Social Enterprise Salon Supports Young People Toward a Brighter Future

The founder of Scotland’s first Hair & Beauty Salon operating as a social enterprise has launched a brand-new venue in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre.

On Monday 17th May, Kerry Anderson officially opened the doors of the city’s second Brave, Strong, Beautiful salon on Lothian Road, further establishing her social mission to invest in the future of young people in Scotland, providing training opportunities, employment, and mental health support.

Since 2019, Brave, Strong, Beautiful has been operating as a community interest company (CIC), helping vulnerable young adults from Edinburgh interested in the hair and beauty industry, by offering them an alternative, inspiring and accessible route to training and employment.  The first salon in Restalrig has drawn a loyal community of clients and has built a reputation for supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to thrive, while offering a first-class range of hair and beauty treatments, woven with a welcoming and warm salon environment.

The new salon on Lothian Road, will offer a range of treatments from cut, colour and blow drys, for women, men and children, to beauty treatments including tanning, waxing and eye treatments, with prices ranging from £10 to £75. The fresh, stylish and spacious interior of the new salon combines calming tones, with natural light and pops of aqua, creating an inviting and tranquil space for clients.

Since she set up the not-for-profit business in 2019, Founding Director, Kerry was determined to put mental health at the heart of any theoretical, practical and vocational support offered to young people studying towards an SVQ in hairdressing.  She set out to marry her expertise and experience in hair and beauty, with her social care and counselling background.  Today, the business offers additional employability skills, support, inspiration and opportunity to young people with a passion for the hair and beauty industry, for whom college may not feel like the right route.

Kerry Anderson, Brave, Strong, Beautiful CIC Founding Director explains; “I know from first-hand experience that young people who have faced disadvantages growing up need more than just educational and vocational training to keep them on track when studying.  They need to feel supported, encouraged and safe, to take steps towards creating a positive future.

“We’re committed to encouraging young people with training and career progression, but we also remain very focussed on offering best in class service.  We work with leading hair and beauty brands, offer exceptional training standards and the highest level of customer service.

“We’re opening the Lothian Road Salon with seven staff, some of whom have been training with us since 2019, and I personally feel so proud of what they have all achieved.  I’m lucky to have a group of very talented people working with me, who are achieving great things because of the extra support and care they have been given.”

Making a difference is embedded in the culture at Brave, Strong, Beautiful.  A nurturing and safe learning environment has given several young people a chance to build their confidence, learn new skills and set out new ambitions for themselves.  The young people working with Kerry and her team are given a chance to change their own future and pursue something that excites and inspires them.

Sarah Page, senior apprentice, started her training at Brave, Strong, Beautiful in April 2019.  She explains; “Since being part of Brave, Strong, Beautiful and receiving the additional support, my confidence has grown so much, and I can see changes every day. I feel that I get listened to and that Kerry understands what I’m going through.

“We’ve been working so hard to get the salon ready for our clients and can’t wait to welcome them in – the space looks amazing.  I’ve enjoyed all of my training with Kerry and the team, but it’s been really, really exciting to be part of a new salon opening.”

Apprentice, Chloe Bain is also looking forward to the next chapter for the salon and herself.  She says; “Since starting with Brave, Strong, Beautiful in November I feel so welcome and included.  I am excited to start my apprenticeship next month and it’s amazing to be doing it in a brand-new salon.”

Brave, Strong Beautiful is a not-for-profit organisation and relies on funding and money raised through the salons to support their social enterprise and mission.  The CIC was recognised by LaunchMe, Scotland’s social enterprise accelerator, in 2020, for its potential to scale, secure investment and generate social impact in the community.

More recently, the business won the Scottish Edge Award Community Interest Company in October 2020 and was awarded £50,000 of funding to support the business growth and ambitions.  The funding has allowed Kerry and her team to open the new salon, and Kerry has big ambitions for the business and its continued growth and expansion.

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