Northampton hair salon flooded with bookings ahead of reopening after pandemic made them hit 'rock bottom'
In 2020, Katie Dove thought she would have to close her salon for good. Now, she co-owns the salon with best friend, Maddy McEwan, and they've rebranded it together
A hair salon in Northampton has rebranded and will reopen next week after the pandemic pushed the business to the brink of closure.
Katie Dove, 33, is the owner of what was formerly the 'Katie Louise Hair Salon' in Boothville Green. She started her career as a self employed hairdresser working out of a garage but eventually opened her salon in 2016.
From then, her clientele grew and so did her business - but it took a hard hit when the first national lockdown was implemented in March 2020.
Katie said: "I honestly thought the pandemic was going to close our salon down. All the staff were leaving and we had been closed for about seven months.
"I think - at one point - we did advertise the salon and then a week later I thought oh my god, what am I actually doing? So I contacted them and said take it down. We did go rock bottom but we stuck through it."
The Katie Louise Hair Salon employed around 11 or 12 members of staff at the start of the pandemic. They have since been reduced to a small team of three.
When the salon first opened in 2016, Katie hired an apprentice called Maddy who was 17-years-old at the time. Maddy went from being a young apprentice at the salon one day a week to being offered a full time position and then working her way up to being a senior stylist.
Now close friends, Katie asked Maddy if she would like to be her business partner after being loyal to the salon for so long. Maddy said yes and now they have rebranded the salon to give them a fresh look and a fresh start.
Maddy McEwan, 23, said: "I have been extremely loyal to the salon over the years and me and Katie have become very close friends.
"In 2020, the pandemic hit our salon very hard. We didn't know what was going to happen and our jobs were all at risk but here we are now building a great team back from scratch looking to achieve what only our dreams can imagine.
"We have taken a new approach on our salon and gave it a new lease of life, having it very modern and tasteful. I can't wait for our clients to see."
The Katie Louise Hair Salon, now called 'The Weave & Style Lounge' is smaller in appearance because more rooms have been added to the premises so that they can be rented out to self employed hairdressers and stylists.
When asked what look the duo opted for with their rebranded salon, Katie said they wanted to go for a 'calm, relaxed and chic look' with neutral colours, black and woody tones.
Katie said: "We want our customers to feel like they're at home, very warm and comfortable and well looked after. We have gone for a different vibe to how it used to be."
On making the salon smaller, Katie added: "The pandemic was just crazy so I think, from the experience of the salon being in that situation, it just made me realise not being a big salon would be a lot better.
"I work in a team very well because it is nice to get other people on board as well and take a whole different approach moving forward. I am very excited for the new changes."
When the salon closed, Katie and Maddy did not just sit and twiddle their thumbs, they undertook training in hair extensions and making wigs and have now started their own training academy to teach staff all they know.
They now want to work on making wigs for people, who are suffering from cancer, alopecia and other conditions that cause hair loss.
Maddy said: "I have worked extremely hard over the years and I am over the moon to be partners with Katie and build this business together. I will also be working alongside Katie in our training academy Weave & Style to teach people all we know in extensions and give them the best start of their very own business.
"Can't wait to see what the future holds for us both."
Ahead of the salon's reopening, Katie has expressed delight that the salon is already fully booked for the rest of the month and for most of February as well.
Katie said: "I think, without Maddy, I would not have been able to do it. She helped me save the business."
The Weave & Style Lounge will open on Tuesday, January 18 in Boothville Green, Northampton.
To make a booking, visit https://www.katielouisehair.com/