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

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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 jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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