How One Barbershop Built Back Better

Published 15th Mar 2024 by Josie Jackson
Following a devastating fire, Edinburgh based barbershop Sink and Anchor were forced to completely overhaul their premises. We caught up with the owners to find out one barbershop built back better...

When did Sink and Anchor re-open?

We re-opened on Tuesday 15 August 2023.

The refurbishment took place due to unforeseen circumstances. Can you tell us a little bit about this?

The restaurant next door caught fire and the back of our shop is above their kitchen; it was an oil fire, so it spread quickly. Thankfully this happened on a Sunday, meaning no clients or staff were in at the time.

Were you able to return to the same premises, or did you have to relocate?

Thankfully we were able to return to our shop, after extensive work. However, while this was taking place, we were kindly offered a space to work in local salon, Medusa, where we spent five months.

Tell us about the renovation process and any challenges?

Our insurance company took four months to sign the work off, we ended up borrowing £14,000 from family and in loans to get things moving quicker. Our friend Sean, owner of Rollo Developments, was ready to help us re-open and his team worked overtime to get us opened within four weeks of finally getting the green light. We also had help from friends, family and staff, with tiling, electrics, painting and cleaning.

What was your budget?

It was hard to set one. Our insurance paid out £8,500 for business interruption and contents. This was nowhere near enough to cover staff wages, bills and refurbishing a shop. For structural work our insurance paid £20,000, which again, wasn’t enough.

Did you change any aspects of the shop so that it was different to how it was before the fire?

A little. We had just moved into and refurbished the space six months prior, so we had been pretty happy with how it was looking. We decided to tile the back area orange and have our reception desk as a coffee bar-type area by adding high stools – this was partly inspired by South Central barbershop in Bristol, who had also been though a similar situation.

Sink and Anchor

Is Sink and Anchor meant to appeal to any particular clientele?

No, our aim is that everyone who comes in comfortable and leaves feeling confident. We have a wide, eclectic range of clients and we absolutely love that. We recently had feedback from a client saying they left with their head held high, feeling amazing and wishing they were part of our team because the vibe is so good - that’s what we want!

Does the barbershop look different in separate areas, and if so, why?

We have the same theme running throughout, but it flows into three separate areas. We have our waiting area which we would say is very chilled - we have a comfy sofa and Mario Kart is always loaded up for a play, or you can sit at our desk-come-coffee bar and chat with staff if they are free. We then have our cutting area, which is often quite noisy, before you reach our wash stations at the back, where things are a bit more relaxed.

What makes the space unique?

We think our colour scheme of green and orange is quite different from most barbershops. We tried to go for a scandi vibe, pulling in some skater influences and a big pop of colour.

Sink and Anchor

Can you tell us a but about where you nought the furniture and artwork?

Some of our furniture was custom built by Rollo Developments, but our barbering furniture is from Salon Equipment. We have skateboards from Focus Skate Shop and Route One on display, and neon lights, which were bought online. Some of our artwork was created by clients, while others we've picked up from independent market stalls.

Describe the lighting in each area, why it was chosen, and what effect does it have?

We have 180 natural LED tube lighting as it’s often quite dark a lot in Scotland, so we wanted to recreate natural light. It’s not the most exciting to look at, but it’s the best for cutting in.

This must have been a really challenging time, who did you turn to for support?

It really was. We went through IVF last year and our daughter was born just two weeks after the fire. The last few weeks of pregnancy were really impacted by having the stress of this looming over us. We were lucky to have great support from family and friends. Plus, our amazing team and shop manager Ruari kept our temporary space at Medusa running smoothly while we dealt with the insurance and having a new baby. The owner of Medusa, Colin, has turned into an amazing friend and offered so much support to us during this time – his team were so welcoming and kept everyone’s spirits up every day. The owner of Rollo Developments, Sean, calmed the hectic situation and got us back where we needed to be – we will forever be grateful.

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 15th Mar 2024

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

Have all the latest news delivered to your inbox

You must be a member to save and like images from the gallery.