Alex and Mary Rose Briffa are the Directors behind The Schere Complex, a unique spa and beauty experience nestled within the natural caves of Mellieha. Though they come from different backgrounds – Mary Rose as a hairdresser and Alex formerly a chef – together they have built a reputation for excellent service across Schere’s salon, spa, café and more. This is reflected perfectly in their motto: ‘your comfort is our priority’.
Mary Rose kickstarted her hairdressing career 25 years ago, opening the original Schere Hair Salon nearly two decades back. “At the time it was a very small salon, and we expanded as we went along,” she smiles, looking back.
Alex, meanwhile, worked in hotels but dreamed of having his own business. The idea behind Schere Complex today came about initially when the couple bought their home – a townhouse in Mellieha. “Upon going downstairs, I saw that it had caves below, and I immediately imagined them as a relaxation space we could enjoy after a stressful day, perhaps with a jacuzzi,” Alex explains, adding, “funnily enough, we never did it at home, but the idea remained in my head.”
Then, when the opportunity arose to develop a similar cave complex in Mellieha, it felt like destiny. At the time, the contract for their smaller space, Schere Hair Salon, was about to finish, and the couple made the decision to expand and embark on something larger. Thus, Schere Complex was born.
Together, the pair expanded their services, developing a unique concept – a beauty salon offering different beauty and spa treatments under one roof, along with a cafeteria, bringing both of their passions and areas of expertise together. Alex would primarily focus on the café, while Mary Rose oversaw the salon and spa, with hands-on leadership being central to their approach.
“Since the beginning, it has always been about offering our clients the best level of service possible. Many of our clients come for us – they ask for us as soon as they come in. The hands-on nature of our business is very important to us,” Mary Rose explains.
Looking ahead, refurbishments and continuous team training are priorities as they continue elevating their services. Ongoing challenges include recruitment struggles facing the sector and maintaining quality standards across the board. Yet through it all, their focus remains on the client experience above all else.
“We owe a lot to our team in this regard,” Mary Rose says, with Alex adding, “you can make or break someone’s day with your attitude. Everyone can be stressed, but a kind word can make all the difference.”
This emphasis on thoughtful service has been central to the brand they’ve built. “The biggest challenge is to maintain a consistent level and standard of service – there are big issues with human resources in the sector, and it filters into a big issue with service across Malta. We work hard to maintain quality and keep to our standards across the board – be it a simple coffee or any beauty treatment – while also keeping prices decent for our clients,” explains Alex.
Asked for their leadership advice, the couple stresses leading by example, avoiding singling people out in front of others, and keeping business separate from your personal relationship. “If there’s an issue at work, we don’t bring it home,” they say.
Finally, they sum it up in simple terms: “Keep yourself as the client. Give the best service possible. Stay humble and keep your feet on the ground. Don’t rush.” By following their own advice, the Briffas have created something special with Schere. Their story shows is one of shared vision and complementary talents, and of successfully uniting to build an innovative business.
This interview forms part of the 50 Business Leaders project. The new online serialisation on MaltaCEOs.mt will feature 50 distinguished business leaders, CEOs, and emerging business minds to create debate and encourage business leaders to share their journey with our readers.
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