Enfield Hairdresser Aiming for European Recognition
Having been in business barely 4 months, local hairdresser Harriet of Harriet Kessie in Fore Street, Edmonton has caught the eye of the organizers of the prestigious European Federation of Black Women Business Owners Awards 2001 and has this year been nominated for a British Individual Award which seeks to recognize the achievements of business or corporate Black women from Britain who are exercising key roles within their organisation.
"I was absolutely stunned when I opened the envelope to find out I had been nominated, says Harriet. Since launching at the end of May, I have been very busy working alongside my business partner Joseph Cudjoe to promote the salon. We have been able to achieve both local and national press coverage and are due to launch a website for the salon at the end of October. Our latest promotion due to kick off on Nov 1st 2001 will see one of our clients jet off on a New Year break to a European destination. Just to be nominated is good enough for me but if I win, it will just cap off a wonderful start to the business"
The awards now in its 6th year will take place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane on Friday 9th November and has become the most prestigious event on the black business calendar. It is an event that celebrates and encourages women of colour throughout the UK and Europe to strive for excellence within the business arena.
The salon is one of only a few who have installed a computerised client management system. Partner in the business, Joseph Cudjoe explained, "although the system was quite expensive, I felt it was a worthwhile investment as it allows us to provide a more efficient and professional service to our clients. It also fits in with our aim of providing a high level of customer service to all our clients.
Notes to editor:
1. For more information, please call Joseph Cudjoe on 020 8345 5621 or 07903 133 058
2. Shop details are as follows:
235 Fore Street
Tel: 020 8345 5621
Fax: 0870 128 1798
1st October 2001
Why Black Hair Is Big News
Less then ten years ago black hairdressing was little more than a cottage industry, made up of small corner salons or simply women working from home with the odd salon in London grabbing the very top end of the market.
But today black hair is big business and it is one of the faster growing sectors of the grooming market. According to industry magazine Black Beauty and Hair Professional, black hair salons are opening at a rate of almost one a week, hairdressing colleges are running courses specifically geared towards Afro Caribbean styles, and even the mainstream hair names such as L'Oreal and Paul Mitchell are in on the act, marketing products suitable for black hair.
"Black women spend, on average, four times more on their grooming that white women do, " says Caroline Davies, Associate Editor of Black Beauty and Hair. "The way they look has always been very important to them. But what's changed in the last few years is that this generation of black women are the first to have worked their way into a position where they have lots of disposable income.
"In the past, Afro Caribbean women tended to stay at home and look after the families. Now they are accountants, businesswomen, working in the info tech industry in the media. And they chose to spend their money on looking good. Black women think nothing of spending £200 on a hair style which might only last them a couple of months."
Hair has always been a pre-occupation with black women. Generally coarser than Caucasian hair, it is also kinked which means that, left to it's own devices, black hair quickly becomes unmanageable.
"From an early age black girls are made aware of how important it is to look after their hair, " says Harriet Kessie, 27, who has just opened her own upmarket salon, Harriet Kessie Hair and Nails in Edmonton, North London after ten years in the business.
"The little ones will either have their hair is cropped really short, or it will be braided into what we call corn rows to keep it neat and tidy. Then as they get a bit older their mum will perhaps put their hair into twists - literally twisting the hair with a bit of gel so that it stays in place. Or they might braid and then twist the braids into china bumps.
"These styles are centuries old and they have developed for a very good reason. Not only is black hair hard to groom, it can also dry out and become brittle very quickly. Braiding or twisting young hair protects it from the constant combing and pulling which would weaken the hair. In addition, adding moisturising products to the style helps to nourish the hair and give it a shine."
Another centuries-old tradition is the hot comb. Talk to any black women and she will tell you stories of her mother heating up the iron comb on a stove before sitting, for hours, as she worked it through the hair.
"The idea was that the heat of the hot iron would make the kinks drop out, " says Emma Stuart, a make up artist and stylist who has worked with 5 star and All Saints.
"Once the kinks were out and the hair was smooth then you could start styling your hair the way you wanted it to look. But it took for ever to do and it wasn't the most pleasant of experiences. Sometimes your mum would catch your ear by mistake and it would leave you with a burn mark. And the smell of burning hair - yuck. Some girls, if they had long enough hair, would put it into a paper bag and their mums would literally iron it flat.
