An acclaimed barbershop in the northeast is about to celebrate 50 years in business.
Lauren Milton of the salon looks back on the story of Inverurie’s own Elan Hair Design.
She explained: “The doors were first opened on March 19, 1971 by my aunt Elizabeth and my grandmother Edith.
“The salon named Elizabeth Anne’s was approximately 20 square meters and had three hairdressing stations and two shampoo basins.
“My father Gordon joined the team at the end of April 1972.
“Over the years the salon has grown into what it is today, approximately 130 square meters of hair styling area and we have four shampoo basins and 22 styling stations.
“Elizabeth started her family in 1978 and after that she returned to the salon part-time, always helping out whenever she could until she moved out of the area.
“Liz had a real talent for hairdressing and would train apprentices in her French rolls specialty salons.
Gordon remembers tearing down walls in the early 1980s to expand before buying the salon in 1983.
“In 1987 Gordon started the process to change the name of the salon, he had a few options in mind, but the final decision was made after looking up the word elan in a dictionary, he says the meaning of the word was part of the vision and the mantra he wanted the living room to live on.
“My mother Lorna joined the team in 1994.
“More space was acquired and an extension created more space at the rear of the salon in 1997 and then again in 2000 when the salon created a beauty salon and enlarged the salon floor.
Continuing the theme of family, she continued, “My sister joined the team in 2003 still having a passion for everything hair related, she started her training long before she was paid to work in the salon, my dad remembers she cut the perfect bob after watching a hairstyle video when she was four.
“She stayed in London during her studies at Vidal Sassoon Academy where she won the award for best student in her class, she was also the youngest student Sassoon had at that time.
“Gordon and Lorna were always motivated to learn more and attended seminars to deepen their knowledge of business and hairdressing.
“In 2010 they attended a seminar which included a piece by living room designer Charlie Hearne, he spoke about the use of LED lighting in a living room and how it affects both the environment and the daily running costs of the salon.
“It got them both thinking and sparked the idea of creating a sustainable green living room.
“The plan took a few years to come to fruition, as they really dove into the greening of every part of the show, including photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels, zero carbon furniture, engineered material flooring, nothing has been forgotten. “
During her own journey she said: “I said with the team in 2009 and at that time I helped plan the extension and the sustainable salon, in 2012 the renovation has us all. really excited about what we have achieved and it took us on another journey where we managed to rack up over 102 nominations and over 50 business and sustainability awards ceremonies wins. this to make our history known to as many people as possible.
“It was extremely exciting and rewarding, which meant I was sharing our story with people across the country and even overseas.
“It is now our 50th year and we are extremely proud to reach this important milestone.
“In particular, I would like to mention Dale Richardson who started at the show in 2010 and was mentored by Lorna to become the show director and is an integral part of the team.
“We have a team of 10 at the moment and are very proud of each one, now the excitement is building to return to the living room after a long absence.
Reflecting on the origins of the salon, Elizabeth herself said: “The salon under the name Elizabeth Annes was born because I applied to be a stylist on a cruise ship.
“I trained in a large salon in Aberdeen, started in July 1966 and left in July 1970.
“I worked at Duncan’s hairdresser and in December I was really fed up because there was no chance to show what I could do.
“A representative I knew from Aberdeen told me about the cruise ship opening and gave me a form.
“When mom found out she wasn’t impressed, she persuaded dad to agree to me having a salon.
“We considered renting a unit where Farmfoods was in town, but it was a 21 year lease.
“Ingrams Bakery owned # 46 and gave it to us in January 1971.
She admitted, “I actually got kicked out of Duncan’s hair and the salon opened earlier than expected.
“I was very lucky that my ability with the hair made it such a busy place.
“A photo I sent shows the ladies who came to the opening night at the Banks of Ury Hotel. Shirley Booth was my first hire as a stylist.
“Gordon came in as an apprentice after leaving his job at Hall Russell, he came in on Friday and said ‘I left my job and I’m starting with you on Tuesday’, that’s how he became apprentice.
“We’ve had a lot of laughs, arguing over the years, doing various lectures and demonstrations at times.
“We have faced the three day week and have always kept customers satisfied.
“From binmen to titular ladies, our clients were the backbone of the show.
“From Elizabeth Annes to Elan today, the salon has stood the test of time and the vagaries of hair fashion.
“I am proud to have given birth to him and to have watched him grow and mature over the past 50 years.”