A group of forward-thinking young hairdressers are forging ahead with a pioneering venture which is proving they are a cut above when it comes to building up a business by making optimum use of social networking.
The team at Chichester-based Hairport UK are not only brimming with enthusiasm and energy, but are also extremely adept at making the most of the opportunities offered by the latest technology and the rapid growth in popularity of apps and forums such as Twitter and Facebook.
At the same time, they are taking mobile hairdressing to a highly-professional level and opening up greater opportunities for talented apprentices to become part of the pioneering Hairport UK movement they hope will soon be making its mark all over the south of England and, eventually, even further afield.
The business has already taken off since its launch in July last year, thanks to enormous efforts by the core team of Rich Newman, Ben Sperry, Sadie Holcombe and Mark Spreadbury.
Mark, who started his career in hairdressing with Toni and Guy, had already taken the bold step of setting up his own business, sponsored by the Prince’s Trust, and made a big impact right from the start, doing hair for models at British Fashion Week and with his styles featured in Vogue.
Having made the leap into self-employment, he was well aware of the aspects of mobile hairdressing which can be a real deterrent for many good stylists, such as the need for insurance because they are dealing with hazardous products, the lack of back-up and the fact that if an apprentice or young stylist is no longer tied to a salon, their training comes to an end.
He decided to take his own business concept a step further and thought an airport theme would be ideal for a permanent mobile hairdressing service, perfect for people on the move, hence the Hairport name.
“I got a team together and we launched in July 2011,” he says.
This was just in time for Goodwood Revival, where Mark styled Lady March.
The number of people who flocked to Hairport UK at the event was a strong indication of how popular the concept of making mobile hairdressing accessible at special occasions was going to be.
One of the founders, Ben Sperry, explains the business model is simple – bringing fun and glamour to the hairdressing industry while fulfilling the team’s primary mission to give people on the go great hair days, wherever they are.
“And there is another benefit,” he says. “While our main focus will always be our customers, I really believe our exciting new approach to hairdressing will lead to much better training experiences for youngsters entering the industry.”
Ben, who has been quick to embrace the power of social media to market the new approach to mobile hairdressing, which works virtually anywhere, is under no illusions competitors will soon try to copy the concept.
“I am sure salons will follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and there will be others trying to copy our idea,” he said.
“Frankly, this will be a good thing as the industry desperately needs to be revitalised and I am confident Hairport UK will lead the industry for mobile hairdressing, training and safety.”
The team has already expanded enormously, made up of a band of talented stylists, some full-time and others part-time, who are taking the Hairport blow-dry bars to events of all kinds, large and small, including festivals, fashion shows, homes, colleges, offices, theatres, corporate events, video productions and weddings, and at gyms and spas, including Goodwood.
They are also collaborating with Chichester College to create a unique NVQ scheme for apprentices and working closely with wedding venues across Sussex as well as supporting a charity to provide real-hair wigs for youngsters who have undergone chemotherapy.
With their online presence escalating daily and more and more people getting on board the Hairport UK experience, it seems this Chichester business is all set to reach the heights.
For more information on Hairport UK, visit www.hairport.uk.com.