Stories from Saks Hexham
Second in a season of Saks Stories where we chat to our owners about salon life and their best bits. Always a blast catching up with Andrea and Shannon, our salon-owning-hairdressing mam and daughter duo at Saks Hexham.
OK (Queen) Andrea – bet you’ve got some stories to tell. From the beginning…
Andrea – I became a Saks salon owner in 2003 but I started in – hang on – when were you born Shannon?
Shannon – Charming!
Andrea – I started at Saks as a stylist when Shannon was around 18 months old is what I was going to say. I worked at Bishop Auckland then, Redworth Hall and then Hexham – taking over sole ownership in 2012. We’ve been here for 20 years in May 2022.
Andrea – I’d heard that they put on a good party, and I told my husband I wanted to be at that party. But seriously, it was how the salons looked, the amazing training and the whole ethos of Saks, being part of something. I wanted in.
Importantly, what was your 90s hair like?
Andrea – Really long. Very dark. Very natural. And now I’m extremely grey!
A best moment?
Andrea – Winning Saks Salon of the Year in the early days and I wanted more of that – we’ve enjoyed some great successes through the years!
Why did you choose Hexham?
Andrea – It was a rare opportunity when it came up for sale. I live in Wolsingham out in the sticks – I knew that I’d have to travel for my career. Not a problem.
Shannon, tell us your Saks journey?
I studied Fine Art but it wasn’t for me. Always enjoyed working Saturday jobs, connecting with people. When I left uni I loved living in Newcastle but hadn’t found a calling. I finally realised I wanted a career in hairdressing at Saks and started as a Saks Apprentice. And in 2022 I’ve styled backstage with the Saks Artists on Harris Reed’s V&A shows – unreal career progression already!
Us – about our blog header pic – Shannon you had a calling from a very early age!
You’re spot on with social media and showcasing salon life and gorgeous hair in different ways. Tell us why it’s important.
Shannon – It’s great for our customers to see what we get up to, not just about hair. Those posts always get lots of interactions – our team pictures and sharing our achievements.
Talk TikTok – how’s it playing a part?
Shannon – It’s not something I’ve been into, but I realised we had to move forward, so we just set up the salon account and got on with it. I’ve allocated this to Jodie, our Level 2 Apprentice – she’s our TikTok expert!
Andrea – I’m too old for all this. But I know we have to do it. So they crack on!
Saks Hexham’s raised over £15,000 for The Eve Appeal and we know this is very close to your heart, Andrea.
Andrea – I feel it is something we have to talk to women about, because gynaecological cancers aren’t detected until it’s too late a lot of the time. It’s sharing knowledge about checking in early when things are different. Even a water infection – get checked out. I’m proud – our team is using correct terminology and talking openly about gynae issues.
Bet the customers are proud as well?
Shannon – For sure. The main gang who’ve followed our journey have all been to our big events at Matfen Hall and our fashion show. We sometimes feel like we are asking the same people eg if they can donate a fiver, but they’re happy to be involved because we are helping to make a difference. Thank you so much everyone!
You’ve just moved to your second location in Hexham. Explainer please.
Andrea – Covid changed things drastically and we came out the other side wanting something new for our customers and team. The location is fantastic and it’s only a few minutes from the previous salon. We took it on as we came into the busiest time of year – the run up to Christmas. We moved in on 7 December 2021. Yes we are mad – full on all the way! But everyone loves it and it feels like we are in the right spot.
An icon who inspires you…
Shannon – Lady Gaga. Creative and always evolving. A great actress as well – House of Gucci!
Andrea – Paloma Faith. Wild, girly, character, quirky, not frightened to speak out.
Shannon – Bouldering! Not been outdoors yet but go to Ouseburn on a Sunday morning – it’s great for fitness and strength.
Andrea – Well I like to go to the pub. Get the steps in that way.
Speaking. Of. Which. We’re doing A Walk To Remember with The Eve Appeal. 26 miles along Hadrian’s Wall on 24 September. You in?
Andrea – 26 miles in one day? Unsure if I’m fit to do that but I don’t work Saturdays now – I could do this! Yes, I’ll do it. I go to Pilates once a week, sure I can do The Walk.
Us – No high heels mind, Andrea.
Fave holiday destination is…
Andrea: Jamaica. Me and David went for my special birthday. Amazing.
Shannon – skiing – France, Austria, Italy…
Saks Hexham’s ethos is to…
Andrea – Treat people how you want to be treated yourself. Give the team things to work towards. I want everyone to be happy coming to work. Can’t imagine what it must feel like to go to work and not enjoy it.
Shannon – Be prepared to be very busy. And be prepared to have really good nights out. Work hard, play hard.
There’s a strong team vibe. How do you see the salon evolving and going forward?
Andrea – I’m pushing back and the girls are pushing forward. Shannon’s running the salon full time now. We’ve been phasing in learning the business aspects for quite some time. No big shocks, learning as we go. It’s been a really good way to learn the ropes of what’s involved in all the business aspects of running a salon.
I’d highly recommend this approach to other salon owners who may be looking towards what’s next. Nurturing a team member who has their eyes on opening a salon.
Shannon – Yes and mum’s always on hand and very much part of salon life. We’re thinking of our team and customers all the time. Everyone in mind.
Andrea – I think we’ll have a party week in May to celebrate 20 years. Take it from there. I’m very happy with my Saks journey. I trust the process, the way we are doing this.
I love Saks because…
Andrea – Saks has kept me young at heart. I love being a hairdresser as much now as much as I did at 18. Love the training and everything the brand has to offer. The HQ support, the other salon owners. We’re a family. Always someone there to help.
Shannon – I love the hair training. I’ve got a place on the Saks A-Team 2022 training programme and also worked on our backstage team for Fashion In Motion at the V&A with Little Jess from our team. Working on high fashion shows with Luke Pluckrose and the other Saks Artists – unreal. All the extras are fab. The parties!
Andrea – Emma and Shannon are on Saks A-Team this year, others can go next year, and Emma’s been here 15 years and is doing a L’Oréal Colour Specialist degree again. And Hannah was named Saks Apprentices Junior of the Year. Also, Shannon and Little Jess are on the L’Oréal Loft business and management training programme! We keep progressing. It’s key.
Us – we could chat all day with you two… 20th birthday invites incoming gals? Love you. Love Saks xx
IN HEXHAM AND NOT BEEN IN YET?
Find our fabulous Saks Hexham salon team at 9 Cattle Market in town. To book in, call 01434 609444, download the Love Saks app or book online.
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Paloma Faith: WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo