Episode · 1 year ago

11: Karen Ward


Andrew talks with Karen Ward, the owner of Bladez Hair and Beauty and Dundee Hair Bank.

Hi, my name is under Bachorand welcome to Dundee cast, a podcast showcasing dund these amazing people on anew platform, sharing their stories under aspirations. On today's episode I speak to KarenWard, who is the owner of blades here in beauty and Dundee HairBank. Car has been working on a lot of stuff relating to alapisia awarenessand also reising awareness of this condition and also, you know, helping womenwho have had this, this condition as well as cancer. You'll get wigsand, you know, to help them feel more confident. So hold theirKaren, first things first, as I always ask my guests, as brieflyexplain to the listeners who you are and what you do. Okay, I'mCarden Ward and I'm the owner of blades here and Beauty Salon and Dundee andDundee here bank. How did you want to, you know, get involvedin here dress and was that kind of a thing you've always wanted to dowhen you were younger, and what prompted you to, you know, startthat journey from a very young age. Actually, I've always wanted to beinginterested in hair. Obviously, the S was such an iconic year with bighair, big me, a lot of makeup, that kind of thing.So always practiced with me and my friends and my sister doing each other's hairand makeup and them. Yeah, it's just something that was always keen andinterested in developing as a career. In fact, actually, I thought themost glamorous thing to do would be a work on a cruise ship and thatwas my actual initial first dream of becoming a hair dress and a makeup artison a cruise ship, which never happened, but a yeah, that was thatwas my original dream to do. To do that. What was thesteps like from training to you know, because obviously you own your own,your own business now. What was how did it start off? So wasit like a course you went on, or what was that like? Goingand how did it? So how did you get from like, e fromme where you started to bearn a business? What was that like? Well,actually, I sat one day with my mom and went through the wholeof the yellow pages phone in every single salon and Dundee asking if they werelooking for a Saturday girl, and I was just lucky enough that one ofthe salons that I did contact. It says that the war and could havecome down straight away for an interview and got the job. So that wasit. Fourteen years old and you begin your training straight away pretty much inthe industry when you start out, whether your own reception to take in bookends, meeting and greeting clients, to shampooing, cleaning, cleaning the equipment, yourhealth and safety, all these different...

...things. So I started in theSALOM when I was fourteen years old. Obviously things have progressed. I didn'tstay in the salon environment. I left and I ventured off and got lotsof experience and lots of different avenues, from reception, Kaakashier, administration,supervising staff, all these different things, and this is what it's helped meto obviously become a business owner, because all these different jobs that I've hadthroughout the years is helped me run a business for the last ten years andsupport staff, customer service, all these different things. So I haven't onlyjust been in here dress an environment. I an originally begun the business witha business partner where we split the work fifty fifty, but every days alearning day. When you've got your own business you have to constantly keep updatedwith things. Obviously things have changed and social media is a big part ofthe business now and with your help and a lot of other people's help,obviously I've tried to to brand my business a lot better and that helps toso I think you always have to be open to change and open to evolveon a daily, weekly, monthly basis to whatever the needs of the businessand to what's happening around you. And so Dundee Hair Bank, you setup a few years ago. What was the idea behind that and how didit all come about and like what was sort of like setting up? SoI opened the blades here, I beauty salon, and I think I'd beenopen roughly about a year and I've always I've always been involved in wigs becausemy mom had a Lapisia, so I was always around her pick in ourwigs, style in her wigs for our all these different things. So itwas actually a her wegg hairdresser, the new knew me, obviously through theyears and knew that they were needing somebody else in the area to help outwith NHS clients and they she contacted my mum and asked if it would besomething that I would be interested in and I hadn't really thought about going downthat route because obviously I still felt that I was quite new to have inmy own business, because we were only a year then, so it wasstill finding my feet and finding trends and, you know, developing staff, developingmyself, all these different things. At that point I knew how excitedmy mum was the idea of me possibly being able to supply her wigs.So I contact them said that, you know, looking for more information.They came in, interviewed me, came in obviously looked over the salon,looked at the premises, I have to see if they were suitable, andthe next day got a phone call to see, yeah, would like youon boards, come and do some training with us, and that's kind ofhow it evolved. But so I started...

