Après has evolved thanks to the loving hands of its exceptionally talented and bountifully experienced founder, Silje. Despite twenty years experience in the creative world of hairdressing, Silje is far from a one trick pony. From an education in graphic design to following a course in economics; her story is as unique as Après itself.
Hairdressing has always been my passion, but the creative in me has always wanted to achieve something different, to make my work unique and memorable. This lust for growth took me to London where I studied as a personal business and image consultant followed by a year studying economics to prepare myself for the daunting prospect of opening my own business. I then felt able to put into practice the unique touches that I’d always dreamed of giving my own salon. I wanted to create something completely different, something that affects all five of your senses as you walk through the door.
I’m a very aesthetic person and when I studied graphic design I learnt about which combinations of letters work most in harmony. Brands like Chloé and Hermès always caught my eye with their use of accents and as a result of combining this knowledge and inspiration, Après was born. Après translates from French as ‘after’, it is the result of something, the result of an experience and that just captured seamlessly what I wanted to create.
We bravely decided to do no marketing for Après once we opened, we wanted to grow organically by word of mouth from the unique experiences our customers had, and sure enough, our clients doubled after the first month. At the same time, we managed to maintain this hidden treasure feel; tucked away in such an industrial area, customers had to search for us and I think that made the experience all the more special.
The next part of my dream came true when we managed to land our current Après location. With Stavanger’s history as a fishing town, our first location was an old sardine factory and every day I would drive past this other building, it was part of Stavanger’s pride, and it used to be where the manager of a big brewery resided with his family. It was our vision to bring the house back to its roots, rebuild it as a home once more, restore it’s story – because that’s what we want our clients to feel when they walk into Après – the salon is a welcome home and the stylists are their family.
We rejuvenated the 1920s interior, accompanying it with the classic tones of Edith Piaf and dreamy jazz. We wanted to create a relaxed and familiar effect, something people will continue to associate with Après. Often other salons can feel noisy and cluttered, in fact most of my inspiration came from things I would find quite uncomfortable in other hair salons. Instead of gossip magazines, our waiting room is filled with a library of old books and classic novels and in place of bright lights and white walls, our rooms are decorated with historic paintings. It’s our aim to create a feeling of value and quality, we want to inspire our clients, encourage them to try new things.
In terms of the future, I’m a typical entrepreneur and the sky’s the limit, I believe we must take risks in order to achieve something and Après is just the start of what I feel like is going to be a very exciting adventure. But the thing that really motivates me to continue is seeing clients leave the salon every day. Not only is there a smile on their face but there’s a new found confidence in their air, an elegance in their walk. People leave Après feeling truly beautiful and when you can make someone feel that deservedly comfortable in their own skin, that’s when you know you’re doing something right.