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 Bachor and welcome to Dundee cast, a podcast showcasing dund these amazing people on a new platform, sharing their stories under aspirations. On today's episode I speak to Karen Ward, who is the owner of blades here in beauty and Dundee Hair Bank. Car has been working on a lot of stuff relating to alapisia awareness and also reising awareness of this condition and also, you know, helping women who have had this, this condition as well as cancer. You'll get wigs and, you know, to help them feel more confident. So hold their Karen, first things first, as I always ask my guests, as briefly explain to the listeners who you are and what you do. Okay, I'm Carden Ward and I'm the owner of blades here and Beauty Salon and Dundee and Dundee here bank. How did you want to, you know, get involved in here dress and was that kind of a thing you've always wanted to do when you were younger, and what prompted you to, you know, start that journey from a very young age. Actually, I've always wanted to being interested in hair. Obviously, the S was such an iconic year with big hair, 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 hair and makeup and them. Yeah, it's just something that was always keen and interested in developing as a career. In fact, actually, I thought the most glamorous thing to do would be a work on a cruise ship and that was my actual initial first dream of becoming a hair dress and a makeup artis on a cruise ship, which never happened, but a yeah, that was that was my original dream to do. To do that. What was the steps like from training to you know, because obviously you own your own, your own business now. What was how did it start off? So was it like a course you went on, or what was that like? Going and how did it? So how did you get from like, e from me where you started to bearn a business? What was that like? Well, actually, I sat one day with my mom and went through the whole of the yellow pages phone in every single salon and Dundee asking if they were looking for a Saturday girl, and I was just lucky enough that one of the salons that I did contact. It says that the war and could have come down straight away for an interview and got the job. So that was it. Fourteen years old and you begin your training straight away pretty much in the industry when you start out, whether your own reception to take in bookends, meeting and greeting clients, to shampooing, cleaning, cleaning the equipment, your health and safety, all these different...

...things. So I started in the SALOM when I was fourteen years old. Obviously things have progressed. I didn't stay in the salon environment. I left and I ventured off and got lots of experience and lots of different avenues, from reception, Kaakashier, administration, supervising staff, all these different things, and this is what it's helped me to obviously become a business owner, because all these different jobs that I've had throughout the years is helped me run a business for the last ten years and support staff, customer service, all these different things. So I haven't only just been in here dress an environment. I an originally begun the business with a business partner where we split the work fifty fifty, but every days a learning day. When you've got your own business you have to constantly keep updated with things. Obviously things have changed and social media is a big part of the 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 to so I think you always have to be open to change and open to evolve on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to whatever the needs of the business and to what's happening around you. And so Dundee Hair Bank, you set up a few years ago. What was the idea behind that and how did it all come about and like what was sort of like setting up? So I opened the blades here, I beauty salon, and I think I'd been open roughly about a year and I've always I've always been involved in wigs because my mom had a Lapisia, so I was always around her pick in our wigs, style in her wigs for our all these different things. So it was actually a her wegg hairdresser, the new knew me, obviously through the years and knew that they were needing somebody else in the area to help out with NHS clients and they she contacted my mum and asked if it would be something that I would be interested in and I hadn't really thought about going down that route because obviously I still felt that I was quite new to have in my own business, because we were only a year then, so it was still finding my feet and finding trends and, you know, developing staff, developing myself, all these different things. At that point I knew how excited my 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, and the next day got a phone call to see, yeah, would like you on boards, come and do some training with us, and that's kind of how it evolved. But so I started...

