An interview with Kristina Stevenson, the founder and owner of B Unique. A boutique hair salon where the atmosphere is intimate and friendly, and the standards are higher than the hair!
B Unique, Frodsham – May 2012
B Unique, Saughall – May 2014
Q. Have you always wanted to run your own business?
I had always wanted to be a hairdresser from about the age of 14 and I started my training at 16, but I didn’t feel I wanted my own business until I had been in the industry for about 14 years, which I felt has been better as I had a good amount of experience under my belt.
Q. As a women what or who has inspired you?
Leaders in the hairdressing industry always inspire and motivate me, but positive and negative experiences from previous work places have pushed me to succeed
Q. What has been the hardest part of running a business?
Finding the right team to fit our brand and style and getting a work-life balance.
Q. What has been the best thing about running a business?
Being able to run our business the way we want to and watch our team and clientele develop and grow- it is very rewarding. Also learning more about the business and finance side has been fun too.
Q. Did you seek any advice when you started?
From close friends of ours who run a successful finance business, and having a husband who works in Finance also helps too!
-Do you still need help now and again?
It’s a constant learning curve, so I would never say ‘I don’t need any help’. I don’t think it hurts to get a second opinion from time to time.
Q. When you started your business, did you receive any negative comments or feedback?
I believe constructive criticism is always good and you are always going to get it, but I feel it keeps you on your toes and keeps you striving to be better.
-Do you think this is because you are female?
No, your gender is irrelevant
Q. Have you used finance or government grants?
Yes, we used LDF to lease some of our equipment.
-If so, how did you find this process?
The process was very simple and most importantly it helped preserve our cash flow when we needed it the most. Not having to buy all the equipment up front made starting our business a lot more affordable. LDF were easy to deal with and took care of the whole process- Would gladly recommend them.
Q. Do you utilise the internet? Social media/online bookings etc. How important is this to your business?
We do have our own website www.buniquehair.co.uk and I use Facebook to advertise and keep our clients updated with any style or product offerings. Facebook is a very popular way of communicating, so it’s important part to move with the times.
Q. Are you thinking of expanding your business in the future?
Having two keeps me busy, but I would never say never.
Q. Do you think you need to act differently, maybe more masculine to show yourself as the successful businesswomen you are?
I have never found this is something I have needed to do, but my industry is quite female dominated.
Q. Finally, looking back would you do anything differently?
Yes, I would definitely have done a little more work on my budget when we first started. With the second one you have a lot better idea of what to expect but the first one certainly gave me some surprises!
As more and more women take on their own businesses it is no surprise that there are 20% more women self-employed than in 2008. Compared to America, UK start-up bosses are five times more likely to be female.
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