First-time entrepreneur expands Kesgrave hairdressers, creating new jobs
A first-time entrepreneur who took the risk of starting her own hairdressing business says being a hands-on owner has helped her to expand her salon - creating new jobs.
Michelle Edwards started Hairlistic at Unit Four of the Grange Business Park, in Tommy Flowers Drive, Kesgrave, five years ago after a long career as a freelance mobile hairdresser.
Even though Hairlistic is her first business, her time freelancing proved valuable - as she used it to ask people why they don't go to salons and effectively carry out market research.
The 51-year-old has factored the feedback she received into Hairlistic, creating somewhere she says is “more friendly, more approachable” .
One of the salon's main themes is that it is eco-friendly and environmentally-friendly wherever possible, for example by offering shampoo refills to help cut single-use plastics.
However Ms Edwards said her work behind the scenes has been just as important, as she believes being an “active manager” who communicates regularly with staff has helped secure the business' success.
That approach, she says, has helped her to grow Hairlistic at a time when many businesses are struggling in challenging economic conditions - with the salon taking on an extra floor at its premises.
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The salon held a party on Sunday, April 14 to celebrate the upstairs expansion, which has added four new chairs to the salon and created the equivalent of three full-time jobs.
“When I was freelance, I did a lot of research by asking people what they did and didn't like about going into salons,” Ms Edwards said.
“All those factors are what I built into the salon. I've never run a business before - I put my heart and soul into it and I love what I do.
“Everyone picks up on the environment. They like a more relaxed, friendly and homely feel.
“We have to keep up there with training - and we have always got new stylists at college bringing in new ideas.
“However I think you have to be an active manager, not a sleeping manager. The manager does have to be involved and ultimately oversee everything, not just take a back step.
“We have staff meetings and one-on-ones to make sure everyone is reading off the same page. People have responsibilities and feel important.”
A raffle held at the opening event in April also raised £77 for Home-Start in Suffolk.
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