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Owner and Creative Director, Three V Hair Salon
I arrived about 18 years ago. I was supposed to be here for 8 months and learn English. After the 8 months, I loved London so much that I stayed, especially West London and this area of Notting Hill Gate and Portobello. I arrived straight from Lyon, France to Notting Hill Gate station. I dropped my bag at the bed & breakfast, then tried to look for a job and I found a job on the day, I was so lucky. I moved around the area, Notting Hill and Portobello, flats and rooms, as every foreigner does. Then eventually I bought a property here and started my business.
To be honest I have no clue. I think it was just the destiny… and destiny did good as I love it here . It’s just the best place to be. West is the best! Portobello is modern, retro and vintage all together. I learnt hairdressing in France and I just decided to learn English, that was the main thing. I never thought I’d stay. I always thought I’d be in a place where there is the sunshine, the beach and the sea and London is the opposite but there is something so special about West London that you can’t find anywhere else and that’s why I stayed. This is a different lifestyle, different weather, but it is completely me now. I am a Londoner more than a Frenchman I guess now.
Just the atmosphere – I can’t see myself anywhere else. We used to be on Hillgate Street, we’ve been open about 5-6 years. Before that I was on Ken Church Street. Now we’re here in Pembridge Road for a few months but we’ve always been in the area. Portobello is the best area for business I think. Every tourist is coming to see Portobello and we use that for our business too.
A lot has changed, definitely. The people who live here are still the same people but the businesses have changed I think. It’s more commercial stuff, like big brands, starting to get into the Road and it starts to change a bit of the atmosphere and the life of the market in Portobello. It’s a bit different now. It’s a bit less real, a bit more fake, and a bit more superficial.
I hope not, but I think because of the price of property, the rental, all of this, it is hard for a little business to open and survive, so in time only the big ones with the big money will survive and that’s a shame. I see it will be a lot more commercial and big names. If we get together we can try to do something about it. Little businesses and local businesses should get together and maybe make the Government make a law for area like Portobello, which brings tourists, to keep it real and to keep it the same as it used to be, to protect the area somehow.