TWENTY five years and counting.
That’s the impressive celebration of Poppys hairdressers which is still going strong more than two decades after owner Janice Auton first started it.
As she looked back on her success, Janice said her main attitude to business was still the one which she stood by - to make people feel relaxed and welcomed.
Janice started out at another hairdressing business and started in the trade when she was 17. After establishing herself, she took time to have a family.
“I had my children. They are 30 and 31 now and at that time there was no maternity pay,” said Janice as she talked about the changing times.
She left as she became a mum but was invited back to work for the same firm and accepted the invitation.
But then Janice began thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, first considering franchise opportunities. That, though, could have meant moving out of the area and Janice said: “That was something I did not want to do.”
Instead, she set up her own firm. She said: “I had the support of my husband who always said ‘go and do this’.
“I bought a salon in Billingham and two years later, we opened another one.”
Poppys began in 1988 and Janice said: “We were in a recession at the time. The times were challenging.”
But Janice set off with an ethos which has stood her well ever since. She said: “My main focus is that the people who work for me have the best experience that they can.”
What started out as a firm with three to four stylists now has 18 staff and a hairdressing salon in Hartlepool.”
Janice’s aim has always been to have a salon business which “did not have any pre-conceptions. I wanted people to be comfortable in the environment. I wanted it to be so that we would always be on the mark.
“And I wanted people who would always come back because it was friendly and welcoming.”
Janice added: “I was at a seminar where I was asked what my business meant to me.
“I wanted a business that I knew would still be here when I am not, when I decide that I don’t want to be a part of it any longer.
“I would like to think that the people in the organisation will have that continuity. I cant see why it couldn’t because of the way we run it.”