Restrictions would change overnight, and PPE was a staple throughout. This did not deter Danielle Corcoran from opening her own salon, indeed she optimised the time she found herself with during lockdown periods to write her business plan, arrange building work and create digital resources, ready to launch Marques Hair Salon in Lichfield in September 2020.
Danielle has been working in the hair industry for over 20 years, following in the footsteps of her parents, who are both hairdressers. For twelve years, Danielle and her mother ran two successful salons together in Sussex, until a huge life change came about in 2019. Danielle’s husband was serving in the Parachute Regiment when they decided that their regular weekend commute between their home in Brighton, his work in Colchester and his daughter in the Midlands had become unmanageable. They sought to relocate, and her husband began his transition to the Police Service.
“After two years of the awful drive around the M25 every weekend we decided something had to give if we were to have a closer relationship with my step-daughter. I considered that, if my husband was willing to give up everything he has ever known in the Army, it didn’t feel like much to ask for me to continue my work in the same industry but relocate. For the first year, I took an employed role managing a team of ten stylists in a salon near Birmingham to find my feet, build a clientele and make some friends. The thought of opening my own salon was still a dream, but then lockdown hit. I thought, what am I waiting for? I’d owned and managed salons already, there was nothing stopping me.”
Danielle credits the lockdown period for giving her the motivation to start her own business; it gave her time, something she says she never usually has, and a plan quickly came together. Danielle was granted a Start Up Loan for £5000, facilitated by X-Forces Enterprise (XFE), which she used towards re-fitting the business premises and carrying out vital launch promotion. XFE’s mentoring programme, supported by the Royal British Legion, provided further support and guidance.
“I was almost starting from scratch. Opening a new salon meant I had a lot of hard work to do to establish my reputation and brand, so the salon styling and initial digital communications had to be spot-on. There were many sleepless nights, but it was worth it in the end. Mainly the stress was to do with timing, getting the builders and electricians to complete on time, and bringing the website and social media together but it was a great learning and self-development opportunity. I certainly used the lockdown periods effectively.
“My husband has been behind me every step of the way, giving me support and guidance. He was the one who pushed me to follow my dreams and achieve what I have today. He spent his summer leave redecorating the salon, finding all the mirrors and salon equipment and was here for my big launch. I couldn’t have done it without him by my side. I will forever be grateful for our new start together in the Midlands.”
Nobody could have predicted that COVID-19 would dominate our daily lives for more than two years, and this proved to be one of the biggest challenges that Danielle faced as a new business owner opening her salon just six months into the pandemic.
“Of the first 18 months of trading, I was forced to close for a total of five months, which is hard for any business owner, let alone someone new to the area and new to running things alone. XFE has been really helpful, with monthly support to check-in on me, and sending interesting resources about different aspects of business ownership.”
There’s no looking back for Danielle, her salon is now thriving, and she’s pleased she took the plunge despite the complex conditions. Marques Hair Salon is spacious with a calm and fresh aesthetic that Danielle carefully planned. She currently manages a team of three and hopes to expand. The salon offers all aspects of hairdressing for men, women and children, including the latest hair extension methods. Her parents have undoubtedly inspired her passion for hair, yet it is all down to Danielle’s own determination and focus that her salon is already a great success.
“I love making people feel happy. When they leave the salon smiling, it puts a smile on my face. I love meeting lots of different people from many walks of life. There’s a real sense of achievement opening my own salon; it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
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For more information about Danielle’s business, visit: