If you’re a stylish man about town then chances are you’ll have heard of the cutting edge MaxOliver salons located at No 1 Nevill Street in Tunbridge Wells and Croft Road in Crowborough.
Run by three brothers, Max, 29, Oliver, 26 and Josh, 22, the trendy salons offer so much more than just a quick short back and sides. In fact they’re fast becoming the go-to places for style-conscious men who want to ensure their crowning glory looks head and shoulders above the rest.
“We’re so much more than just a barbers or hairdressers,” says Max. “We like to offer our clients an initial consultation in order to achieve a perfectly tailored and bespoke hairstyle that complements them and their lifestyle.”
It’s clearly a formula that works as the brothers, who only set up their business six years ago, have plans to extend the brand even further, opening more salons when the time is right and even hoping to create their own line of products.
More than just a haircut
Max originally trained as a classic barber but quickly spotted a gap in the market for a barbershop that could offer great customer service and also spend quality time on advising customers on their haircuts as well as being able to deliver the best possible cuts boasting all the latest techniques.
While Max was conjuring up his ideas for his own salon, middle brother Oliver was working for the Toni and Guy hairdressing chain. After serving seven years with them and qualifying with a double distinction, Max asked Oliver if he would be willing to join him in going into a business that was all about creating a new concept in men’s hairdressing.
Oliver agreed, but on one condition: that the brothers take their business to its ‘highest possible potential and never stand still’. They opened their first salon in Crowborough in 2013.
“We’re so much more than just a barbers or hairdressers,” says Max. “We like to offer our clients an initial consultation in order to achieve a perfectly tailored and bespoke hairstyle that complements them and their lifestyle”
Youngest brother Josh was also keen to get into the hairdressing profession and so Max and Oliver didn’t hesitate to snap him up. “It was a perfect opportunity for us to make Josh our first prodigy and funnily enough he now teaches us a thing or two,” laughs Max.
“Initially we were all going in separate directions in our careers but then it dawned on us that we all had different skills we could teach one another and so the idea of coming together in business slowly started.”
In terms of how the dynamic works, Max says that’s simple: “The respect, honesty and commitment are instantly there and being able to communicate with complete transparency and understanding is crucial. All three of us get on so well – and we all know our brotherly ranks!”
The move to the prestigious location near The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells came in 2017. “We were looking to expand for a while and when the premises in Tunbridge Wells became available it felt right straight away. Business there is fantastic and we really couldn’t have asked for a warmer, more welcoming place to be. It’s a great location and the positive feedback we get from our clientele is great. Chapel Place and The Pantiles are a beautiful spot, and we’re so happy to be part of that area.”
Look at the big picture
The brothers are also keen to develop the educational side of their business in terms of taking on apprentices and training them up to their exacting standards. Max says: “We have taken on members of staff we have seen potential in, and created our own programme to help them become the amazing stylists they are today. We want to continue to do this in the future and develop MaxOliver as a nationwide brand.”
The brothers, who currently boast a staff of nine across the two salons, say that no two MaxOliver customers are the same. “When it comes to hair, you get very different people,” says Max. “Some would like to come in and tell us exactly what they would like, while others would like our professional, experienced input and guidance to achieve something that suits their lifestyle.
“We very rarely get a difficult customer, because when it comes to men’s hair, we understand every client. Unless you quite simply don’t know yourself, then that’s when we will listen, talk and educate until we do understand.”
WHY MAXOLIVER IS CUTTING EDGE
What’s the secret of a good haircut?
Having a haircut is a very personal thing. If you love it, then that haircut is perfect for you.
Which products do you use in the salon?
We currently use the world’s greatest hair range, label.M. Their products are well respected in the industry and in our opinion are perfectly manufactured as they cover every hair type.
Any plans to create your own brand?
Yes, of course, but it’s a very complex, expensive process. So it’s the challenge of deciding where to invest our money first – expanding our locations or developing products. But yes, we definitely will in good time!
What’s MaxOliver’s USP over other local salons?
We are not barbers or hairdressers, but highly trained male-focused hair stylists. Having experienced training and working in both barbering and hairdressing environments, we understand all hair types. As men we’re all secretly in touch with our feminine side these days and don’t mind a bit more time, care and attention spent on our appearance.
We’d describe the MaxOliver experience in three words as being
Welcoming, tailored service.
Art Direction: Lee Smith | Photography: Craig Matthews