Hull’s first subculture hair salon has joined the thriving community of independent businesses in the city’s Fruit Market.
Mousey Brown’s is the latest quirky addition to a diverse range of entrepreneurial local companies benefiting from the remarkable regeneration of the waterside quarter.
The salon caters for an extraordinarily wide spectrum of alternative styles, including punk, goth, hipster, mod and hip-hop, but also welcomes customers wanting a more conventional cut.
The 650 sq ft salon in Humber Street, in the heart of the Fruit Market, has an industrial feel with exposed brickwork and repurposed fixtures and fittings, respecting the heritage of the area as the former home of Hull’s wholesale fruit and vegetable trade. The new salon employs four stylists as well as a freelance hair colour artist and a nail technician.
Owners Andy Hampel and Sarah Clayton said the area’s location and its complementary mix of independent ventures made the Fruit Market unique.
Mr Hampel, a design teacher at Bishop Burton College, who is overseeing the marketing of the business, said: “We were very well aware of the community spirit in the area and being able to connect a business to that was what really excited us about this opportunity.
“This is a great, new hub of community and culture that people are really flocking to. For us it’s about being part of that community and the location is just amazing. The area has been under-used in the past but now it’s really coming to life.”
A wave of new businesses have sprung up over recent months as the regeneration of the Fruit Market gathers pace.
They include Cocoa Chocolatier and Patisserie, which sells hand-crafted fine chocolates, brownies and luxury Italian gelato. Owner Jon Collins launched last October with just one part-time member of staff and the business has grown so fast that it now has five full-time and three part-time employees, as well as a relaunched stall at the nearby Trinity Indoor Market, creating a further two jobs.
The business has benefited from deals to supply neighbouring businesses in the Fruit Market and its chocolate-making courses are booked up for months ahead.
Mr Collins said: “We couldn’t have wished for a better first few months, with all the support we have had from our customers and our neighbours.
“There’s a really good balance of independent shops, eateries, bars and galleries and all the businesses are working together towards the same goal. A real community is being built here and we all want everyone else to succeed.
“We feel privileged to be here because it’s a massive opportunity.”
Another local business to have prospered in Humber Street is Block CNC, run by partners Jonathan Green and Jonathan Kleinhout, which took a pop-up showroom and project space in January and this has now led to a permanent presence.
Block CNC’s core business focuses on large, bespoke, commercial and artistic projects, while the Humber Street showroom displays the company’s furniture, homewares and recently-introduced bespoke, plywood kitchens.
Mr Green said: “This creative, visual space has given a flavour of the work we do on a domestic scale and has led to a number of commissions.
“In addition, it will host a dynamic programme of events, ranging from art exhibitions, performances, workshops and special guest pop-up shops, for City of Culture and beyond.”
Humber Street is also home to location agency Shootfactory, which acts on behalf of the owners of properties across the UK and abroad that can made available for photographic shoots or big screen and TV filming. Shootfactory has its head office and operational base in first-floor offices in Humber Street, supporting its client-facing London office, and moved to the Fruit Market to be part of Hull’s creative hub.
The common threads linking all the new businesses are individuality and creativity, says vintage hairstyles specialist Sarah Clayton, who manages Mousey Brown’s.
She said: “Humber Street and the Fruit Market are perfect for what we’ve created – the environment, which is very different from a typical salon, and the range of styles we do. There’s nothing like it in Hull.
“There’s a fantastic atmosphere here and we will add to the buzz because a hair salon is like a community – a place where people meet and talk.
“I love all the individual places on Humber Street. None of them are big brands – they’re all people with real skills and a passion for what they do. Being here really brings that out. It’s a magnet for creative people.”
The transformation of the Fruit Market is being delivered by Wykeland Beal, a joint venture company formed by regeneration company Wykeland Group and housebuilder Beal Homes, working in partnership with Hull City Council. The area’s rejuvenation has included a multi-million pounds refurbishment programme to bring derelict buildings in and around Humber Street back into use.
Other new businesses attracted to Humber Street within the past year have included high-quality restaurants Ambiente Tapas and Butler Whites; arts venue Humber Street Gallery; the Humber Street Distillery Co gin bar; and vintage fashion brand Poorboy Boutique.
The Fruit Market’s commercial opportunities will be complemented by 101 new mews-style homes around private courtyards, due to start construction before the end of 2017.
Tom Watson, Development Surveyor at Wykeland, speaking on behalf of Wykeland Beal, said: “Our vision for Humber Street is for a vibrant mix of independent retail, leisure, cultural and commercial uses and that is now taking shape.
“The provision of refurbished premises in a unique location offers a fantastic opportunity for a diverse range of entrepreneurial companies at a time when City of Culture is attracting people to Hull from far and wide.
“We’re delighted that both new and previously established businesses are doing so well as the Fruit Market becomes established as an exciting new destination.”