...that side of the business providing wigsand here pieces, things like that for people on the NHS and for privateclients, and then Dundee hairbank kind of evolved a bigger, bigger business fromthat because people were bringing back wigs that they may be only used once orunfortunately, maybe people had passed away before they even got the opportunity to wearthem, or sometimes people didn't actually lose their hair and didn't end up usingthe wigs and then didn't want to just obviously chuck these in the Bin,so brought them back to me, thinking that I could re use them,a recycle them or give them to somebody else that was needed there. Sothat's kind of where the wig bank idea came from. So we're people bringalong preloved wigs and it may be never been worn or maybe only worn ahandful of times, and I sterilize them, clean them, rebox them and thensell them on for a very, very reasonable price, where then Itake some of that money, which I've used for products or anything like that, and then the rest is donated to local charities and to help them out. So people not only feel like they're given something back to me, butthey're actually given back to the community as well, because that money is filteredback into local charities and other hair lots, charities that deal with this on adaily basis, like myself. And when the hair bank was set upand your plan to, you know, release everything out and direct people knowabout it, what strategies did you use? Also, social media is quite abig, big factor in help and promote like products and services and whatwas what was your steps and to, you know, help promote what whatyou created? I didn't I didn't actually really plan too much because, likeI said, this this business kind of just evolved over time. So itwasn't anything that was that I had a plan of action in place for.But yeah, I agree with you. Social media is such a big,big factor for a lot of businesses now and it's a lot of that's free, which is fantastic for for like a small business as setting up and somewhereto get the word out now and to get to get your name out thereand what products you use or products Yourselle and how you get involved in thatkind of thing. So really it just began with the idea of let's createa facebook page and knew how successful that was from from blades here and beautysalon and the response that we get from that. Then I was in theprocess of it and putting together a website for the lads here and beauty.So therefore thought, well, I'll do one for Dundee here bank along withit. Then just kind of left it for quite a while. I gota help from people like yourself, from Dundee culture. You're a huge helpin kind of guiding me and putting steps in place to build up the hype, so to speak, for like a...

...launch, and not that we hadanything in place for a launch date, but I was asked to go alongto a chart at event from a lovely friend of mine, Sophie Cigale,and she was doing an event to raise money for Maggie Center and she askedme to come along with the stall a promoting Dundee here bank in the wigsand the services that are provide. So I used that kind of as aplatform to promote that event that I was going to. But not only that, I thought I'll use this as a platform to just launched Dundee here bank, and that's been mean yourself spoke and we did a really relaxed interview andI kind of tied it in with that. We both you launched the interview onyour page and I launched undee here bank on facebook and then within daysobviously people had shared it, people would like to, people would commented fromall around the world. I mean I had comments from Australia, from allover Britain, from France, that's to name a few. Of people thatwere just loving the idea of the Dundee here bank, and then the localnewspaper got involved and then STV news got involved, and that's kind of weirdthat started, and then it just got bigger and bigger and bigger and itjust seems to be evolving and getting bigger every time. But I constantly needto keep the the social side as a high priority, because that's how peopleknow where I'm at, what I'm doing. I am still here and I amstill providing a service. What partnerships have you made with Dundee Hair Bankand connections and what and how effective is it as a good relationships as meetingpeople and, you know, getting to you know, like tell them allabout what you do and what kind of stuff of you done? was thatlike you know what I mean? Yeah, it's very important. I think peoplein business should always support other people in business. We're all looking forthe same achievement, you know, we're wanting to do one a job thatwe love for wanting to make people happy and we're trying to provide for ourselvesand our families and for staff that you employ as well. So I thinkit's a huge part that you make contact with other local businesses and see howways that you can support each other. And I've been fortunate and along mypath over the last ten years to build up really good relationships with a lotof local companies and a lot of local businesses. So we've got Dundee Culture, we've got the Evening Telegraph half, we've got here and beat other hereand beauty salons. We've Got Prestige Medical Beauty, we've got clear, skillionand micro demobration. We've got all these different companies, a Lapicia UK,and you have to connect with these people because they also give you ideas andhow to promote your business and you can learn from them, but also theycan help you as well and certainly build up your your followers as on asocial media platform and hopefully, you know,...

