By Milo Launches in Brighton Pro Hair Products For Men
By Milo Launches in Brighton Pro Hair Products For Men
By Milo is a new, Brighton-born range of hair products created by the couple who opened the distinctive Dyke Road cutting room, Milo’s, a budding business built on the concept of Chic Utility. Absolute went to meet them and find out all about this exciting new range.
In the 1960’s, the Rolling Stones’ manager, Andrew Loog Oldham set up a maverick, independent record label called Immediate Records. On the sleeves of all its singles was the slogan: “Happy To Be Part of the Industry of Human Happiness.” Miles Coleman laughs at the thought. “Yes, that’s how we feel about cutting hair,” he says, referring to Milo’s, the distinctive salon on Dyke Road, Brighton which he set up with his wife Emma. “We love doing it because, well, it feels good making people feel good!”
When it opened seven years ago, Milo’s quickly became known for its friendly, off-beat atmosphere, which was partly the result of being home to both a barber and a hairdresser. Mixing male and female grooming styles was intuitive but surprisingly unusual. “Bringing our two working styles together made total sense.,” says Miles. “Apart from being a superb cutter, Em is a really good listener, brilliant with people, which is a key requirement in great hairdressing. The barbershop side of the business keeps the salon strong, because men get their hair cut more often.”
A concise, carefully selected line of clothes, shoes and accessories with a nautical feel, for sale in the salon,helped establish Milo’s distinctive style, one which resonated with people who love living beside the seaside in Brighton. “My design background was always a strong influence. So, right from the start we wanted to offer things that complement good hair. Clothing was an obvious way to start,” says Miles. “It looked good from outside and drew people into the salon. We began with chic, unisex stuff: Breton shirts, deck shoes, casual jackets, things people could sling on without needing a dressing room.”
Miles had studied design at St. Martins College, then travelled the world cutting hair. Returning to the UK he set up a gentlemen’s grooming salon in Kent. He heard about Emma Sanderson, a star alumnus of John Freida’s who had recently gone freelance and had a client list full of celebrities. “She was working with Oasis. I look nothing like them, but I thought, if she’s good enough for them, so I asked her to cut my hair.” Which is how he met his soulmate and partner to be. In 2007, the couple, having married, moved to Brighton to start a family. The commute to Kent soon became tiresome and so Milo’s was born at 216 Dyke Road. The couple’s enthusiasm for their adopted home has now helped inspire a new line of hair products, By Milo,each one redolent of, and named after, people or locations which have meant something to them during their time in the city.
“The shop is really relaxed – as befits the Brighton lifestyle,” says Em, looking around the busy room. “With the clothes we were offering well-made, trustworthy basics, classically simple and stylish.That idea rolls over into our hair products.”
The continuous search for products reflecting the simplicity and ease of use that Miles, Em and their customers desired, led them into creating the By Miloline. The idea grew from using natural oils on their customers as simple grooming products. “We were using jojoba oil, coconut oil and honey as styling aids to use as a primer to blow dry hair or just as a finish,” says Miles. “I’ve never felt that products have to be heavy or complicated, and we wanted to bring those natural things together into products that are easy to use and truly work.”
“The vast array of hair products on the market is daunting,” says Em. “I’m a professional and I stand in stores bewildered by the choice on the shelves. There are really only a few things you need to do with hair, thicken it, condition it, give it shape and hold for styling, it needn’t be complicated. But we found it surprisingly hard to source products that did what our customers wanted.”
“Blokes are bit more knowledgeable about grooming products these days,” says Miles, “but we still get confused by all the gels, oils and sprays on offer. In some ways it was easier when all men used the same products, you know, Brylcreme or brilliantine. Or just wore a hat!”
Miles’s first shot at his own product was Timbre, a light styling cream for men, which became popular with customers, and gave him the confidence to expand By Milointo a brand.
“Our regular customers, bless them, have been great guinea pigs for these products,” says Em. “The prototypes they responded to really helped us focus on what to bring out. Why sell brands that we only half-heartedly used when we could produce a bespoke range of our own? We want products that we know the ins and outs of, that are safe and that we believe in, that we use as a family.”
Miles and Em have worked closely with a chemist over the last four years, testing, adding and eliminating numerous ingredients, learning which oils, scents and ingredients combine and which clash.“It’s been a steep learning curve,” says Miles. “But what we’ve ended up with are styling lotions that we believe are truly brilliant, that really work and smell fantastic!” He is clearly delighted.
So far, there’s 216, named after the location of the salon on Dyke Road, a versatile, volumizing hair spray; &Em, a light styling cream which can be used wet to prep hair for a blow dry or to nourish dry hair;the popular Timbrestyling cream for men and, just because they could, a fragrance, Malvern, an eau de toilettenamed after Malvern House, the building Miles and Em first occupied in Hove, which is a delicious marriage of leather, cedar, frankincense and patchouli. These are available now to buy direct from the salon or online at ByMilo.com.
Four more products will follow in the summer, Port To Shorea matte finishing salt spray for “a tousled look like you’ve just stepped out of the sea”. The Dial, a clay and wax paste ideal for lifting short hair, and two lip balms, Gray and Pip, named after the couple’s children.
All the By Milolotions come in handsome, dark translucent bottles or jars with gold accents. Currently, everything comes in a single size, but they have plans to launch a range of travel amenity kits.“I’d be lying if I said this was an easy gig,” laughs Miles. “Running any kind of retail business right now is a challenge, as anyone will tell you. In business, you have to keep checking that you’re on the right path. But we love what we do and we want our enthusiasm to shine out of our products and our haircuts. We hope people will drop in, try out the products, have a haircut, have a chat, and become part of the family.”
“Kettle’s on,” says Em.
“I do like ‘Industry of Human Happiness’,” says Miles, returning to that old Immediate Records slogan. “I’d buy that. Hairdressing is undoubtedly a feel-good business. If people know they look good then they feel good, it’s as simple as that.”