"Now of course most of us sit in the hair salon and have our hair relaxed chemically. But some people who can't afford to go to the salon will chemically relax it at home or have a friend help them.!"
Chemical relaxers came onto the market in the late sixties but the first types, far from being the answer to a black women's prayer, often turned out to be more trouble that they were worth.
"They were very harsh, " agrees Harriet Kessie. "And of course because our hair is fragile anyway, there were soon stories of women whose hair had fallen out and who had to wear a wig while it grew back - apparently that even happened to Tina Turner.
"But after a while the products improved and now chemical relaxants are fairly gentle. But even so, most women will come in for protein moisturising treatments in-between relaxing session to prevent their hair drying out."
Weaves and extensions are another hair accessory that black women have been using for years - mainly because most black hair grows very slowly.
"Black women were into extensions long before the white models and pop stars started to get in on the act, " says Caroline. "Black hairdresser are extremely skilled at doing extensions and weaves and the end result can often be amazing."
All this care doesn't come cheap and goes some way to explaining why the black hair industry is such a lucrative market.
"I factor in my cost of hair care to my budget in the same way that I factor in my electricity bill, " explains Emma Stuart., "In other words it is an essential, not a luxury.
"I have my hair chemically relaxed every two to three months, which costs around £50. Then I have two conditioning treatments every month , I have my hair have tonged once a week which keeps it even flatter and then one weave a month. I reckon on spending around £200 a month."
And the black grooming industry shows no sign of slowing down.
"It's all to do with black women becoming more independent than ever before," says Harriet. "I had no problem getting my business up and running, the bank manager agreed it was a great idea. In fact anything to do with black women at the moment is a growth industry. Nail bars, food, beauty products and of course hair. Black women love to look good and they don't mind paying for it."
Harriet Kessie on 0208 345 5621
Emma Stuart - stylist on used
BREAKOUT (All spellings of names are correct.)
Jacquee Moyo aged 21. A student paediatric nurse from North London she had a coloured weave added to her short hair.
Time to do: Two hours.
"I had shoulder length hair for a long time but it was hard work, says Jacquee. "I had to have it straightened regularly and about a year ago I decided to have it cut short. I still have to have it straightened but it doesn't take so long and although it is a hassle it is a normal part of being a black woman so we are all used to it. The only low maintenance hair for a black woman is dreadlocks or twists, both of which are kept in by using gel.
"Now my hair is short at the back and long on top which I really like. I have it cut every four weeks and I always go to a black hairdresser for my cut, white hairdressers find it very hard to understand my hair."
Leonie Millen, 19, a midwifery student from London. Had extensions added to her hair, then they were cane rowed and finally put up into china bumps.
Time to do: Three hours.
I am slightly unusual for a black person because I have a tiny bit of Indian heritage which means my hair grows longer than if I was 100% black but it still has all the other problems associated with black hair. I have to have it straightened regularly which cost about £55 and I have it tonged once a month. I use a special shampoo for black hair.
Terri Martinez, early thirties, choreographer from North London. Her twists (or dreadlocked) hair was sculptured and beads added.
Time to do: Half an hour.
Cost approx: £25.00
I used to have long hair which was straightened chemically and then I would spend ages with rollers or blow drying it. As a choreographer working all over the world it was incredibly difficult to manage so about three years ago I started looking for an alternative and decided on dreadlocks. I had to cut all my hair off - you can't grow dreadlocks from hair that has been straightened and then as it grew I would twist tiny bits of my hair, adding gel to it to make sure that it didn't unravel. It is incredibly easy to maintain. As my hair grows I just twist the sections up to my scalp. I don't even have to add gel anymore, it stays put by itself.
I wash my hair about twice a week using a conditioning shampoo and then add oils to keep them soft. The twist can actually take up to two days to dry but that doesn't really matter - it's a lot easier than the style I had before."
Stephanie Earle, 35, a personal trainer from Sutton, Surrey. Had extensions added to her natural hair then styled.
Time to do: Four hours.
I have had all the styles you can think of; Corn Rows, natural hair straightened with a hot comb, hair extensions, a geometric style and even a close crop but after having had my hair chemically straightened a few years ago it all started to fall out. After that I kept it natural but very short and more recently had twists and extensions to keep it neat.
