Sorbet: The Family Run South African Salon in North London

Written by: Sophie Taylor

Does this look like a face that belongs in the beauty industry?

One fine day in Johannesburg circa 2004 ish, Ian Fuhr was enjoying his usual massage. Amongst whale song and body oil his therapist started a fateful conversation, convincing him that what South Africa really needed was a beauty salon chain.

He turned over and frowned, confused.

“Does this look like a face that belongs in the beauty industry?” he scoffed, most self deprecatingly. “No” she said, somewhat cruelly, “but it looks like a face that could change it.”

With an admiration for entrepreneur Steve Jobs and a morbid fear of waxing, Ian set to work on his first salon. His niece Debra was soon on board, helping to open two salons in Bedfordview and Norwood in Johannesburg in 2005.

The name they plumped for was Sorbet, knowing that lemony fresh palette cleanser brings to mind thoughts of newness and, in my case, what’s yet to come for the next course.

Hungry for more, Ian  and Debra expanded the brand, opening more salons and always sticking to their original ethos: to put people first.

“You go into business to serve people, service first, reward second.” Their people- focused family business thrives on community, sustainability and authenticity. There are now 170 Sorbet stores open across South Africa.

“We decided to use a Wealth Creation financial model that includes staff as true assets to the business – and allowing us to share Sorbet’s wealth.”

More recently Sorbet has taken on the role of pioneering community upliftment initiatives through education, which is a salon-first in South Africa.

They were also the first to launch their loyalty programme in 2006, Sorbet Society, seeing over 300,000 members enjoying rewards and benefits from their regular salon visits.

In 2015, Sorbet opened its doors to the first Sorbet Salon in Muswell Hill. To date there are currently 4 stores in London including Sorbet Crouch End, Sorbet East Finchley and Sorbet Mill Hill. Because they know that North London is where it’s at

North Four, North London magazine, sorbet salons, beauty treatments, facials, massage, nails, waxing

As one ecstatic client beamed on Instagram, “Clarissa at @sorbetsalonsuk has the precision of a bomb disposal expert and the patience of a saint.” Her nails do look good enough to eat, mind. Pink and gold anybody? Yes kween.

Dermalogica, Environ, OPI & Morgan Taylor are the flagship products used and sold in Sorbet salons with a “get in, glow out” menu of manicures, pedicures, nail extensions, body waxes, massages and facials. But the most appealing product for me is the South African favourite: the Sorbet Skincare Collection itself. “Whether it’s optimum hydration, specialist care or anti-aging solutions you require, the Sorbet Skincare Collection delivers scientifically proven results to suit the unique demands of your skin, and your lifestyle.” Get me some of that good stuff, stat!

If you join the Sorbet Society Loyalty Programme you can start to enjoy the many rewards and discounts available. PLUS Muswell Hill Mums and Crouch End Mums now get 10% off any treatment. All you have to do is present your card and say HEY BABES IT’S ME WHAT’S FOR DESSERT?* Plus plus plus, when it’s your hotdiggedydog birthday, you can stop weeping into your birthday cake and get 50% off any treatment.

Have a peruse of all their very reasonably priced treatments and read up on Sorbet’s story with their handy timeline on the right while you’re waiting for your nails to dry / wax to heat up. 

Photos via Sorbet Salons Insta.

*you can just present your card

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