A NEW hair salon has opened in Rossendale just for children. Antony and Patricia on Bank Street opened Bosun’s Barbers on the upper deck 18 months ago and the nautical-themed barbers attracted a lot of dads with their sons.
As a result three further rooms have been converted to create dedicated children’s hair salon Noah’s Ark. Animal-themed rooms incorporate a brightly coloured salon with special animal print chairs and an interactive playroom complete with large screen TVs, Xbox and tablets.
The Lifeboat room is a separate one-chair salon specially designed for children on the autistic spectrum, adults living with dementia and anyone who would prefer to have their haircut in private rather than in a public salon.
Director Tony Winder said: “Since we opened Bosun’s Barbers we noticed an increase in dads and lads coming into the salons and the idea of having a special salon just for children evolved. We had available space and began working on creating Noah’s Ark about three months ago. It is a completely chemical-free environment. “I carried out a lot of research on the web looking at children’s salons all over the world, in Australia, America and South Africa. All were on different themes and very successful, but I felt that there was still something missing. That is what inspired me to create the Lifeboat room.”
Tony used the book by Charlotte Olson ‘Suzie Goes to the Hairdresser’ to see a salon from a child’s perspective and also researched difficulties autistic children have in getting their haircut.
Tony said: “The Lifeboat room is a sanctuary for adults and children who may find a normal salon a difficult place to be in. To ensure the experience is calming and less daunting, soothing images will projected onto a TV and there is special sensory equipment. All of the specialist animal-themed furniture has been sourced through an online auction site and a huge animal mural came from Sweden. Salon staff will be trained in autism and dementia awareness. For children who do not want to be in a chair, there is also a boat they can sit in while their hair is cut. We know that when children are having their first haircut it is a special experience for their parents and the child and so we will be giving them a certificate, a photograph of them with the stylist and a lock of the child’s hair as a keepsake. A special treasure hunt is also going to keep the children entertained as they look around the salon finding the animals.”
Tony first set sail on his voyage of barbering in 1962 when he got an apprenticeship at Les Howarth’s Barber’s in Haslingden and in 1967 he literally set sail as a barber on cruise ships, hence the nautical theme. He added: “We are a true family business, we have a ladies’ salon, a barbers and a children’s salon all under one roof, so all customers can be catered for in one location.”