Young entrepreneurs: Jessica Leach, The Hair Bears
The female founder whose mobile hairdressing service helps vulnerable children and adults, and counts Dragons' Den star Peter Jones as a fan...
Name: Jessica Leach
Company: The Hair Bears (Sensory Hair Limited)
For Birmingham business owner and hairdresser Jessica Leach, running a start-up is as much about helping people as it is about generating revenue.
The female entrepreneur launched her mobile hairdressing service Hair Bears almost three years ago aged just 20 and the company has continued to thrive in the years since.
While mobile hairdressing is nothing new, Leach's service bring a new meaning to hair care as it focuses on supporting vulnerable people and those in need.
After visiting a hair salon with her aunt – who has both physical and learning disabilities – Leach began to realise how stressful the experience was for both her aunt and the hairdresser; who didn't know how to act around her.
Yet her aunt wasn't the only vulnerable person to face the same problem and, albeit a niche market, Leach realised that something needed to be done. With £6,000 in savings she went about launching Hair Bears with her mother; a hairdresser and experienced care professional.
Visiting care homes, hospitals and private homes, Hair Bears now works with children and adults and provides sensory therapy and distraction techniques to reduce stress during the hair-cutting and styling process. There is a never a time limit on the bookings and Leach asserts that “the service is good value” for the clients they cater for.
Backed by the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, where Leach says she was “equipped with the skills and mindset needed” to run a business, Hair Bears already generates a profit and “consistently receives great feedback”.
Despite being a small team of two, Leach and her mother have big plans on the horizon. One goal is to start equipping high street hair salons with the relevant skills needed:
“Each successfully trained salon will get a sticker to certify that they’re autism and additional-needs friendly. In five years’ time, we hope there will be stickers all over the country – we want to shake up the whole hairdressing industry!” – A truly worthy goal and one that makes Leach a deserving recipient of our Young Entrepreneurs to Watch title.