Stuck in a barn with… Simon Smith

We catch up with Simon Smith, recommended by Tatler as one of the UK’s best hairdressers:

Following a busy day, you’ve gone for a stroll, taken in the Cotswolds’ view and decided to have a little snooze in a comfy barn but when you wake up the door is jammed.

Eek what to do Simon?  Answer our nosey questions of course:

Simon’s first venture into hairdressing began at the age of fifteen, when he worked as a salon assistant. Immediately inspired by the industry, Simon moved to London to complete his training in Knightsbridge, eventually opening his first salon at only 21. He built up a vast client base in Oxfordshire and its borders and his salon grew into a thriving business.

After years working at high fashion events in London, training beginners to become fully qualified stylists and with clients travelling far and wide to see him, Simon worked in one of the most acclaimed salons in the world under Trevor Sorbie MBE. Nearly 20 years since discovering his passion, Simon Smith is his first independent salon with first branches in Chipping Norton and Cheltenham.


1. So Simon, …..who would be the first person you’d want to ring once you’d realised the barn door is jammed?

I would call my business partner and friend Aron, he is the most cool-headed calm person I know who always has a good logical solution for any situation.

2. You’re trying not to panic (thinking about all those customers waiting at the salon) – tell us about Simon Smith, how you came to open in the Cotswolds and the best thing about it.

Apart from being (in my opinion) the most beautiful region in the UK I love the people, the mix of personalities and the zest for life. After training and working in London on and off for a number of years it is nice to be in a place where people value family and down time but balance this with hard work and innovation in start-up businesses alongside well established companies.


3. What songs are you singing to while away the time?

My first concert I went to was David Bowie and I haven’t stopped listening to him since! I would feel disloyal if I listened to anyone else.

‘Life on Mars’ seems appropriate for this barn.


4. What makes you laugh?

My son! He is all of the best bits of me plus so so much more. He has a cheeky side that cracks me up!!! I wish he was in this barn with me..

5. What are you planning on drinking as soon as you’re out?

No joke!! I love Cotswold lager, so I would be ordering a pint of this as soon as I’m out.


Photo: The Cotswold Gentleman

6. What’s your first delicious item of food going to be in the when you’re free?  Where will you get it from?

A roast dinner in my eyes is the best dinner.  Christmas dinner is the king of roasts, I had the best Christmas dinner I have ever eaten in 131 Cheltenham…. that’s where I would be heading and I would beg the chef even if it was summer to cook me that dinner again.


7. Where would be your favourite place to stay in the Cotswolds, if you weren’t sleeping in a bale of hay?

I would book into Soho Farmhouse. You can’t beat it for sumptuous bedrooms atmosphere and service. I would be there like a shot!!


8. What are your immediate plans as soon as the barn door is open? Any hobbies you’re going to take up?

Apart from learning to be a Locksmith (which would have been handy), I dabble with photography but am no pro.. I would love to get stuck in to this and learn from the best and photograph all sorts of people who are my true passion.


9. What are the places in the Cotswolds that you’re keen to visit?

One day I would love to walk the Cotswold Way. Having spoken to so many people who have done this, it sounds amazing! I know it’s nowhere specific but I would truly find it hard to narrow down to one particular place.


10. What are your plans in the next few weeks?  If you get out of that barn of course…

Keep warm, work hard growing our teams in Cheltenham and Chipping Norton, help lots of people have their best hair!

Simon Smith 

“Simon Smith’s salon is wonderfully cosy, with cracked-leather armchairs and scuffed wooden floors, but the end result is still polished – blowdries are country-appropriate and everyone at the backwash has a shine-inducing Olaplex treatment on their hair. Locals float in and out, and all the juniors know you by name, but the draw is Simon himself: a brilliant conversationalist with a head of enviably golden waves (many women request the same).”         Tatler