'Lots of tears' as twenty-year-old Blackpool hair salon announces closure after '18 months of hell'
A Blackpool hairdresser who styled mullets and mohawks in the Eighties,pixie cuts and Friends-inspired ‘Rachels’ in the Nineties, and elegant mermaid waves in the 2000s is about to close the book on a beauty career spanning more than three decades.
For twenty years, hairdresser Jayne Sherwin, 49, watched surrounding businesses come and go from her salon, Solo Scissors, on Caunce Street.
Now, due to the rising costs of the Covid-19 pandemic, the mum-of-one is being forced to close the doors on her decades-long legacy.
She said: “I have days at the salon where I have been crying my eyes out, telling people I’m shutting down and I won’t be able to do their hair any more.
“It’s a hard decision for me because most of my clients have been with me for over 30 years. I’m not just their hairdresser to them, I’m a friend.
“These are people who have been with me since I was 15 years old.”
Jayne ventured into the beauty business when she was just 13 years old, working a Saturday job at Panache on Caunce Street in the Eighties, and later training there as fully-fledged hairdresser.
In 2001 she set up her own salon, Solo Scissors, just a few doors down, and over the years established a loyal group of clients, many of whom supported the business from day one.
From its opening, the salon worked in partnership with Blackpool and The Fylde College to train up and coming young hair stylists, with more than 20 beauticians earning their qualifications through work experience there.
In 2012 she won first place in the college’s Ambassador of Industry award, and in 2010 the salon was named runner-up for the North West Micro-Employer of the Year award.
She said: “It has been an amazing 30 years. I have enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve taken on so many girls and so many apprenticeships. It’s heartbreaking to come to this point, where we have to close down.
“These last 18 months have been hell. We were a really well-established salon before Covid-19, with regular customers who came in every week. After reopening with lots of restrictions in place that we didn’t previously have, we couldn’t take on as many customers.
“Two thirds of my income has gone. Before, on an average day, we’d serve 25 or 30 clients in a day. Coming back from Covid-19, we’re looking at seven or eight. We can’t fit people in, and when you can’t fit people in who’ve been coming to us for twenty years, they will start looking elsewhere.
“For example, hair colouring can sometimes be a two or three hour job. Sometimes it can take all day. Normally in a salon we would put the colour on, and while it’s developing we could get started on someone else.Now, because of social distancing, we can’t do that.
“We’re earning almost nothing because we can’t get any clients in, and we’re still very conscious that Covid-19 is ongoing and people are still anxious of places being too busy.
“Losing two thirds of our customer base, we just can’t afford to keep going.
“What makes a hairdressers unique from a barbershop is that it’s not just a hair cut. It’s a social event. It’s getting out of the house. Rain or shine, they will come, sit and chat and have a cup of coffee. They want to gossip about their children and their grandchildren and what they’re getting up to next week. But Covid has destroyed all that.”
As a result of ongoing losses and her own struggles with osteoarthritis, Jayne made the difficult decision to close Solo Scissors this December.
The salon used to employ seven hairdressers, however, only two now remain besides Jayne, who will go on to run their own studio, Victoria J’s, which is due to open on Highfield Road when Solo Scissors shuts down.
Jayne said: “Things have changed so much over the years. In the eighties we would spend all our days doing perms and mullets and high-built hairstyles with 20 tonnes of hairspray. Clients were there twice a week and wouldn’t think of going out without having their hair blow-dried.
“Now, they come in every six or eight weeks.
“Blackpool has changed a lot. There’s not a lot of established hair salons left. They’re all pop up one day, close the next.
“I have absolutely loved every minute of my hairdressing career. I started as a Saturday girl, worked 12-hour shifts and loved every minute of it. Not just the hairdressing, but everything that comes with it. I have met some amazing people, trained some amazing staff. I have loved everything about it.”
Vicky Johnstone, 36, trained as a hairdresser at Solo Scissors when she was just 16, and has worked at the business ever since. She said: “It has been a brilliant 20 years. We’re like a family here. Our clients have come to know us and our life stories, and they get to meet other clients and it’s a big thing for them really.
“With Covid-19 it has been difficult, it has been hard adapting to all the changes and we’ve had to fight to stay afloat. We’ve been lucky enough to still have clients coming in, but it has been tough.
“It’s sad, it’s upsetting to see the salon close. There has been a lot of tears. But it’s a new beginning for me as it’s time I started my own salon.
“Jayne has been brilliant I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for her.”
Jayne added: “If I was younger and fitter, I would try to carry on. But I can’t carry on like I was. We have been locked down three times these last 18 months and I can’t afford to move anywhere else.
“We have always been at the centre of Caunce Street. Ive been there so long, everyone knows me. I’ve seen hundreds of shops around me set up and shut down. The area has changed, and it’s not such a nice place now, but we have always been here.
“It has been an extremely rewarding career. I’ve met some amazing people, had some great achievements and made friends for life.
“My main girls, I couldn’t have run the salon without them, and I’m so proud that they’re going on to start their own salon - as heartbreaking as it is for me.”
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