Marvin Lin is one of the most sought-after hair stylists in Hong Kong. Her career took off when she was just 19 years old, before heading off to London for a scholarship where she was later named best junior stylist. Then, after stints as a creative director at numerous leading salons and having her work featured on the covers of magazines like Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire and Tatler, she opened her own salon — SHHH.
Today, SHHH has established itself as the go-to destination for when you need a little more than just a fresh haircut. Based right in the heart of HK’s vibrant Sheung Wan neighborhood, the salon caters for its international and eclectic clientele by offering a range of wellness treatments to help them live happier and healthier lives.
It’s become something of an urban sanctuary in the city, offering refuge from the noise and intensity of the sprawling metropolis throbbing right outside its doors. To find out how she did it, we sat down with Marvin to discuss what it is, exactly, that the salon offers that others don’t, and why it’s more important than ever to take a few moments to chill out and unwind.
How did the idea for SHHH come about and what was the original aim of the project?
The idea came about after clients of mine asked to have a relaxing space with privacy to enjoy their “me time.” We are essentially in the hospitality business so our goal is fairly simple: make our guests happy and satisfied. It’s an urban sanctuary for them to feel great, to unwind and to be pampered.
Many of our guests have been coming here for over a decade. From high school, through university, as young professionals, all the way to having their own family — we grow together. They are here not just for a good cut and treatment but also having a good time here. They bring their kids and dogs. When they’re here, they feel comfortable enough to leave their jewelry lying around. They call it second home or a comfort zone — it’s their personal place to feel completely chilled and indulged.
Aside from haircuts, what else do you offer?
Above all, we offer good vibes and happiness. It’s paramount to keep the experience personal. For us, it’s more than just providing the hair services. The conversation, interacting, telling stories and listening to each other are all important ingredients to make a fulfilling experience.
In terms of service, our treatment is probably the best on the market. I’m in the industry for about two decades. The connection between health and hair quality is surprisingly tight. Every strand of hair tells me something about the guest’s way of living and health status. Hence, I’m obsessed with offering better hair treatment services to make my guests not just feel and look healthier, but so they actually do get healthier as well.
Our team is also constantly scouting around the globe for interesting brands and new hair-related products or technologies to enrich the experience we provide.
Why did you decide to take a more holistic, lifestyle-oriented approach?
Haircare is our core service without doubt, but we see it as an integral part of personal style, well-being and self-care. Hair is probably the most important element to complete a look. Your hairstyle sends a profound yet subtle non-verbal message. No matter how meticulously one’s dressed, a bad hairdo ruins the whole look.
In line with our focus on wellness and our discerned approach to modern living, our lifestyle section aims to compliment our guests’ way of living and hopefully extend our thoughtfulness into their everyday lives. Some of our VIPs love our personal shopping and styling service, as it gives them instant access to some of the best fashion houses around the world, Most of whom we’ve been honored to work with.
How do you want your clients to feel when they walk in? And then when they walk out?
When they walk in, I want them to leave their worries behind and indulge themselves in time in which they are free to kick back and get their feet up. When they walk out, they should feel recharged just like after a good session in the gym. The only difference is their hair, not their body, gets bouncy and energized after being with us.
What role does the salon play in the local community?
Sitting on the second oldest road in Hong Kong, next to art galleries, antique shops, museums, great restaurants and retailers, we have the duty to provide the best hair services in town. We stay relevant and try to reflect the area with a good blend of modernity and tradition. Professionally, amazing hair services and an intriguing curation of lifestyle products is our duty. Emotionally, we bring good vibes and energy to this charming community.
Tell us a little bit about the kind of products you use
We cater to the lifestyle of our clientele. They’re globetrotters and they have discerning tastes. They hunt for the brands and products that are not easily available elsewhere.
The brands we carry are the visionaries within the industry. Shaquda from Japan has unparalleled craftsmanship in making everyday objects in new and beautiful ways; Australia’s Hunter Lab brings fresh ideas to men’s skincare and uses only natural ingredients; Cire Trudon, who has a rich history as the candle maker of choice for French royalty, has just launched a perfume line.
We have a vision that goes beyond simply buying the easiest or most convenient brands. We have to stay relevant and that means a constant curation of everything you see inside.
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