Since my big chop (see my blog post Hair Today!), I need to trim my hair regularly to maintain the short style. I’m constantly looking out for good barbers/salons where I can get a quick shape up for a good price. Whilst strolling through Westfield Shepherds Bush, I came across Chop-Chop. It caught my eye as its a small open plan hub located in the aisles of the mall. I immediately noticed there was a black stylist there cutting afro hair. I took their card and decided to look them up. Chop-Chop have a unique concept. 24 hairstyles – 20 minutes – £20. Those 24 hairstyles include cuts specifically for afro hair types. One being a low cut afro, just like mine. Perfect I thought. Both affordable and convenient – I could use them for my regular trim. IThere was some apprehension about getting my hair cut at a salon which did not specialise in afro hair, but felt assured when I read on their website:
“Our stylists are seasoned professionals, who have passed several layers of vetting and training by our management team. We’ve done this so our customers can sit with full confidence, knowing that they are in perfect hands.
We want to celebrate you, in all your unique glory. That’s why our stylists are specially trained by the best in the industry to work with a multitude of different hair types. So you can embrace your individuality and trust you’re in good hands.”
I went ahead and booked my appointment online, which was a simple process. After creating a profile you then choose one of the 24 cuts/styles, book a slot, then select one of the available stylists. It was my first time so I randomly selected a stylist. All done. My appointment was later that day, after work. I was excited to try this concept out.
Appointment and disappointment
I headed straight there after work. I was 10 minutes early, as their website suggested. There was only one stylist there at this time, who was with a client. He took my name and asked me to sit and wait, as my stylist would arrive soon. I was a little uneasy about getting my hair cut out in the open, on view to passing shoppers, but soon realised that people were not actually paying attention. My stylist arrived in about 10/15 minutes. After a quick debrief with his colleague he approached me and asked me what I was having done. This concerned me since I had booked online and selected my required hairstyle. I know he was given my name, so surely my booking details were to hand. Anyway, I told him what I was having done and to my disappointment his response was. Sorry I cannot style afro hair! I was in shock. Apparently, the person to do my hair had to leave early. This confused me as their claim was they were all trained to do all types of hair. Isn’t that your unique selling point I asked? What’s more, why was I not informed before or immediately on my arrival? Customers are asked to cancel no later than 45 minutes before their scheduled appointment, so I would expect the same heads up. His apology did not pacify me, nor did his offer of a slot the following day. The options were to take a refund, or return within a couple of days, whilst he was still on shift. I didn’t see why I couldn’t have a credit to return on any day. I was not impressed with the customer service. What I actually wanted was to get my hair cut – that day. This was now impossible.
I returned the following week to make use of my credit. I was now a skeptic but wanted to see how well they could cut. I was relieved to see a black stylist and a black barber manning the hub. Interestingly, both were styling European hair when I arrived. My stylist, Khadime, was skilled, friendly and engaging. She did a good enough job on my hair and completed it in good time, but I’ve had better cuts at high street barbers.
To summarise, I was unimpressed and disappointed on my initial visit to Chop-Chop. My second visit went smoothly, however, since they failed to live up to their own claims, and certainly did not meet my expectations. I personally would not take the risk of disappointment again. They do however have two other branches in London who may be more organised and efficient.