jubilee Place in 2019
Jon Hala opened his salon in Jubilee Place in 2019 – image Matt Grayson

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You can feel it, can’t you? With the decorations up throughout Canary Wharf’s malls, the festive season is upon us and, with last year’s celebrations curtailed by the pandemic, the estate is almost vibrating with anticipation for the parties and events to come. 

Anyone who had previously taken winter festivities for granted has had a long 18 months of restrictions and lockdowns to provide a bit of perspective for 2021.

Little wonder then that venues are already reporting a surge of bookings with home and office workers alike apparently desperate for a bit of real-life face time.

The gyms’ treadmills and weights machines are working overtime as bodies softened by Zoom calls in bed and too many takeaways are honed back towards something approaching shredded perfection.

With serious pent up demand, everybody wants to look and feel their best – after all, Christmas comes but once a year and this one has even more traction that usual.

“People in Canary Wharf want glamour,” said Jon Hala. “And that’s what we’re all about.

“That means bouncy, beach wave and editorial-style blow-dries – the kind of thing you’d see in Vogue. 

“Our aim is to make everyone feel amazing – totally comfortable in their own skin.”

The salon specialises in colour treatments
The salon specialises in colour treatments – image Matt Grayson

Jon opened his eponymous salon at Jubilee Place in October 2019 as the culmination of decades working at the very top of the industry.

Training with Vidal Sassoon was followed by about 16 years at Nicky Clarke’s Mayfair salon, before going on to style A-list clients from the worlds of film and fashion. 

As workers return to the estate’s offices and an increasing number of residents move to homes both on and close to the estate, Jon remains as determined as ever to deliver cutting edge services while remaining agile and adaptive to his client’s needs.

“We want to serve the people of Canary Wharf, to give them what they want as well as a great experience along the way,” he said. “We never turn clients away – we are very accommodating.

“If someone wants to come at 7am, they can – we call it the early bird appointment. It’s the same if it’s after hours and we never rush anybody.

“We’re independent and completely focused on customer service – we’re certainly not an average salon. We give clients little gifts, something they can take away as a thank you for coming here.

“It’s about bringing Knightsbridge to Canary Wharf – we have an amazing team who are all highly skilled and have worked in films, advertising and editorial.”

Those considering having their locks tamed by the salon can also be confident as staff regularly take time to consider trends, styles and fashions clients might want.

“Part of our training here is to hold monthly soirees, looking at magazines and working out what the next trends will be,” said Jon.

“The evenings are fun but educational – we put bullet points on a mirror and discuss what’s coming through.

“As a result of lockdown, for example, men have become used to having longer hair and many found they liked it.

“For women, it’s been a case of short bobs in case another lockdown happened. As a business we work with a lot of high end brands including haute couture house Balmain, which we’re ambassadors for, so we’re very up on the latest trends – we have to be.”

The salon specialises in colour services and offers products from brands such as Shu Uemura, Oribe, Sknhead, Kerastase and American Crew as well as making its own Miracle Masque.

Jon has also tailored his business to meet the very specific demands Canary Wharf generates and, having spotted a niche, the salon has launched a hair and beauty package designed to get clients ready for events, whether that’s for Christmas or at any other time over the course of a year.

“We’ve come up with an affordable combination of hair and makeup – inspired by salons in west London that offer everything under one roof,” he said.

“It costs £100 and that’s split equally between a blow-dry and make-up. It’s a good deal because just having the latter done professionally can be more than £70 alone.”

Violeta Hala oversees the aesthetic treatments
Violeta Hala oversees the aesthetic treatments – image Matt Grayson

The salon also now offers a range of aesthetic treatments overseen and delivered by Jon’s wife, Violeta. 

Chief among the services it offers are a wide range of treatments using a NeoGen Plasma machine, which uses pulses of nitrogen plasma aimed at stimulating collagen production.

“When people are over 30 or 35, they start to realise that they have to take care of their skin, so we are providing a range of needle-free treatments using this machine,” said Violeta, right.

“It can be used to improve darker patches of skin, to lessen the appearance of rosacea and even to lift the eyebrows.

“There is literally no pain and, after a few treatments, people will start to see the results.

“It’s ideal for anyone who is scared of needles and doesn’t want to risk bruising on their face.

“There’s no downtime, so people can even pop in and have a treatment during their lunchbreak. It depends what we’re treating, but the process takes no longer than 40 minutes. 

“The results are quite quick too – I would say three or four treatments to see improvements, so there’s still time to get it in time for Christmas.”

A client having a NeoGen Plasma treatment
A client having a NeoGen Plasma treatment – image Matt Grayson

The salon also offers Mesotherapy for both beauty applications and to fight hair loss.

Violeta said: “We use nano-needles that are so small – so soft and tiny – that they don’t leave any bruising.

“We’re injecting 55 different vitamins, which includes four different amino acids into areas that require it. After three treatments you see amazing results and I would advise that it is repeated every four to six weeks.

“At the salon we also offer fat dissolving injections, which is a revolutionary new treatment that can be especially helpful after people have been sitting at home for long periods during the pandemic.

“It can be used to target anywhere on the body where fat has been stored – the legs, hips, chests, lower back, the arms, the knees and the chin – to break down the fat cells.

“Clients should see results after the second or third session but it has to be done gradually so your skin has time to adjust.”

Staff at the salon are happy to talk potential clients through the various aesthetic treatments offered and to explain in greater detail the sorts of results that can be expected.

Back on the hair side of the business, that’s also true as Jon always aims to give his customers what they want.

He said: “You can only ever suggest things to people – it’s about meeting halfway. I don’t ask a client: ‘What are we doing today?’.

“But I will recommend styles that will suit them. Then we do a two-step haircut where we take some off, then decide whether to go further. It always works out.”

Follow this link to make a booking at Jon Hala online

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