A trip to the hair and beauty salon should make you feel a million dollars, right? Old, young, drab, disabled, sick, blooming fabulous or all in one – it’s a given that you should walk out of a salon feeling better than you went in. But is that always the experience?
Not so for the late Wendy Osborne – mother-in-law and inspiration behind the galloping success that is Collette Osborne’s Hairven. Her experience at the hands of thoughtless stylists left her confidence shattered.
Superficially, salon entrepreneur Collette is every inch the consummate professional woman. Formerly working in the corporate world, she has scooped Nottingham Post business awards for the last two successive years. She is rumoured to be opening another salon in West Bridgford, and alongside her hair Education Academy she is creating a business school for salon owners.
“You can rock up to Hairven in your pyjamas and expect to be treated like a queen.”
“She’s been up since 4.30am,” whispered one of the beauty therapists to me, “she’s amazing.”
She is poised and immaculately turned out, yet her voice shakes when she discusses her mum and it is clear where her real passion lies.
“Wendy had chemotherapy for breast cancer and she was so embarrassed about her hair – but I persuaded her to go to the salon, and I’ll never forget meeting her afterwards. She was devastated”
Far from receiving reassurance and compassion for her hair loss, the much-loved mother and grandma was clearly made to feel that she was an embarrassment.
“She wouldn’t go out for a year after that,” says Collette, her voice shaking, “and that is the reason why I am so passionate about the salon experience.
“When people are self-conscious, one visit to the wrong salon can destroy that self confidence completely.”
It’s a passion that clearly translates into action for this 45-year-old mum and her 17-year-old son, Bradley, who created the heaven and angels concept behind Hairven after his grandma died in December 2011.
It is an inspired way to channel anger and grief – and she continues to be an extremely active supporter of charitable causes.
“I was alarmed,” she agrees, “I needed to change the way people were treated. You can rock up to Hairven in your pyjamas and expect to be treated like a queen.”
“I’m studying to be a trichologist.”
It clearly works – and why wouldn’t it? Walk through the doors – or should it be gates? – of Hairven and the experience is blissful. Along with the beauty treatments and must-have hair, there is a cocktail bar, for goodness sake!
So what next for this extremely likeable philanthropist?
“I’m studying to be a trichologist. I want ladies with hair problems to know we can help them.
“We are joining up with medics at the QMC (queens Medical Centre in Nottingham) and they are really excited about it. We should be open next year – and fully open in 2018.”
Wendy would be proud, I say. She laughs.“She would! She was so proud of anything Nottingham. Births, weddings, openings – it all had to go in the local paper.”