Neville Hair & Beauty Salon in London’s Belgravia is a London institution: from its immaculate blow dries for ladies who lunch, to a reputation for perfect colour (especially for blondes), via an on-site FaceGym, and a clientele that runs the hair gamut from Annie Lennox to Sienna Miller. They are also gloriously dog-friendly – Lettice always receives a warm welcome.
Running a business like this, which relies above all on great relationships – with stylists, staff and customers, is no mean feat. As well Neville now have outposts at London’s Bulgari Hotel and on Mykonos, so its owner Elena Lavagni has many reins to hold. I’m very pleased that she is the latest of the brilliant female business owners and entrepreneurs to have contributed to the LLG A Day in the Life strand.

Over to you Elena:

Neville Hair & Beauty Belgravia salon

I first joined the Neville Hair Salon, as it was known, in 2000. Back then, the small salon counted 10 employees and, whilst relatively successful, I saw great potential for the future. The next 17 years have been a work in progress, transforming the hair salon into a one-stop beauty destination. I’ve seen the Salon go from strength to strength, permanently seeking new ways to push the business forward.
Needless to say, today with a team of more than 70, an average day now is unrecognisable in comparison to those early days. In fact, there are no typical days. Each day is drastically varied, and that is how I like it. 
My day usually begins in the same way, enjoying a ‘Nespresso, what else?’ with my cocker spaniel Hiro.  After a quick caffeine fix, I share breakfast with my eight-year-old son Benjamin and we run through his homework before my husband Neville takes him to school. 
Fitness, is as a great way to clear the mind so I usually meet my personal trainer Dino twice a week and have done so for the past 15 years. In addition, I catch up with my friend, nutritionist and Pilates teacher Francesca. Her new healthy menu has become a vital part of my day and we’ve have now introduced the menu in our Pont Street salon.  
My working day starts immediately after this, as post workout is when I am most alert. Like most people, I start by checking E-mails. It’s by far my favourite part of the day. I love the excitement of not knowing what the day might bring. 
Its normally around 10 am by the time I get to our flagship salon in Pont Street. The office is located on the 5th floor, which, without a lift, is a workout in itself. 
On the way up, I pass through each floor of the business and get a chance to catch up with some of my team and clients. Most mornings are spent in the office, following up on current projects. We’ve recently set up a finance and marketing department, so we spend some time catching up before putting together a plan for the day. 
We are constantly working on multiple projects simultaneously. At the moment we’re preparing for another exciting season in Mykonos, where we run a salon from May-October, and a collaboration with Shelter. Shelter is an amazing charity devoted to improving the lives of vulnerable people without homes. 
Once the day is organised with my team, I focus on new business opportunities. This often requires me to go out to lunch, but if I stay in, then I opt for a Ham & Berries Rye-Schetta. It is wonderful blend of Parma ham, strawberries, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rocket and basil on rye bread. I try to avoid snacking between meals and I find this filling enough to see me through the rest of the working day. 
As a customer-focused business, I feel it is important to spend as much time as possible face to face with our clients. Over the years, many clients have become friends and team members have become family so it is more like welcoming guests to our home than running a business. New recruits are like children coming into my home and as many are young and new to London I feel I should look after them. 
Spending time with the staff gives them an opportunity to approach me directly with any concerns or ideas they may have for the business. I appreciate when everybody gets involved and this is when we are most productive. A typical afternoon might take me over to our other London site in the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge where we also have a salon and barber shop. 
I make sure to be home by 6 or 7pm at the latest to spend some quality time with Benjamin. We talk through his school day and review his homework. I like him to read to me in the evenings when possible. It is such a great way to unwind from a day in the salon.  This is generally followed by homemade dinner with the family before putting Benjamin to bed. Often I will then head out again, my work takes me to lots of evening events, where I meet clients and generate new business. I also have a talent management agency for sourcing and nurturing talent to our industry, so it is important for me to meet potential new artists.

I am normally home by about 11.30pm, which gives me enough time to carry out a final email check and catch up on the world news. It is normally 1am by the time I drift off. Thankfully I don’t need much sleep.


Neville Hair & Beauty Belgravia salon

Neville Hair & Beauty
Address: 5 Pont St, Belgravia, London SW1X 9EJ
Telephone: 020 7235 3654

Neville Hair & Beauty at Bulgari Hotel London
171 Knightsbridge
London SW7 1DW
United Kingdom

You can read previous A Day in the Life stories from some wonderful and inspiring female entrepreneurs, business owners and creatives here.
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