Interviewing my favourite local business in Norwich has been a dream, so many lovely words from Deb, owner of the wonderful Hairsmiths; the hair salon that feels like a family.
Yes it's where I have my hair done, yes the building is beautiful and yes the team are just the loveliest people ever!
(See how our skinny scarf has been styled by Deb below)
Shop Skinny Scarves
1. Deb, firstly have you had the same vision for Hairsmiths or has it evolved over time since you started the business in 2011?
The vision has evolved over the years, we’ve had babies born, relocation/renovations in the mix & of course the bump in the road that was covid (which hit 6months after we moved to our 4floor site!), however, as the saying goes: curveballs create resilience & the key to running a business for over a decade is definitely to hold your nerve & have faith!
I don’t have a business partner or additional director, so I am the captain of the ship, the instigator & innovator, I do however have an incredible salon team that are all on board & part of the navigating process.
The original pillars that the business was created on of:
• Education / Elevation
• Customer satisfaction
• Positive vibes
are still on our wall & in our ethos to this day .
Our original stapline was “we love what we do & it shows”
When we expanded we added “our space is more than a salon, it’s our home, and you’re all welcome” - which has become synonymous with our brand.
2. Do you still get to do the fun bits of the business or do you find it hard to not get bogged down?
I’m the queen of saying yes to everything, especially if I think there’s fun/creativity involved & especially if it’s a distraction from something I’m trying to get out of haha!
As my responsibilities, size of building, clientele & workforce has grown, I have had to become organised with my diary so that each month I have the fun stuff rota-ed in. At my core I’m a creative, so I’ll evaporate if I don’t have that need fulfilled. These days such as shoots / creative days / fashion week etc are now booked months in advance (as opposed to my historic last min ideas) & it means I can get the whole team involved to maintain their & my own creative needs & progression.
The admin / strategy / business side I’ve had to learn firstly by myself, now with the size of the project, I work with a mentor to keep me on track business wise & to hold me accountable.
There has to be balance, too much of one & not enough of the other can cause disruption, so it’s good to keep it constantly in check.
3. You regularly post affirmations and motivational quotes on your IG (which give me daily motivation for sure) and you speak so well about the big and the small stuff, have you always been so wise?
Haha I don’t see myself as wise but I do see myself as honest. I’ll share the good & bad because I think it’s important to be authentic.
I don’t filter my pictures nor my words.
For years I was actually quite hesitant & quiet (shocking to think yes), but through a series of life events & experiences I learnt to live in my power & embrace my authenticity. I am who I am & instead of seeing it as not fitting in or being too loud or silly or whatever the insecurity was, I wanted to make every minute count & celebrate life. Also I think when you become a parent it shines a light on how you project yourself to them & the world, and I always want my daughter to see the delight in herself & the world, so it has to start with me. (This ideal also applies to me as a business owner/salon manager-to lead by example).
Plus I am genuinely happy to be alive & find the beauty in the world. So many conversations with clients over the years have humbled me & it’s an honour to be able to give something back. I’m not for everyone & that’s ok. I’m not trying to be, I’m just striving to be the best I can.
4. You obviously love connecting with others, do you find that is an integral part of the job?
It is my number one goal haha!
I will always endeavour to find common ground or a common connection with people as I believe we are all connected in some way.
Im related to most of Norfolk or have cut their hair at some point.
This weekend I met someone at a wedding who was originally from New Zealand but moved to the uk 20years ago. Long story short & via a million questions (plus a phone call by him to NZ) it turned out we both new an Australian hairdresser called AJ haha! My partner isn’t surprised by these ridiculous scenarios anymore & my daughter thinks it’s common to know everyone in the world!
My interest in finding connection is due to the fact if we find connection, we can find common ground, I can get behind who the person is & what makes them tick & figure them out as a person. Which makes me a better service provider & valuable part of their life.
3. What's your favourite thing about working in the centre of Norwich?
I have always believed in the power of community over competition & was told for years that I shouldn’t shout about my competitors or big up the opposition, that I should focus on my business & not mention theirs. But I never saw them as opposition or completion, there’s room for us all & we all bring our own presence to the table. Over the years the community of independent businesses in Norwich has grown beautifully & I think we all have the best common goal.
We have the most incredible street of likeminded enthusiasts on TIMBERHILL & across the city, in fact, across the country!
We share ideas & support & knowledge & caring. Together we are always stronger & Norwich does that amazingly!
Again, we all know each other, those that have been around for years, or newcomers that we are keen to introduce ourselves to in the community.
The best city to live in!
4. What exciting things are in the pipeline for you in the next few months?
We’ve had some great brand partner education events in salon over the summer, courses throughout autumn & then the festive rush will be upon us!
We have space we can share with other independent businesses either on our ground floor or basement for pop up & events & we are always looking for new talent to join our incredible team, so we live in a state of permanent excitement!
We are a Wella Red salon & have just been on panel speaking at their business brunch at their London Studio, building community across the country with our fellow salons, with more of that to come over the next few months.
Our salon session team just completed their 20+ season at LFW with the label.m / Toni&Guy international session team & we have in salon promotions launching shortly , so it’s all go!
5. How do you fit it all in as a mother and business owner - tips please?
For someone that has been spur of the moment all their life, scheduling did not come naturally. But in order to fit everything in I had to face it.
The idea of scheduling “spare time” in seemed like prescribed fun which was a contradiction in itself, but that time can be kept free for being spontaneous (and there’s always something to fill it with if not).
Admin days are a must (something I still fall by the wayside with), and Sundays are an absolute no go in the work department. I don’t even answer emails/texts on Sundays as they are family day.
And blocking the scheduling two months at a time so as to promote consistency. My work diary is booked up approx two months in advance, so I find that is the sweet spot with all projects.
School holidays/half terms/ fashion week/ important diary dates go in a year ahead, then they can’t get missed or overbooked.
Also on the occasion that I do miss something or overlook it, not to beat myself up about it & learn to pop it in for next time!
6. What are the things that keep you sane? Do you write lists, work out, watch rubbish tv?
I write lists of lists.
I have a phone/iPad/laptop but my go to is a good ol fashion a4 notebook & pen.
I scribble notes & ideas & plans & lists & orders with dates at the top so I can reference.
My partner constantly tries to promote a digital option, but I always go back to book.
I have a daily list & lists for work people, house stuff, projects, articles, present buying the lot, but I never ever make a shopping list haha!
I started journalling last year & that enabled me to see the areas of my life that had more attention than others.
I worked on filling all the boxes & taking care of all my needs.
I have a personal trainer scheduled twice a week.
I have an industry specific mentor whom I speak to weekly.
I have a coach.
I don’t work after 7pm ever.
And I always have at least one drama I’m immersed in daily.
On holiday this summer (our first trip abroad in 6YEARS) I read a book in its entirety for the first time in over 8years.
I’m keeping books for holidays as that’s the only time I seem to be able to get my head round it.
And I stay sane by talking & communicating constantly with like minded souls. I work with my best friend & I am part of a supportive women’s hub, whom I speak to daily.
Thank you Deb!
Visit the website here - https://www.hairsmiths.co.uk/
Find the business on Instagram at @hairsmithsnorwich