If you have little ones, you’ll know that a trip to the hair salon isn’t as relaxing as it perhaps could be. Newly launched Ava & Harrison is Liverpool’s child-friendly salon, looking to enhance the pampering experience for all members of the family. 

Sara and Jo worked together as children’s hairdressers in Children’s World back in the 90s. Going on to pursue different career paths, they dreamt of joining forces to open their own salon. Noticing a gap in the market, Sara and Jo launched ‘Ava & Harrison’ – Liverpool’s first child-friendly salon that caters to all members of the family.

Deciding that it was now or never, Jo contacted The Women’s Organisation: “we felt nervous, excited, doubtful and confident all in one”. Sara and Jo worked alongside Business Adviser, Yan Miao, to get the ball rolling and make their life-long business dream a reality.

So, just what makes Ava & Harrison special? The salon is designed for children, but also a place for adults to enjoy a treatment without having to worry about their children, with a play area in view of the salon chairs. Not only that, but the salon caters for children’s anxiety and is welcoming to those with special needs.

As the golden mantra preaches, nothing worth having comes easy. Jo found the finance side of things daunting and faced issues finding a landlord who would allow for the style of business. However, Jo and Sara were able to seek advice and guidance from Yan every step of the way. And was the hard work worth it? Jo said: “absolutely – the best part of running a business is the excitement of watching your dreams become a reality.”

With 19 schools within 1 mile of the salon, as well as a busy shopping centre, Jo and Sara decided to set up shop in Liverpool’s Old Swan. The name ‘Ava & Harrison’ is a tribute to Sara’s daughter, Ava, and Jo’s nephew, Harrison, who each played a pivotal role in the design and inspiration of the salon itself. And how is the business going? Jo said: “things are going really well so far; our team is organically growing, and we are taking more than our predicted forecast. By the end of week one we had to employ someone, and by our second week, another staff member. Our estimate for week twelve is that we will be up to a team of 7!”
Success is fuelled through passion, and this is testament to the triumph of Ava & Harrison. Jo and Sara are committed to ensuring that children have a positive salon experience, taking the essential extra time needed to support children suffering with anxiety. 

Jo and Sara are keen educate staff members with awareness in neurodevelopmental conditions. They’re currently undertaking training to specialise in hair care for autistic children and are keen to collaborate with local community groups specialising in autism and children’s disabilities. Seeking the advice of those with experience, such as carers, parents and experts, will allow Sara and Jo to shape the hair-cutting experience to suit the needs of those who require a slightly different approach.

To others looking to start a business, Jo’s biggest piece of advice is to “be confident in your idea. Research, plan and make sure to take advice from others who have been there and done it. You have to believe in yourself and be confident in your decision-making – what’s the worst that can happen if something doesn’t work?”

A big congratulations to Sara and Jo on the launch of Ava & Harrison!

If you want to find out more about the salon, contact them on hair@ava-harrison.com or visit their website on www.ava-harrison.com. Ava & Harrison is located 7 St Oswalds Street, Old Swan, L13 5SA (opposite Tesco) and can be reached on 0151 345 3443. You can also visit them on Facebook.

If this story has left you feeling inspired to pursue your own business dream, contact us on 0151 706 8111 or hello@thewo.org.uk to discover just how we can support you.