Congratulations on the anniversary of Cognito! How would you sum up the past year?
S: Thank you so much, it has truly been an amazing year! Hmmm how would we sum up this past year? We would say challenging and eye opening, not only has Cognito grown rapidly as a business, we too have grown as individuals. You have to be thick skinned to run a business, constantly thinking of innovative ways make the business flourish and impact the lives of our consumers, making them feel inspired and encouraged by what we are doing and what we desire to achieve
D: I’d say this year has been a combination of excitement, hard graft, many sleepless nights, being pushed to the limits and put to the test. Yet highly rewarding – a bit like having a baby!
What have been your best moments?
S: Everything! We have had so many amazing moments, but I guess when we first opened our doors, cutting our very first customers hair and the wonderful welcome with have received from the Earlsfield community and other independent businesses. To also celebrate our 1st year as a start-up success, this is a monumental moment especially when you have worked so hard every day to make it happen, it’s a massive achievement for us both, it shows that hard work and dedication truly pays off!
D: Seeing our plans and everything we’d mentally envisioned for so long come to life! We’ve also had many meaningful and inspirational conversations with clients as we’ve been getting to know everybody. Finally, I’d say the one of the most rewarding moments is when you see someone who’d previously been a ‘hairdresser-phobe’ come back to you because they have confidence in your service and skills!
...And biggest challenges?
S: Honestly, finding staff, so if you know any local hairdressers who are looking to join our warm and friendly team send them our way… the second challenge is the working long hours. As you may know yourself you have to give so much of your time and effort into starting up a business, it is like nurturing a new born baby which needs your undivided time and attention. It comes with so many rewards and I am sure we will continue to conquer every challenge that comes our way.
D: The toughest challenge is that almost everything you do is new! Starting our own business has required us to become familiar with many areas and activities that we’ve really had little experience in. For example, we previously had no idea how to create a website, let alone think about features that might make our website more user-friendly. You learn from scratch!
Looking forward to the next 12 months, what has Cognito got in store?
S: As an eco-friendly salon we are thinking of more ways to establish these values throughout the business as well as ways we can get more involved within the community. So entering into a new year of business, we have pledged to use eco-friendly cleaning products such as method to keep the salon sparkling clean as well as being present and contributing to more community events. So if you are doing anything to impact our community be sure to get in touch and we would be happy to help!
D: Over the coming year we’d like to increase our commitment to protecting the environment. So far, we’ve already made taken action to preserve the planet by implementing the use of eco-friendly towels and by ensuring that our main product line is not only bio-degradable but certified organic, paraben-free, sulphate-free and vegan friendly.
What advice would you give to others setting up in the area?
S: We think it is important to be transparent and authentic, Earlsfield is a small yet thriving community so if to want to set up in the area think about what you can positively add or contribute to the community finding out the needs of the people who live here, so a little market research and speaking to the locals is important. Earlsfield loves to support local independent businesses and being in the heart of Nappy Valley make sure your business is child friendly too!
R: Get to know Earlsfield and the local community. By spending time with the locals you begin to understand what you’re doing that’s working, what’s not and why. The people of Earlsfield are always warm and friendly, and always ready to show their support for local businesses by providing the best possible feedback – you’ll find you also make some great new friends along the way!