Find out more about Sharkey's fun filled hairdressing franchise for kids
IT’s billed on the website as ‘the salon just for kids where the haircuts are cool and fun rules’.
In fact you could say there’s never a dull moment at Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids, at St James House, Market Street, Douglas. The place is geared firmly with children in mind. Girls are made to feel like little princesses while lads are kings for the day. Sharkey’s is already a big name in the United States. Lee Astin, 29, and partner Roxanne Mottram, 27, took on the franchise - the island shop was the first in Europe - in 2010. The couple, who live in Onchan, have two children, Wayne, eight, and Naomi, four.
Lee, an accountant, said: ‘Roxanne and I form a good partnership in the business as she deals with the salon, customers, and hair cuts, and I work on the business matters such as suppliers, invoices, VAT, accounts, reports and administrative matters. ‘This allows Roxanne to really focus on the customers and delivering the best quality customer service possible.’
The couple are celebrating after scooping £3,000 worth of free advertising with Isle of Man Newspapers after winning the Business Accelerators contest which was judged by members of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce. Two other new businesses - Checkout 14 Limited and Hazel Walsh Photography - also tasted victory in the same contest and have been profiled in recent editions of Business News.
Everything in Sharkey’s is geared to youngsters - and adults even feel young at heart. There are offers galore including ‘mums and kids’ and ‘dads and lads’ deals. Roxanne, who completed her hairdressing and barbering course at Isle of Man College in 2004, said customers have ranged in age from seven months to a nanna in her late 70s. She said: ‘We have really enjoyed our first year in business since it started in November 2010. There is never a dull moment when cutting a child’s hair.’
And it really is a little paradise for children. The little ones can choose between three special fun chairs that have been specially imported from the United States. There is Lightning McQueen (from the Disney film Cars), a Barbie jeep and a blue Mini Cooper. And as their hair is being cut they can watch from a large selection of DVDs including Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine and Sponge Bob Square Pants. There’s a couple of chairs where youngsters can play computer games and an upstairs room is geared towards older girls as they listen to the latest pop tunes.
All first-time visitors receive a special certificate and a pouch containing a lock of their hair. Lee said: ‘We are finding an increasing number are regular customers returning time and time again because they love it here so much.’ Among the regulars is three-year-old Harriet, daughter of Berni Kneale from Onchan. Harriet headed straight for the Barbie jeep and plumped for a viewing of Fireman Sam as she was prepared for a wash, cut and dry.
Her visit was rounded off with her nails being painted and collecting a balloon and a lollipop. Berni said it was a real treat for Harriet. ‘We usually come here every six weeks and they do a very good job. My older daughter McKenzie, eight, also has her hair cut here. The youngsters have a lovely time.’ The business also offers themed parties in the room upstairs. There’s the Glamour Party, Cookie the Clown events and Dolittle’s. The parties are proving very popular .
Lee and Roxanne say they were delighted at winning the prize. ‘The advertising will be a great help in putting our message across about the business,’ said Lee. There’s all sorts of fun ideas and products on sale such as chocolate shampoo! People can read all about Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids on a colourful website and the Douglas shop has a thriving Facebook page with nearly 3,000 followers and growing all the time.