A Nottingham husband and wife team are marking a double business anniversary at two of the City’s best known hair salons.
Sean and Debbie McMenamin, who have both also recently celebrated their 50th Birthdays, are the owners of KH Hair’s Nottingham and West Bridgford salons which, this year, have been trading for 50 and 25 years respectively.
The City Centre salon, which first opened on King Street in 1967, is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the KH Hair portfolio. Sean joined the salon as an apprentice back in 1984 and met Debbie just three years later when she visited the salon for a haircut. “Sean blow-dried my hair and the rest, as they say, is history.” says Debbie.
Love blossomed for the couple and, after a five-year move to Leeds, they returned to Nottingham in 1999 and bought the salon, which was subsequently re-located to Castlegate. Debbie, a former British Airways customer service expert, took on the role of receptionist.
Three years ago, when the West Bridgford salon became available, the pair snapped it up, creating two thriving salons in the heart of Nottinghamshire which now boast 30 employees and a combined turnover of just under £1million. “We’re really proud to be at the helm of two such long-established businesses.” said Sean. “Some of our clients at Castlegate have been on the books for over 40 years and it continues to be an extremely popular salon, with clients coming from across the UK to visit us.”
“KH Hair is a highly respected brand.” says Debbie. “This was a major factor in the decision to franchise. Building on a solid foundation and the pre-established brand values, meant we could focus on delivering a fantastic overall experience to develop a contemporary salon for the next generation. When the West Bridgford salon became available, we took the opportunity to take on our second franchise. We had learned a lot through our experiences at Castlegate but no two salons are the same and West Bridgford presented different challenges which we had to manage whilst ensuring the expansion stacked up financially.
“Whatever the challenges, deciding to become the franchisees of two salons was the best decision we ever made and that is in large part due to the support network provided by the KH Hair Franchising Group and the comfort of knowing you have over 20 other salons and barbers going through exactly what you’re going through.”
Both salons were recognised for their business success earlier this year at the annual KH Hair Awards where they came out on top in the 22-salon Group. Castlegate was the winner of the Highest Salon Turnover Award and the Highest Salon Retail Award, while West Bridgford won the Image of the Year Award and the highest honour of the night, the Salon of the Year Award. Both salons shared the honour of scooping the Salon Service Award. The Castlegate salon was also recently a finalist in the 2017 British Hairdressing Business Awards where it was recognised in the Retail Salon of the Year and Front of House Team of the Year categories.
Although they work together, Sean and Debbie, who live in West Bridgford, say some days they hardly see each other, even when they’re both at the same salon. “This is because our roles are so clearly defined and between us, we run the businesses without doubling up or stepping on each other’s toes.” explains Sean.
“Sean is the creative one.” adds Debbie. ” His work is always evolving and he has an innate talent to visualise what will work in a particular way and the technical knowledge and ability in order to achieve it. He is also constantly cleaning! He would never ask a member of staff to do something he isn’t prepared to do himself and you’ll often find him dusting, sweeping and mopping the window sills, shelves and floor.”
Debbie is in charge of front of house and business management. “She does the nitty gritty.” says Sean. “From recruitment to making sure everyone is up to date with their training and that customer service standards are kept at their impeccable highest. She is often the first person people meet when they walk through the door and knows every single client by name, which makes each one of them feel special.”
Passionate about customer service, Sean and Debbie say they do absolutely everything they can at both salons to ensure clients have the best experience possible. “The industry has changed so much over the years but we’ve always strongly believed complete customer satisfaction is where our businesses begin and end.” says Debbie. “We take a personal pride in the range of services we deliver, from the expert hair care to the personal touches that make our salons so special – whether it’s the latest celebrity trend, a trusted weekly blow dry, or a glass of mulled wine at Christmas.”
Darren Messias and Tim Fee, Managing Directors of the KH Hair Group, said: “Sean and Debbie have worked extremely hard to build two really successful businesses over the last few years. Both salons are renowned for their excellent customer service and high standards of hairdressing delivered by some award-winning stylists. They are fantastic examples of what the KH Hair brand really stands for and we wish them many more years of continued success.”
KH Hair was founded by Mr Keith Hall MBE in the 1940s. Mr Hall, who lived in Long Eaton, where he opened his first salon, passed away in May 2016, aged 94.