When Burnley business woman Jackie Woodland was fed up of travelling all the way to Manchester and back just to get her hair done, she decided enough was enough. So, what did she do? She built her own hair salon.
“Creating April Hair Salon wasn’t just an indulgent fantasy it was about fulfilling the needs of many people in the Burnley area,” said Jackie.
Jackie has Afro-Caribbean hair and struggled to find a hairdresser or products required for this specific hair texture. Nowhere in the borough had the knowledge or the skill to cut, style, braid or straighten afro hair.
Jackie and her husband Andy had no previous hairdressing or salon experience, but they knew there was a gap in the market. Working with the landlord and a specialist hair shop fitter in Nelson, April Hair Salon opened its doors in December 2017, supported with a vigorous social media campaign.
“With around 30 salons already in the Burnley area we knew we had to get it right as competition was strong, but we knew we were offering something different. Myself and my husband put together a comprehensive business plan, applied for a Start Up Loan and we were off. I also asked my hairdresser in Manchester if she wanted to be my salon manager. I was thrilled when she said yes!” Jackie added.
The salon doesn’t just cater for afro Caribbean hair. Many clients are white Caucasian as well as many men and women from the local Asian community, who have their own specific requirements. Clients with afro hair also need special hair care products such as creams and oils so Jackie made sure a comprehensive range of products was on sale too.
The new business venture has also been active in the community and some local university students helped out with the Facebook site and Instagram pages. Nelson and Colne College also use the salon for work experience students studying the hair and beauty courses. Many colleges use local salons for work experience but there is little exposure to the challenges associated with multicultural hair types, so April Hair Salon is unique.
Jackie also contacted The Prince’s Trust to offer the salon to 16-25-year-old students who were on their 12-week course to improve confidence and motivational skills. The students learnt all aspects of running a salon from booking appointments to stock control.
“Our customers range from 6 to 80 years old from all walks of life, which is reflected in our social media as we take photographs every day to show what the latest styles are. We have had many Asian males booking appointments for perms recently – it’s very popular. We have just completed a year in business, and we can see we are becoming well known in the Burnley area.”
And the name? “When we were thinking of a name, we were advised by the Global Hair Academy to have a neutral name. Many key events for me seems to always happen in April, so naturally when launching this new venture – I called it April.”