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Full length version of my Harpers article. 9/3/12
Tucked away down Lacy Rd, off Putney High St, London, you’ll find a rather unassuming hair salon, Chez Stephan. From the outside, it’s a hair salon. Peer through the window, it’s a hair salon. Talk to entrepreneurial owner, Stephan Gallice and it’s a huge business enterprise waiting patiently to explode. Stephan purchased the salon from a traditional barber two and a half years ago “it was like it was stuck in the 70’s.”
Last February, 2011, a license was obtained to begin selling wine. Add an art gallery to the mix and you’ve got yourself an interesting, potentially lucrative business.
His philosophy is three pronged, creation, fine wine and art. Stephan says “Hairdressing is both creation. Japanese stylists working with me aren’t ‘hairdressers’ they’re artists and they’re doing creation. It’s a very good mix. You have art and creation. To make it even more social you have the wine in your hand.”
Having grown up in the capital of gastronomy, Lyon, France, Stephan has always been surrounded by food and wine. This is where he developed his passion for the ‘gastronomic culture.’ His grandparents owned a restaurant. Stephan says “Lyon has a very high standard for food.”
At twelve, to earn some pocket money, he started Saturday work in a hairdressers. A year later he cut his first clients hair. By the time he was seventeen Stephan was managing a salon where, in his own words “I was very good and very professional. The business incorporated an art gallery with a DJ playing all day long. People used to visit just to find out what was happening around Lyon.”
Stephan’s range is almost unique to him. He acts as sole agent to the producers here in the UK. The wines come from around Burgundy and from producers who have known him since he was a teenager.
The list includes: Domaine Pernot Belicard, Domaine Jerome Billard, Domaine Patrique Garnier-Garvin and more recently Maison des Bulliats. The costs range from £15-£50 per bottle.
Currently Chez Stephan offers private tasting sessions. A three tiered menu is available where you pay £10 for five 30ml glasses from their fine wine list. £20 allows five from the prestige list and £30 gives you the choice of five fine and four prestige wines. Their back room and newly landscaped garden are available for private events.
Stephan’s plans for the future are very bold. He wants to create a public entrance to the salons basement, which will be converted into a tasting facility. The basement has the capacity to hold 9000 bottles. Tourism is another thing Stephan is looking into. Using his connections with the producers, along with his knowledge of Lyon, he can offer personalised wine tours of the region. Let’s not forget the salon itself. Plans are in place to convert the front from a recognisable salon to a seating area with a wine bar whilst maintaining the functionality of a professional hair salon.
Courtesy of Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review