5 September 2001
Harriet Climbs Ladder to success
Seen climbing the ladder to unveil the new sign over her hairdressing salon is Harriet Kessie who opened a new Afro-Caribbean hair and nail salon in Fore Street, Edmonton, in a blaze of goodwill.
The new salon is a welcome addition to lively Fore Street in a shop unit released by council.
Plans for the new business really took off when her businesses partner, Joseph Cudjoe, attended a council seminar for black and ethnic minority businesses last November. He met Janet Collett, Director of the Enfield Enterprise Agency, And discovered that the new salon could get a grant of up to £5,000 provided certain Conditions could be met.
Harriet explained: "In order to get the grant I have had to demonstrate that I will be employing local people and providing some training's have been talking to the Head of Enfield College's hairdressing course so that I can take on Trainees.
"I shall also be employing stylists and we hope to provide a good service to the community."
The salon has been fitted in elegant modern décor with the latest hairdressing units and Fittings. It offers a manicurist and advice on all top styles.
Janet Collett said: "Joseph and Harriet deserve to do well, and we are here to help.
"The Black and ethnic minority business seminar focused on finance. It was an excellent initiative from the council's Business Development Scrutiny Panel working closely with NLTEC.
"Over 150 people were able to meet banks and we at the Enfield Enterprise Agency have followed up a number of other enquiries."
Cllr Del Goddard, cabinet member for regeneration, said: "I am delighted to see this new business getting started and that we have been able to offer support with our partners."
Cllr John Jackson, chair of the business development scrutiny panel, added: "We want to encourage more entrepreneurs from the ethnic minorities and we shall do all we can to help them."
As an introductory offer all first-time customers at the salon will get a 25% discount. For more information call Harriet on 0208 345 5621.
Stretch cardholders can also get a special 10% ongoing discount.
8-28 June 2001
Hairstyling gets a modern touch
Hairdressers Harriet Kessie and Joseph Cudjoe, who between them have snipped and styled the locks of celebrities such as Chris Eubank and pop band Eternal, opened a new salon in Edmonton last Tuesday.
The salon in Fore Street, called Harriet Kessie, specialises in Afro-Caribbean hair. It was set up by the two partners using their own savings and a £5000 grant from the Enfield Enterprise Agency.
Harriet said, "I had to demonstrate that I will be employing local people and providing some training. I have been talking to the head of Enfield College's hairdressing course so that I can take on trainees."
Joseph will manage the day-to-day running of the business while Harriet, who has worked in the industry for the last 11 years, cuts the hair.
Harriet said, "People say I am a good listener and I see myself as a counsellor to my customers. I always try and keep them happy,"
Joseph added, "The salon is looking like it's on Sloane Street. A lot of Afro salons are dingy and we wanted to change that, so we have made Harriet Kessie more modern."
Wednesday 30 May 2001
GETTING WIGGY WITH IT.
By Idowu Ogunlabi
It was that time of year again. You know, when glamorous girls with extravagant hairstyles, and suave, sophisticated brothas desperately compete with each other for attention.
A time of year when fashion victims from all corners of the capital gather to compare notes and fashion tips, Yes the Afro Hair & Beauty show had descended upon us again.
This year, the event that never fails to impress, attracted even more black socialites than ever before. Now in its 18th year, the fun-filled two-day event was originally a trade show targeting those involved in the black hair and beauty industry.
Fortunately for us, its organisers soon realised that us black Brits were becoming
Increasingly beauty conscious and opened their doors to the general public.
Massive public interest meant that the event was forced to move from venue to venue before finding an accommodating home at the prestigious Alexandra Palace, North London.
Every year, the show treats visitors to a unbelievable combination of stage shows, barber clashes and free giveaways. The competitions were fought keenly as barbers battled and college students free styled. And for the true romantics, there was the bride and Groom competition won by the lovely dovey couple, Maureen Mitchell and Andrew Fisher, who get hitched this August: 'We've never won anything before, we're over the moon', gushed the elated Maureen. Steve 'Kutwild' Simpsons, winner of The Battle of the Barbers contest, tried to play it cool after winning the coveted award for the fourth year in a row. He smiled: 'Yeah, it was good, it shows that all my hard work has paid off.
It's safe to say that this was a spectacular event not to be missed. But just in case you did, here are some hair-raising pics to ease your pain.
5 June 2000