...bring bring business your way of Belland you would likewise do the same for them to the COVID nineteen pandemicsput a store and everything at the moment and it's had an effect on howpeople have changed the way they run their businesses and the way they, youknow, operate. And how is that affected you and what ways have yougone around that to, you know, continue doing what you do, buton the like making it sure it's well operating well during the pandemic. Nobodyexpected something like this to happen in their lifetime and I certainly never and hadn'thad any plans in place. So yeah, so it was just basically a learningcard for me. And from the minute we got told that we hadto lock down and like all other businesses, you panic, you worry about money, you worry about your staff, you know where you're going to havea business when you reopen. So again, I know I keep the Fed andback to this, but social media had a huge part in keeping keepingthe business alive. So, like sort of for blades here and beauty salon, you know, I was posting up that we had colors that didn't needproxide, that I could home delivered in the local area. You know youcould pay by bank transfer. So it's up making sure that you operate withmaybe using a paypal system. You know, people can pay direct in your bank, offering vouchers, just posting and you know things out. They're touchingbase with them, making them aware of what we were doing in the background. Or thought you weren't open, we were still providing keeping our training.Up to day. You know, we were following the local media finding outwhat we needed to put in place for reopening. But Dundee here bank wasprobably the biggest challenge through and throughout the lockdown, because I wasn't sure whatwas going to happen with that at all. But fortunate for me, one ofmy main suppliers, trend call, they still had one person operating fromthe warehouse. So I decided to make I decided to contact them find outwhat the situation is, how I could work around this, because people didn'tstop having came a therapy, people didn't stop need to have new wigs throughoutthat time and nobody knew how long it was going to last for. Soonce I've made contact with them, I then contacted everybody who obviously sends clientsand patients my way to make them a weird that I was still going totry this and see how it worked. So how I started it was Ijust made do that people had my mobile number. They need contact with me, whether that was through text of what's up, through messenger, through facebook, instagram, that kind of thing, and then once we touched base,I then directed them to the website. So thankfully trend COO had a website, and then they would then get back in touch with me and we woulddo something like similar to what we're doing now. So we would do asbeen call a facetime call through what'Sapp and I would then speak the talk themthrough the process. I would order the... for them. It got sentdirect to their home and they would then contact me once they receive that andI talked him through about how to look after the way. I would thenbe able to see their trying on, show them how to, or atleast tell them how to try it on properly, and then from that Iwould get an idea whether any further work that would need done, so whetherit would need altered, whether the fringe would need cut short. Are.Unfortunately, it was unable to do that at the time, but as soonas I opened again, they were able to come to me and get allthese things fixed for their way, to put them correctly and properly, andit seemed to work, which I was I was really happy with. Socontinue to work throughout lockdown and again that I helped build my profile, becauseI do know that I was only one in the area and one part,I think the whole of Scotland. It was only providing works for the NHS. So I was pleased that I did carry on that part through lockdown.I remember it wasn't too long ago you again appeared in the tully and wasabout, I'll Pisha awareness month. And what what kind of stuff did youdo then? What was that like doing with reason awareness of what you doduring that awareness month? Well, that came about again through a social mediapost from one of my clients. So one of my clients was brave enough, Karen, and she'LD came in for our U prescription and we've tried onvarious styles and colors of wigs and she went away with new style and aslightly different color as well and was very brave enough to post a picture ofherself and having a new hair day. So, having been into the salongot our new hair, she posted the picture and then obviously that generated alot of them talk, a lot of likes, a lot of sharing,and then I had then reposted this and making people aware that it was actuallya Lapicia awareness month and the even a telegraph. Obviously follow the pages andrealized that there was a story involved in this. So what came about fromjust a routine yearly appointment. I got in touch with Cann again and anotherclient, Laura, and they been able to tell their story about how they'velost her here or why they weird a wig and the process, about makingcontact with their GP first, then getting referred to the hospital and then beingreferred to myself, and about the whole process. So it was really goodthat they were able to share their story to everybody, because it's not justolder people that have wigs. It's all different age groups that we are wigsand for lots of different reasons. It's not just from having cancer treatments,for various other reasons. So it was fantastic to make people aware that thereis options out there for you and from that had a massive response and aninflux of clients, again not realizing that that's what I did, you know, and it wasn't just for cancer patients,... was for anybody that was sufferingfrom medical here loss. So they were able to touch base and I'vebeen able to since help them to which is fantastic and if anything, onsocial media I'm able to reach out to one person, I feel like I'vedone done my job. One one of the things I love to ask peoplewhen I do this sort of stuff is what do you love about what youdo, and also as a hairdresser as well, which you were about doingthat as a profession. Well, first of all, I mean I dolove my job and I think you have to love your job to do everyday and to still be in this industry. I'm obviously you get days that thatyou that you Havn't a bad day, but it doesn't everybody, but you'relearn from that and you move on the next day. I enjoy fromrunning the salons point of view. I enjoy seeing other stylist come up,you know, from the juniors, teaching them learning, you know, learningthem their skills. I also learned from the other girls that work in mysalon to, you know, the even the beauty girls that work there.They bring some fresh new ideas and the salon. So you're constantly working togetherand I enjoy that, that that time with other people, and it's thesame goes with the clients as well. You end up getting a relationship withthem. You know when you become friends, not just you know, you're notjust doing a job for them. You know you're there for a lotof other reasons. And Yeah, so I really enjoy and I enjoy seeing, from start to finish, the transformation of people and that then follows intothe web side of things. To you know, some people come in notfeeling good about themselves, not knowing that there's options out there for them,and the delight that they have in the response that they give me when Isee them and explain to them that that is other options they are for them, that they know that they're not alone, that there is help out there andthere is things to make them feel like themselves again and to make themlook good and feel good, and that's a massive factor, especially nowadays,you know a lot of mental health issues going on and the feel good andlook good factor has a massive part to play in your mental health and himand and I think a lot of people now realize that, having had alockdown and realizing all could get my hair done, I couldn't get my nailsdone, all these things because it makes you feel good and it's not justfor going to an event or going out for an occasion. It's the feelgood factor of it and that's that's what I love about it. I loveseeing that transformation in somebody and seeing them walk out the door knowing that thelook good and that they feel good. What face would you want to givesomebody who would want to be where you are today and who wants to getinvolved in here dressing and wake even if they wanted to? You'll get involvedin like reason awareness for LP sharing that. What advice would you give to ayoung person who would want to be in that position where you're in now? Well, I mean, if that's what's what you want to do,you know, just follow every avenue that you can. You know, dosome training, try and get some salon...

