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Hairdressing mentor shapes the careers of 35 apprentices

Warwick-based salon owner Karen reflects on a 30 year career that blends her love of hairdressing with mentoring apprentices.

Although, as a recently qualified 23 year-old hairdresser keen to travel the world, owning a business wasn’t in the plan to begin with.

“Being young and adventurous I initially turned the offer down [to purchase the Talk ‘n’ Heads salon] thinking I would travel some more,” said Karen.

“However, after being offered a very convincing deal, I decided to give it a go.”

Karen’s introduction into salon ownership wasn’t without its challenges and she juggled motherhood while managing apprentices and salon operations.

“Just a couple of weeks after taking over the salon I employed my first apprentice,” explained Karen.

“Then 12 months later in 1993 I was blessed with my first child, Jessie.”

“No one ever said opening a business and having a baby in under 24 months was sensible or easy – but with the help and support of my loving family I was able to do both.”

Heading up her business enables Karen to do something she is passionate about – passing on her skills and knowledge to the next generation of hairdressers.

“During the last 30 years I have had the absolute pleasure of training more than 35 young enthusiastic people through their hairdressing apprenticeships,” said Karen.

“This has been one of my most rewarding achievements during my professional career, particularly as my daughter Jessie Taylor and my niece Brittnie Banks were two of those apprentices.”

Karen has some simple advice for hairdressers who are considering the transition to salon ownership: work hard.

“Growing up I was taught to work hard and that the secret to success is to always put 110 per cent into whatever you do.”

“My business story is quite simple; I enjoy training young hairdressers and making our clients look and feel beautiful, and I look forward to continuing to do this,” Karen concluded.