For twenty years, hairstylist Jayne Sherwin, 49, watched the surrounding businesses come and go from her salon, Solo Scissors, on Caunce Street.
Now, due to the rising costs of the Covid-19 pandemic, the mother-of-one is being forced to close the doors to her decades-long legacy.
She said: “I have days in the salon where I cried my eyes, telling people that I shut up and that I won’t be able to do my hair anymore.
“It’s a tough decision for me as most of my clients have been with me for over 30 years. I’m not just their hairdresser for them, I’m a friend.
“These are people who have been with me since I was 15.”
Jayne ventured into the beauty industry when she was just 13, working Saturdays at Panache on Caunce Street in the ’80s, and later as a full-fledged hairdresser.
In 2001, she established her own salon, Solo Scissors, a few doors down there, and over the years she has established a group of loyal customers, many of whom have supported the company from day one.
Since its opening, the salon has worked in partnership with Blackpool and The Fylde College to train young up-and-coming hairdressers, with more than 20 estheticians who have gained their qualifications through professional experience.
In 2012, she won first place in the college’s Ambassador of Industry award, and in 2010, the salon was named a finalist for the North West Micro-Employer of the Year award.
She said: “It’s been an incredible 30 years. I enjoyed every minute of it. I took so many girls and so many learnings. It’s heartbreaking to get to where we have to close.
“The past 18 months have been hell. We were a very well established salon before Covid-19, with regular customers coming in every week. After reopening with a lot of restrictions in place that we didn’t have before, we weren’t able to take as many clients.
“Two-thirds of my income is gone. Before, on average, we served 25 or 30 clients per day. Coming back from Covid-19, we’re looking at seven or eight. We cannot integrate people, and when you cannot integrate the people who have been coming to us for twenty years, they will start looking elsewhere.
“For example, coloring the hair can sometimes be a two or three hour job. Sometimes it can take all day. Normally in a living room we would put on the color, and as it develops we could start with someone else. Now, due to social distancing, we can’t do that.
“We’re hardly making anything because we can’t get clients, and we’re still very much aware that Covid-19 is going on and people are still worried that places are too busy.
“By losing two-thirds of our customer base, we just can’t afford to continue.
“What makes a hairdresser unique from a hairdressing salon is that it’s not just a haircut. It is a social event. He is leaving the House. Rain or shine, they will come and sit, chat and have a cup of coffee. They want to chat about their kids and grandchildren and what they’re up to next week. But Covid destroyed all of that. “
Following continued losses and her own struggles with osteoarthritis, Jayne made the difficult decision to shut down Solo Scissors in December.
The salon previously employed seven hairdressers, however, there are only two left besides Jayne, who will continue to run her own studio, Victoria J’s, which is scheduled to open on Highfield Road when Solo Scissors closes.
Jayne said, “Things have changed so much over the years. In the 80s, we spent all our days doing perms, red mullet and high hairstyles with 20 tons of hairspray. The clients were there twice a week and wouldn’t think of going out without drying their hair.
“Now they come every six or eight weeks.
“Blackpool has changed a lot. There aren’t many established hair salons left. They all open one day, close the next day.
“I absolutely loved every minute of my hair styling career. I started out as a Saturday girl, worked 12 hour shifts, and loved every minute of it. Not just the hairstyle, but everything that goes with it. I have met amazing people, trained amazing people. I liked everything about it.
Vicky Johnstone, 36, trained as a hairstylist at Solo Scissors when she was just 16 and has been with the company ever since. She said: “It has been a brilliant 20 years. We are like family here. Our clients have gotten to know us and our life stories, and they have the opportunity to meet other clients and that is really a great thing for them.
“With Covid-19, it was difficult, it was difficult to adapt to all the changes and we had to fight to stay afloat. We were lucky to still have clients, but it was difficult.
“It’s sad, it’s overwhelming to see the show close. There were a lot of tears. But it’s a new start for me because it’s time to create my own salon.
“Jayne was brilliant, I wouldn’t be where I am now without her.”
Jayne added, “If I was younger and in better shape I would try to keep going. But I cannot continue as before. We have been locked up three times in the past 18 months and I cannot afford to move anywhere else.
“We have always been in the center of Caunce Street. I’ve been there for so long, everyone knows me. I have seen hundreds of stores around me set up and close. The neighborhood has changed, and it’s not such a nice place now, but we’ve always been here.
“It has been an extremely rewarding career. I have met amazing people, had great accomplishments, and made lifelong friends.
“My main daughters, I couldn’t have run the salon without them, and I’m so proud that they are about to start their own salon – heartbreaking as it is for me.”
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