A former Solihull College student who successfully completed an enterprise qualification focussing on business start-ups has seen her dream realised by finally setting up her own business in Solihull. Twenty-year-old Jess Leach owns and runs The Hair Carers and The Hair Bears with her mum, Jennie; a sensory hairdressing service in Solihull and Birmingham for children and adults with learning disabilities. Both have already received national interest.
A unique business to Birmingham and Solihull, the idea was realised following a very personal experience. Jess’s late auntie had serious learning disabilities and the whole experience of getting her hair cut was proven to be a long and uncomfortable process for both her auntie and hair stylist. After trying to discover how the process could be made fun and interactive, Hair Carers for adults with learning disabilities, and Hair Bears for children with learning disabilities were founded.
Before starting up, Jess knew she needed a helping hand, and this is when she discovered the enterprise and business start-up course at Solihull College. Jess comments: “The course really prepared me as I was able to create my business plan and with the other students we were able to bounce ideas off one another. The tutors were great and because of their own experiences I felt confident in taking their advice; I made friends for life while at the College and I recommend the course to anyone looking to set up on their own”.
The sensory experience Jess gives her clients is in touch, smell, sight and sound through the use of lights attached to the shower hose, fruit fragranced hair brushes, disco-type lights and a choice of eye-catching hair gowns. There is also relaxing music and clients are able to choose their own shampoo, which Jess says, helps to maintain dignity to the process.
Jess comments: “For me it is really important to provide a fun and enjoyable experience, I always keep my auntie in mind and think if it is something she would have enjoyed then it is something worth exploring”.
Eamon Wykes, business lecturer at the College who co-leads the enterprise courses comments: “Jess is one of the most ambitious students we have had. Not only is she academically bright but a great ambassador for the College and a hard worker. It is great news to hear she has set up her business and as with all our students, it is rewarding to know how much of a positive input we have had in their future”.
To find out more about business, enterprise and business start-up courses at Solihull College please visit www.solihull.ac.uk/courses or call 0121 678 7000.