...that side of the business providing wigs and here pieces, things like that for people on the NHS and for private clients, and then Dundee hairbank kind of evolved a bigger, bigger business from that because people were bringing back wigs that they may be only used once or unfortunately, maybe people had passed away before they even got the opportunity to wear them, or sometimes people didn't actually lose their hair and didn't end up using the 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. So that's kind of where the wig bank idea came from. So we're people bring along preloved wigs and it may be never been worn or maybe only worn a handful of times, and I sterilize them, clean them, rebox them and then sell them on for a very, very reasonable price, where then I take 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, but they're actually given back to the community as well, because that money is filtered back into local charities and other hair lots, charities that deal with this on a daily basis, like myself. And when the hair bank was set up and your plan to, you know, release everything out and direct people know about it, what strategies did you use? Also, social media is quite a big, big factor in help and promote like products and services and what was what was your steps and to, you know, help promote what what you created? I didn't I didn't actually really plan too much because, like I said, this this business kind of just evolved over time. So it wasn'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 somewhere to get the word out now and to get to get your name out there and what products you use or products Yourselle and how you get involved in that kind of thing. So really it just began with the idea of let's create a facebook page and knew how successful that was from from blades here and beauty salon and the response that we get from that. Then I was in the process 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 with it. Then just kind of left it for quite a while. I got a help from people like yourself, from Dundee culture. You're a huge help in 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 had anything in place for a launch date, but I was asked to go along to 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 asked me to come along with the stall a promoting Dundee here bank in the wigs and the services that are provide. So I used that kind of as a platform 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 and I kind of tied it in with that. We both you launched the interview on your page and I launched undee here bank on facebook and then within days obviously people had shared it, people would like to, people would commented from all around the world. I mean I had comments from Australia, from all over Britain, from France, that's to name a few. Of people that were just loving the idea of the Dundee here bank, and then the local newspaper got involved and then STV news got involved, and that's kind of weird that started, and then it just got bigger and bigger and bigger and it just seems to be evolving and getting bigger every time. But I constantly need to keep the the social side as a high priority, because that's how people know where I'm at, what I'm doing. I am still here and I am still providing a service. What partnerships have you made with Dundee Hair Bank and connections and what and how effective is it as a good relationships as meeting people and, you know, getting to you know, like tell them all about what you do and what kind of stuff of you done? was that like you know what I mean? Yeah, it's very important. I think people in business should always support other people in business. We're all looking for the same achievement, you know, we're wanting to do one a job that we love for wanting to make people happy and we're trying to provide for ourselves and our families and for staff that you employ as well. So I think it's a huge part that you make contact with other local businesses and see how ways that you can support each other. And I've been fortunate and along my path over the last ten years to build up really good relationships with a lot of 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 here and beauty salons. We've Got Prestige Medical Beauty, we've got clear, skillion and 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 and how to promote your business and you can learn from them, but also they can help you as well and certainly build up your your followers as on a social media platform and hopefully, you know,...

...bring bring business your way of Bell and you would likewise do the same for them to the COVID nineteen pandemics put a store and everything at the moment and it's had an effect on how people have changed the way they run their businesses and the way they, you know, operate. And how is that affected you and what ways have you gone around that to, you know, continue doing what you do, but on the like making it sure it's well operating well during the pandemic. Nobody expected something like this to happen in their lifetime and I certainly never and hadn't had any plans in place. So yeah, so it was just basically a learning card for me. And from the minute we got told that we had to 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 have a business when you reopen. So again, I know I keep the Fed and back to this, but social media had a huge part in keeping keeping the 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 need proxide, that I could home delivered in the local area. You know you could pay by bank transfer. So it's up making sure that you operate with maybe using a paypal system. You know, people can pay direct in your bank, offering vouchers, just posting and you know things out. They're touching base 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 out what we needed to put in place for reopening. But Dundee here bank was probably the biggest challenge through and throughout the lockdown, because I wasn't sure what was going to happen with that at all. But fortunate for me, one of my main suppliers, trend call, they still had one person operating from the warehouse. So I decided to make I decided to contact them find out what the situation is, how I could work around this, because people didn't stop having came a therapy, people didn't stop need to have new wigs throughout that time and nobody knew how long it was going to last for. So once I've made contact with them, I then contacted everybody who obviously sends clients and patients my way to make them a weird that I was still going to try this and see how it worked. So how I started it was I just 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 would do something like similar to what we're doing now. So we would do as been call a facetime call through what'Sapp and I would then speak the talk them through the process. I would order the... for them. It got sent direct to their home and they would then contact me once they receive that and I talked him through about how to look after the way. I would then be able to see their trying on, show them how to, or at least tell them how to try it on properly, and then from that I would get an idea whether any further work that would need done, so whether it would need altered, whether the fringe would need cut short. Are. Unfortunately, it was unable to do that at the time, but as soon as I opened again, they were able to come to me and get all these things fixed for their way, to put them correctly and properly, and it seemed to work, which I was I was really happy with. So continue to work throughout lockdown and again that I helped build my profile, because I 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 was about, I'll Pisha awareness month. And what what kind of stuff did you do then? What was that like doing with reason awareness of what you do during that awareness month? Well, that came about again through a social media post 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 on various styles and colors of wigs and she went away with new style and a slightly different color as well and was very brave enough to post a picture of herself and having a new hair day. So, having been into the salon got our new hair, she posted the picture and then obviously that generated a lot 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 actually a Lapicia awareness month and the even a telegraph. Obviously follow the pages and realized that there was a story involved in this. So what came about from just a routine yearly appointment. I got in touch with Cann again and another client, Laura, and they been able to tell their story about how they've lost her here or why they weird a wig and the process, about making contact with their GP first, then getting referred to the hospital and then being referred to myself, and about the whole process. So it was really good that they were able to share their story to everybody, because it's not just older people that have wigs. It's all different age groups that we are wigs and 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 there is options out there for you and from that had a massive response and an influx 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 suffering from medical here loss. So they were able to touch base and I've been able to since help them to which is fantastic and if anything, on social media I'm able to reach out to one person, I feel like I've done done my job. One one of the things I love to ask people when I do this sort of stuff is what do you love about what you do, and also as a hairdresser as well, which you were about doing that as a profession. Well, first of all, I mean I do love my job and I think you have to love your job to do every day and to still be in this industry. I'm obviously you get days that that you that you Havn't a bad day, but it doesn't everybody, but you're learn from that and you move on the next day. I enjoy from running the salons point of view. I enjoy seeing other stylist come up, you know, from the juniors, teaching them learning, you know, learning them their skills. I also learned from the other girls that work in my salon 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 together and I enjoy that, that that time with other people, and it's the same goes with the clients as well. You end up getting a relationship with them. You know when you become friends, not just you know, you're not just doing a job for them. You know you're there for a lot of other reasons. And Yeah, so I really enjoy and I enjoy seeing, from start to finish, the transformation of people and that then follows into the web side of things. To you know, some people come in not feeling 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 I see 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 and there is things to make them feel like themselves again and to make them look 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 and look good factor has a massive part to play in your mental health and him and and I think a lot of people now realize that, having had a lockdown and realizing all could get my hair done, I couldn't get my nails done, all these things because it makes you feel good and it's not just for going to an event or going out for an occasion. It's the feel good factor of it and that's that's what I love about it. I love seeing that transformation in somebody and seeing them walk out the door knowing that the look good and that they feel good. What face would you want to give somebody who would want to be where you are today and who wants to get involved in here dressing and wake even if they wanted to? You'll get involved in like reason awareness for LP sharing that. What advice would you give to a young 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, do some training, try and get some salon...

...experience. There's lots of different ways out there that you can train. The best way that, I would always say, to train as when you're in the Salem because you've got that whole hustle bustle, the mix, the mix of clients, the mix of treatments that 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 get into a salon, get employment or even just some, you know, some volunteering 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 it scrolling through different various pages, sportscough, Rad Moore or all these different people that 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 just about 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 as much as it could. We all have to start somewhere. But if it's a dream for you to have your own salon, go for it, absolutely, go for it. You know, nothing's in your way. You know overcome all the obstacles. But yeah, it doesn't cost you anything to dream and 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 like the work that I do, why not consider supporting Dundee culture uncle fee by either giving one off donation or a month old nation and remember, if you like 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 the next episode. Thank you very much.

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