The Graces of Green: Glitch

January 16, 2020

By The Grace & Green Team

Salon, plant shop, eatery and music venue, Glitch is an inspired multifunctional space created by Alessandro Frank and Stephan Vi. Wanting to create a salon that broke with the traditional and dated hairdressing format, the pair launched the brand back in 2017. Thanks to regular collaborations with other artists and businesses, Glitch is a hub of creativity.

Upon entering the Bristol-based salon, it’s clear to see Alessandro and Stephan’s passion, with a beautifully curated interior and talented team. And did we mention it’s a music venue, hosting events from BBC to Boiler Room?

We had the pleasure of interviewing Stephan, Alessandro and the Glitch team, who are planning to launch their second salon in Brighton this year, giving us an insight into all things hair, sustainability and creativity.

Tell us about your business and who’s involved

Glitch is a multi-functional space that combines a hair salon, plants, music, cafe and event space. Our latest in-house partner is Ozaria Plants, who provide incredible foliage in our space to create the atmosphere that we are known for, as well as creating upcycled terrariums and sourcing incredible houseplants that customers can purchase.

We have a creative salon team of eight that cater to Bristol’s diverse hair scene, from classic styles to shaggy cuts and creative colour. We also incorporated our love of music from the inception of Glitch with a fully equipped stage where we host gigs during the day, as well as after-hours events.

What inspired you to start Glitch and how has it evolved since then?

My roots are in hairdressing and I found the standard salon set-up boring and stagnant, so I wanted to create a new experience for the customer that evolved beyond the norm by combining my different passions.

I first created a prototype in Florence, Italy to refine and perfect my idea, before bringing the finalised concept to Bristol and creating Glitch. We have hosted a few pop-ups, firstly with Gossip Nails and Grano Kitchen, who have both now moved into their own premises in Old Market, as well as Girls Who Grind who run their roastery in Frome. We now have our own Glitch cafe, making charcoal bunwiches with Italian-inspired ingredients. During these two years, we have also built relationships with Sofar Sounds to host regular intimate gigs, and have collaborated with Boiler Room, InFringe, Grime Daily and more.

How important is the aesthetic of your brand? What does the design say about your company?

Our brand aesthetic is extremely important and forms the core of our brand. We are constantly changing and switching up our space, which is also influenced by our changing needs as we grow and adapt. We used the bare bones of the space to create an industrial Scandi feel, which we then softened with plants and lighting.

What measures have you implemented within your business to make it more sustainable?

Since we opened, we have made a conscious effort to recycle all plastic and commercial cardboard. We also source wood from Bristol Wood Recycling Project, and Ozaria Plants has an eco focus and upcycling program. For our salon, we choose to use Kevin Murphy, an Australian company that is cruelty-free, predominantly vegan and uses recycled sea plastic for its packaging. Our coffee cups are from Huskee, made from 50% recycled plastic and reused coffee waste.

How important is the sourcing of local products and ingredients to you?

We champion local businesses and business people, who in turn use local products. Due to wanting high-quality salon products, we source from Australia (but they are packaged in recycled plastic and have a focus on sustainability and ethical ingredients) and our kitchen ingredients are primarily sourced from Italy and Spain, as that is our kitchen inspiration. Our bunwiches are made by Grano Kitchen in an Italian style, but using local ingredients and delivered on foot, as they are baked just down the street!

Name three brands or businesses that you admire. What do you love about them?

We admire Gucci, as they are an Italian brand that is still made in Florence, Italy, instead of outsourcing to another country like China. Their current aesthetic is really fresh and inspiring, as it combines high fashion and informal photography with great styling and excellent casting – something we hope to emulate.

Another business we admire is Juventus FC – an Italian football team. Their social media presence is unique, interactive and inclusive with a graphic design edge that translates to their clothing and other products. The branding of the Juventus Football Club goes beyond football merch, as they collaborate with musicians and celebrities while creating a recognisable presence online that uses the existing features of Instagram and giving it a fashion edge. Their motto is “Live Ahead” – something we firmly stand by.

Massimo Bottura is an Italian chef who combines food, art and zero waste. He is inspired by art – using a dropped plate as an inspiration on how to serve his food – and uses ingredients that may have been wasted by more traditional chefs. He has a collaboration with Gucci, who we also admire!

What motivates you to stay positive in light of the social and environmental crisis we are facing?

I think we find positivity in our city. Bristol has such a great attitude regarding the climate crisis – forceful and strong as a city – as shown in the reaction to our recent Extinction Rebellion protests, which were met with acceptance instead of frustration. However, at the same time, Bristol is really gentle, liberal and open-minded, with an acceptance of immigrants – which we are – so we find solace in Bristol’s attitude and community.

Do you have any advice for people to help them become more environmentally conscious?

Use local businesses and use the three R’s whenever you can!

What is your vision for the company over the next few years and how would you like to see it evolve?

We are in the process of opening another Glitch in Brighton with more of a lifestyle and health aspect and a focus on yoga, but still with the core Glitch values and aesthetic. I also would like to see a third Glitch open in the next three to four years.

Three-minute FAQs

Following the response to our post on Instagram, we asked the Glitch team to answer your questions:

Do you have any plastic-free shampoos or conditioners that you recommend?

Kevin Murphy, an Australian brand that we stock in the salon, uses recycled plastic taken from the ocean and made into bottles. Most of his products are also vegan and he uses the platform to donate to different charities such as CoppaFeel cancer charity. We also suggest that our customers use refill bottles if they want to reduce their plastic consumption.

How often should you wash your hair?

It varies drastically between people. Factors like bleaching and hair texture mean there is no definite answer. Washing too little can mean a build-up of dirt and pollutants, washing it too often strips the hair of its oils and can dry it out. The quality of shampoo you use can have a massive effect on how often you need to wash it as well. If you are finding your hair is getting greasy quickly, consider investing in a good shampoo.

My hair feels really sticky and tangled all the time, why is this and is there anything I can do?

This may be because you are using too many products, which is causing a build-up. You may also be using more than the recommended amount of shampoo and conditioner each time you wash. It’s important to avoid using shampoos with sulphates and silicone, as this can cause build-up. We recommend using a detoxifying shampoo, such as Kevin Murphy’s maxi wash.

Do you think hair oil or other detangling products are necessary or can I do without them?

If you find your hair tangled and dry, then a detangling product is necessary. If your hair is shiny and healthy, then you don’t need it. It also depends on the type of hair: if you have curly hair, there is more surface area and so you may need more oil.

Do you have any tips for keeping hair colour for longer?

Make sure you use a shampoo that has no sulphates and is paraben-free. We use Kevin Murphy. Hydration is so important for keeping the colour, and it’s also important not to use shampoos that strip the hair too much.

I am pregnant, is it still safe for me to dye my hair?

There has been little research on dyes and pregnancy safety for good reason – not many pregnant women want to be the participants! We are big advocates of free choice; every woman’s pregnancy is different and so is it completely up to them. If you are going to use dye, however, we recommend going for highlights, so the bleach isn’t in direct contact with the scalp. Using only organic and natural dyes is the safest option.

Written by Lucy Noon for Grace & Green. Photo credit: Niamh Cassidy @cassidy.bristol