Few people would have the nerve to open a brand new business just days before Christmas. Let alone a new hair salon, at a time when the industry’s primary customer base has booked their appointments weeks in advance elsewhere. But hairdresser-to-the stars Andre de Villiers, 40, isn’t one to shy away from a challenge – and his eponymous salon on Sharrow Vale Road is already reaping the rewards of his courage.
Andre grew up in Cape Town, cutting friends’ hair in his mother’s kitchen before training aged 17 and, by 21, achieving the highest mark ever awarded at regional and national level – a record that stands to this day.
And though he went on to enjoy great success in London – welcoming household names like Elle Macpherson and Amanda Wakeley through the doors of his Earls Court salon – the draw of the north was too great. In 2015, he and his partner Andrew relocated to Nether Edge, having gradually fallen in love with Sheffield during regular visits to see Andrew’s brother and sister-in-law in Broomhall.
Andre cut his Sheffield teeth at a local salon and soon settled in to life in the city. But when computer programmer Andrew was made redundant the day after the EU Referendum vote, they both knew it was time to do something big. And so the first seeds of the Sharrow Vale salon were sewn.
The entrepreneurial pair knew better than to go it alone and they enlisted the help of Business Sheffield’s start-up team to help them on their way. The free advice, inspirational training sessions and ongoing support helped them enormously.
Andre explains: “We wanted to get as much information before opening as possible so we could fully prepare ourselves for what was to come, and make the business as successful as possible from the outset. We enrolled on the free business coaching sessions and they were great. The business advisors gave us loads of great advice on starting up, finances and branding. It gave us confidence that we were doing the right thing and it is so nice to know that we will always have their support.”
Location is everything to Andre and he loves Sharrow Vale Road’s quirky nature and friendly people, as well as the more practical aspects like parking. “It has such a community feel and we immediately felt part of it,” he says. “Even other hairdressers were calling in to welcome us to the neighbourhood – it’s like being part of one big team.”
Andre offers all aspects of hairdressing, including restyles, colour and Brazilian blowdrys – a wonder treatment that delivers body without the frizz. He also specialises in bridal hair and hair styling for special events.
Price-wise, Andre is similar to fellow S11 salon owner, Conrad Blandford. Following in the footsteps of this well-established business from the off, he’s certainly taking the right route as the Ecclesall Road salon also enlisted the help and advice of Business Sheffield, and now enjoys great success.
Andre has also become a qualified assessor and, in the future, hopes to train juniors in the salon – and he has grand plans for them. “If all goes well, we’ll expand,” he says. “But we’re not just here for the take; we want to become known as a salon that does good training and gives back to the next generation.
“I want to take hairdressing in Sheffield to another level with a new and fresh perspective. It’s all about giving back and educating the next generation. One day, I might even start my own school.”
One thing’s for sure; whatever Andre has in the pipeline, Business Sheffield will be there to support him every step of the way.
If you are looking to start a business, become self-employed or already have a business operating in the city, Business Sheffield are here to help you get your idea off the ground, set up and grow. Call them on 0114 224 5000 to find out how or visit the Business Sheffield events page and book on to a workshop today.
Read more at www.welcometosheffield.co.uk