As serial entrepreneurs go, Jo Irving, owner of The Loft in Reigate, is a pretty good local role model.
Obsessed with business, she’s owned a hair salon since 1999 and has multiple other roles and projects on the go. The varied menu includes:
● styling hair on shoots for magazines such as Hello & Bridal Fashion
● running yoga retreats for hairstylists in the UK & Ibiza
● working as a hair educator for GHD
● being a certified business and life coach
● being a mum
That’s a full life, right? Well, no. Because on top of all that (quite literally, in fact), Jo has just opened The Loft, Reigate. Launched on News Year’s Eve 2021, this new co-working space sits in the centre of town on Bell Street.
For so many businesses in Reigate, the pandemic proved a momentous time. And for Jo, it was in more ways than one.
Her hair salon was previously in Redgate (the gorgeous group of Victorian streets between Redhill and Reigate, where you’ll find another neighbourhood favourite, Deli on the Hill).
After she refurbished the salon during lockdown, Jo’s landlord said they planned to sell the building for conversion into apartments. Although she was running her coaching through online Zoom sessions, the prospect of having no salon for hair customers meant she had to pivot fast.
For many of us, that might mean crisis, but for Jo, it screamed opportunity. Faced with change and the need to act, an idea she’d had brewing at the back of her mind resurfaced. She wanted to create a co-working space where people could rent desks in a flexible way.
THE LOFT IN REIGATE IS BORN
“When I was a freelance business owner, I always needed a space where I could work without having to keep one eye on the washing, cooking and kids. But it’s also important to me to feel inspired by my surroundings. I wanted to create a relaxed, beautiful space where people can come to work, research or have meetings. Somewhere that wasn’t a coffee shop or office.”
After a severe burnout a few years ago, Jo changed direction and started life coaching while running retreats for hairstylists in Ibiza. Always on the hunt for somewhere to work, she found plenty of co-working spaces with a chilled atmosphere both there and in Bali. From there, the seeds were sown for a future project. “I guess I wanted to create a similar working vibe, although unfortunately without the weather!”
You can rent a desk at The Loft in Reigate for either 3 hours or a full day, and you’ll probably bump into Jo while you’re working. She has her own office there, and it’s also the venue for her freelance hair salon and coaching sessions.
Originally from Surrey, Jo moved back to the county from Scotland in 2005. She chose Reigate as a midway point between her parents and grandparents, along with the excellent schools and local lifestyle.
“We love living in Reigate and have lots of friends running independent businesses in the town. It’s so inspiring to see so many people working for themselves and creating their own lives. We also love the park, and it’s been great being able to walk to work with my dog.”
So what drives all this remarkable enthusiasm for business and life? “I love empowering people to reach their potential, whether with a new look or within their business. Selfishly, I just get so much joy from helping others to live their best lives!”
The Loft Reigate
19c High Street