Friday, 14 December 2018

THIRTY-FOUR years running a barber shop is not unusual for a man... but Karen Waldron is not one of those!

In 1982 Karen stepped into the male-dominated world of barbering, having learned to cut hair and provide a traditional face shave in a spit-and-sawdust-style barbers in Oxford.

Yes, you could even hear “Anything for the weekend, sir?”

Karen says: “In the early Eighties there were no women in barbering. That was the beginning of the ‘unisex’ salon, where men were encouraged to have a ‘modern’ cut in a ladies’ salon.

“But men didn’t want to go into a ‘ladies’ salon’ where women where having perms and foils done because they felt uncomfortable but they still wanted a stylish cut, not just short back and sides.”

Karen decided to liven things up a bit by bringing her parrot Sam to work. The blue and gold macaw certainly had the right effect.

“Lovely birds in barber” was the headline above a story about Karen and her pet in the News of the World, which was followed up by all the other papers and then by several magazines too.

More recently, Karen has opened new unisex barbers in Marlow and Beaconsfield, called CUT.UK.

She says this is a new concept in hairdressing, allowing women (and men, of course) to have a walk-in, no-appointment-necessary, inexpensive, quality haircut experience in a luxurious environment that, until now, has been the domain of upmarket male barbers.

“We are currently looking into offering a salon like this in Henley,” says Karen.

Her success has been helped to an amazing degree by the incredible loyalty of her staff, a group of Scots girls and a Geordie lass.

They were only 19 when they replied to an advert in their local papers and then came to “London” to work for Karen and lived together in the staff flat. Now, 27 years later, those same girls are still with BSG, fiercely maintaining the high standard of cutting and shaving that Karen set 34 years ago.

She says: “I am thrilled and want to thank everyone, staff and customers, for all their support, which has made this group so very strong.” Rossco, an African grey parrot, has been with BSG for 25 years and used to entertain customers in the Great Missenden branch but has now moved to the Henley branch. Do come in and say hello to Rossco. He’s an expert at firework sounds...

The Barber Shop Group branch in Henley is at 15 Duke Street, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, RG9 1UR.
Telephone (01491) 411371. The head office telephone number (Berkhamsted) is 01442 864523.

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