Laura Welford: Desired Hair
Since the age of 14, Laura Welford wanted to pursue a career in hairdressing, and with the help of PNE, she is now the proud owner of her own salon, Desired Hair, on Westgate Road in Newcastle.
Having worked in hairdressing salons from a young age as a Saturday job, Laura left school at 16 do a hairdressing apprenticeship at BL Hairdressing Training. After working in salons for a few years, Laura decided that it was time to be her own boss and made the decision to start her own business.
Initially offering a mobile hairdressing service, Laura always planned to open her own salon once she had built a regular clientele. As part of this transition, she secured a 12-month opportunity to work 10 days per month within another PNE start-up client, Rose Gold Beauty, to gain further salon experience, and to attract customers for her own salon.
Laura approached PNE Enterprise for advice and support to develop the business knowledge, skills and financial support to launch her salon. Supported by her PNE Business Adviser, Lee Longstaff, Laura embarked on the ERDF programme, receiving one to one business advice covering everything from business planning to registering the business and tax issues to financial management. Laura also attended PNE’s two-day intensive ‘Get Growing’ business course which covered essential business skills from bookkeeping to social media advertising.
Commenting on the support from PNE through ERDF, Laura said, “Setting up my salon is the biggest achievement of my life and it is so empowering to know that PNE shares in my ambition, and is there whenever I need them.
“The one to one business advice I received was invaluable. There were so many things I didn’t have a clue about, like tax requirements, financial management, and registering the company, and Lee guided me through what seemed like a minefield of information and requirements until everything fell into place.
“I really don’t think I would be where I am now without the support of PNE.”
Having launched in September 2018, Desired Hair is a Leyton House approved salon providing a wide range of hairdressing services from on-trend Balayage hair colouring and Beauty Works hair extensions to a cut and blow dry. Laura also provides a mobile service to cater for clients requiring bridal and wedding hair treatments.
Laura is also very keen that her salon uses sustainable products and services, ensuring that they are eco-friendly and not tested on animals. In addition, all of her gowns and brushes are made from recycled products.
This focus on sustainability was recognised by PNE who awarded Laura a £1,000 Sustainable Start-Up Award; the only grant of its type in the North East for innovative start-ups that are tackling issues around sustainability.
Commenting on the award, Laura said, “The Sustainable Start-Up Award enabled me to purchase essential equipment for the salon, which was fantastic as it enabled me to start the business without going into debt.”
Laura feels that having dyslexia made her school years a less than fulfilling experience, however starting her own business is enabling her to achieve her full potential.
Not content to meander along, Laura has big plans for her fledgling business. Within the next three years she plans to have taken on staff including an apprentice or stylist and to have diversified into providing beauty treatments such as make up and nail treatments.
Ultimately, Laura wants Desired Hair to be a well known brand, and to have a prestigious high-end salon.
For anyone else thinking of starting their own business, Laura’s advice is, “Have confidence in yourself and follow your dream. Never let anything in your past stop you from doing what you want to do. And finally seek advice from business experts like PNE.”
This client was part of the Enterprise Support in the North East 2 project which is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund.