Ghosts, Beauty and Hair - Our Visit to a Quirky Salon

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“I’ve been coming here for 22 years! I was 18 when I started, now I’m 40, even my daughter comes here. It’s because it’s a really nice community of people. I get my nails done by Dawn’s daughter and always get my hair done here, it’s just a lovely family business. All the ladies you see coming and going, I think the major reason is because it’s so friendly and like an old-fashioned beauty salon, you can see how much people enjoy it” - Nadine, loyal customer and friend of Icarus. 

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Icarus is a salon on Trinity Street, and I can honestly say you will struggle to find a more unique and quirkier one in Colchester. It’s bright, friendly and you feel welcome as soon as you walk through the door. Looks are certainly deceiving as it looks tiny from the outside, but I can assure you it’s not! Indre and I were so surprised when we walked in, it’s like a labyrinth. The salon owner, Dawn, told us that the salon has been in Colchester for 25 years, beginning in Head Street, then moving to Trinity Street 8 years ago. Dawn has been the owner now for 2 years and is rightfully proud of the salons continued success. There are four levels inside and they have now branched out into the beauty side of things, which Dawn’s daughter runs.

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They also sell beautiful pieces of jewellery handmade by Mad Bird Design Jewellery. There is a cutting room, a washing room, a colouring room, a beauty room and upstairs, Dawn has a light, airy office with the most spectacular view of the town. In the cellar, you can even see a bit of the original Roman wall - how many businesses can boast of that? 

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One of the things I loved most about it was the colour scheme - they use grey and orange and it makes the salon feel warm and even on a rainy day, I imagine being in there would make you feel bright and energised. Charlotte, the senior stylist, spoke with pride of working for Dawn and loves how the whole street is full of independent traders and they’re all friends with one another, helping each other out. Which is really unusual these days, as everyone is seen as a competitor. It warmed my heart a bit that there’s still people like that out there and it reminded me of Indre and myself as we always root for one another!

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There are so many salons in Colchester, that it is hard to know which one you should go to. Dawn believes that Icarus stands out above her competitors as it’s not your typical salon. There’s no music, just the sound of gentle chatter and laughter, you get tea in a proper teapot and coffee in a cafetière.

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You can now get a manicure, gel nails, pedicure or waxing as well as getting your hair styled. You get the personal touch of having the same stylist each time, someone who knows what you want and to make you feel at ease. It’s extremely friendly and if you’re lucky to go in on certain days, there’s even a salon dog! Unfortunately, we missed him when we went. The window display is stunning, it’s made up of cute ornaments, silk scarves and personalised umbrella’s which say “The weather may not be perfect, but my hair is”. We fell in love. 

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If you’re into ghost stories, Icarus is somewhere you would find interesting. Charlotte told us there’s rumoured to be three ghosts in the building. To give a bit of background, Icarus used to be bigger, made up of the shop next door. It used to be a pub called the ‘Fleur De Lis’, owned by a husband and wife. Allegedly, they hated each other and were ordered to split by a court. They split the pub in 2 - the husband made his half into an inn and the wife made hers into a brothel. Three sisters then turned them into houses, before becoming a bookshop, a tailors, a Victoria doll house shop and now a salon. So, to the ghosts. Charlotte hasn’t seen them herself, but it’s said that there is; a gentleman who stands outside, supposedly the landlord of the Fleur De Lis, trying to get into the brothel, a seamstress in the cellar from when it was a tailors, and a little girl who runs between the buildings, believed to have died in the 1500’s. 

List of everyone that owned the building since 1764

List of everyone that owned the building since 1764

On the 19th May, there’s the Trinity Street festival, which is where all the businesses get together and have a carnival type of day, help each other out and just have fun! Indre and I will be there, so look out for us snapping away and taking notes! 

We both throughly enjoyed our visit and we’re so pleased we were invited to go along! 

Thanks for having us. 

Gemma and LifeComment