In 2013, the shop that Dan Gregory found himself working in sadly closed down. He was faced with an ultimatum -fight or flight. He could easily have applied for another shop, but calculated that his regular clients would cover the rent of his own shop, so in December 2013, he opened the doors to his brand new place.
“I found it enjoyable, because it was something I created and could call my own and I’d worked towards it,” Dan explains, “but I don’t think I ever really had it in me to have my own shop. It was never something I aspired to have; I almost wanted to run shops and salons, over having my own, I feel like I work better in that sense.” Although challenging, he enjoyed the hustle but ultimately found that running a window fronted premises with staff, just wasn’t fulfilling him.
When offered a lease extension and rent review, Dan knew that this wasn’t for him, so he decided to get back to cutting hair and joined Hunter Collective.
“I moved to Hunter Collective when it was a year old, after I’d decided not to continue with the rest of the lease of my shop.” Dan reveals. “I wanted to get back to something I really enjoyed, which was cutting hair, and I was starting to do less and less of that.”
Hunter Collective, named after the surname of co-owner, Lacey Hunter-Felton, is aa co-working space where the team all come together as a collective and work together, not for anybody but with each other. That’s what really drew in Dan and has kept him there for four years.
Dan’s second location, Prive, is a few hours up the road in Liverpool. Opting for a studio, he has opened a completely private space. “I found that now, the way my career has gone, more people are wanting a bespoke service from me,” he says.
The ideology of Privé is that all clients can feel comfortable both through their emotions and through their hair. By opening up in a private space, clients can truly achieve the right cut and style for their own hair, as well as build confidence without other people listening. Dan wanted to create the perfect break from real life for his clients.
“I HAVE A SET BUDGET, A GOAL AND A TARGETED AMOUNT TO MAKE, AND AS LONG AS I MAKE THAT, ALL IS GOOD.”
“I decided to open my own studio and split my time between London and Liverpool,” Dan explains, “I have a lot of clients travelling from the North, down to London, I thought Liverpool was a nice in-between for some people, and closer for others. I fancied having something with a slightly different model to what I was already doing.”
Currently working one day in Liverpool and three days in London, Dan is looking to increase his offering in Merseyside to three days, which will provide an even spread across each location.
“My whole life is about a work/life balance; it’s really important to me, and I want lots of time with my wife and kids, as well as at work.”
Dan’s method and approach to business is simple -have fun. By ensuring he has enough time to cut hair and enough time to be at home, he has achieved a balance that many would envy.
“I drove myself into the ground for years,” Dan remarks, “not taking time off, not having holidays, just working all the time, and it wasn’t healthy for me or good for anyone around me, or my clients!” Now, Dan is happy to take a few days off work if he feels he has been working too much.
“I have a set budget, a goal and a targeted amount to make, and as long as I make that, all is good.”
After the successful and smooth opening of Privé, Dan looks on to the future. “I think I potentially would like to have a studio in different cities that I could go to one day a week, or people could open up their own and use my business model,” he says. “But I really love Hunter Collective too, and would love to try and push that brand further afield; it would be great to see a Hunter Collective in every city. I try not to think too far ahead, the last couple of years has taught us all you’ve got to enjoy the moment.”
To Dan, being a business owner is about control of his time, control of his life and control of his finances. Where most would fall, Dan has flourished and continues to put the work in to both locations and drive both brands for his clients and colleagues. Has Dan unlocked the secret to a perfect work/ life balance?