...experience. There's lots of different waysout there that you can train. The best way that, I would alwayssay, to train as when you're in the Salem because you've got that wholehustle bustle, the mix, the mix of clients, the mix of treatmentsthat you can get involved in and it's a different a different pace as well. So I think that's always a first step, is to try and getinto a salon, get employment or even just some, you know, somevolunteering in a salon. Social media again as a massive part. You know, there's lots of things available I mean I find myself at night times itscrolling through different various pages, sportscough, Rad Moore or all these different peoplethat have now got social media pages that are telling you all about here dressing, about the background to hear dress. And you know, it's not justabout the looking good, it's how you get there in the first place.So stick with it. Ask people, don't be scared to ask anybody.Well, I know that if anybody was to ask me, I would,you know, be open and honest with them and try and help them asmuch as it could. We all have to start somewhere. But if it'sa dream for you to have your own salon, go for it, absolutely, go for it. You know, nothing's in your way. You knowovercome all the obstacles. But yeah, it doesn't cost you anything to dreamand I had a dream once and and I have my own salon now.So, you know, I'm very thankful for that. Thank you very much, Caren, and it was great talking to you. And if you likethe work that I do, why not consider supporting Dundee culture uncle fee byeither giving one off donation or a month old nation and remember, if youlike Dundee cast why not consider subscribe to been to the podcast on spotify,apple podcast and tune in, and I can't we to see you in thenext episode. Thank you very much.

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