Monday, 04 July 2022

Let's Get Down to Business: Kimberley Russell, Kimberley's Hair and Beauty, Woodcote

Let's Get Down to Business: Kimberley Russell, Kimberley's Hair and Beauty, Woodcote

KIMBERLEY RUSSELL, 34, runs Kimberley’s hair and beauty salon in Woodcote. Born in Reading, she went to Woodcote Primary School and Langtree School and then served her apprenticeship at Forresters in Sonning Common. She lives in Mapledurham and has two children, Dylan, five, and Keira, four. She loves gardening and baking.

Describe your business

It’s a hair and beauty studio.

How many people does it employ?

Two full-time staff, six part-timers and soon a full-time apprentice.

What did you do before you started this business?

I started in hairdressing when I was 14 as a Saturday girl. I did work in an office but my heart was always in hairdressing.

When did you start your business?

We opened in October 2009 when I was 21.

What was your objective?

To be happy. From the age of seven I used to plan how I wanted my salon to be. It was all I wanted to do.

Who or what influenced you?

When my nan passed away it was a really hard time for me and my family. I really wasn’t happy working in the office and when my brother told me the Woodcote building was coming up for rent I had to try. There wasn’t another salon in the area. My grandad helped with a loan, saying “Your nan would have wanted you to do this” and my mum (Jackie Paxford) helped massively. Lauren, my best friend, joined and has helped me build up the clientele.

Do you have a mentor or role model?

Not as such but support from the incredible people around me. I didn’t have a great deal of confidence when I was a teenager but Lee, who now works with us, trained me to a high standard and gave me the confidence I needed.

What would you do differently if you could start again?

I wouldn’t have opened up the beauty studio so soon after opening. I would have made sure the hair studio was financially stable first.

What impact did the coronavirus pandemic have on your business?

There was a point during lockdown with all the bills and the government grants seeming to take so long to reach us that I really thought about closing. We are still feeling the effects and will do for a long time. Our industry has been hit hard. I feel the Government could help us still and the National Hair and Beauty Federation is working hard to support us.

How is your business doing?

The first few months back were very busy and then we had a quieter spell and December and January were very slow due to the high number of covid cases. We are still having last-minute cancellations from people with the virus, which results in loss of earnings, and we still can’t predict busy/quiet months like we used to.

How do you market your business?

Word of mouth is so important to us and we try to keep our social medias pages active.

What’s the best thing about running your own business?

That I can be flexible with my work hours for my young family. I have an amazing team that I trust to look after the studio when I’m not there.

What’s the most challenging aspect?

Managing the team. As well as supporting the employees and having a lovely work environment, I have had to remember we are a business.

Where is your business headed?

We would like to continue to grow, learn and offer the best service possible. We are all taking a master colourist course in June to improve our knowledge.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?

You have to have a supportive team and continue to grow and learn. Yes, it’s a business but it also has to be enjoyable and I love how much fun we have.

What would you advise someone starting a business?

Take some business classes first. I jumped in head first so learned the hard way but last year I took a course and what an eye-opener it was.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?

Rushing to open the beauty business as this set the business back financially during the first year. It was a learning experience.

How organised are you?

I really try to be. I keep meaning to book time out to keep on top of paperwork but I enjoy the hairdressing side too much. It’s normally a rush at the end of the month to sort the books out. I would love to feel more organised.

What three qualities are most important to success?

Listening and communicating with your team and clients, supporting them and showing consistency and reliability.

What’s the secret of your success?

There’s not really a secret, you just have to enjoy what you do. Success is knowing a client is happy and you have made them feel amazing.

How do you dress for work each day?

Because we work which chemicals there’s no point wearing expensive clothing. Our go-to is normally all black with comfortable, smart shoes.

What can’t you be without every day?

My phone and lots of cups of tea.

Lunch at your desk or going out?

Are we meant to have a lunch? We eat when we can, we try to book lunch breaks but these normally get moved around.

Do you continue to study?

I learn daily and will always keep up with the trends.

What do you read?

I read the National Hair and Beauty Federation magazine, which is great for keeping up to date with the legal side of our industry, all the facts and figures and marketing ideas. I also read way too much social media!

How are you planning for retirement?

I love my job so much that I would be completely lost without my team and lovely clients.

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