Salon owner Kay Doney is celebrating half a century in business in Padiham.
Kay was just 21 when she took over at the Burnley Road salon where she had worked as an apprentice for five years. Previously Helene’s, Kay bought the business in the swinging 60s but never dreamed she would be in the same place 50 years later.
I have clients who have been coming here all their lives. One of my eldest clients is 93Hairdresser Kay Doney
She said: “It has just happened really. But hairdressing is a vocation and something I love doing.
“The opportunity to run my own business was something not to be missed especially in that era.’’
Kay’s salon in Burnley Road is affectionately known as “Reuters” because it is a good source for information and news about what is happening in Padiham. She said: “I have clients who have been coming here all their lives. One of my eldest clients is 93.”
A friendly, modern salon, Kay’s clients often go to get their hair done and also have a good chat and laugh with Kay and her staff, Janet Fairweather who has clocked up an incredible 47 years and Karen Metcalfe who has worked there for 14 years.
Janet said: “Over the years we have been here through the good times and the bad together and we have laughed and cried. I have got to know Kay so well that I know what she is going to say before she says it!”
Kay, who is married to Brian, believes that patience, kindness and the ability to be happy even if you don’t feel it are essential attributes for any hairdresser.
She said: “Clients come in and talk to us about many things they may never discuss with their family or friends. They don’t want to see a miserable face.”
A former governor at Nelson and Colne College, which is renowned for its hair and beauty courses, Kay was also a member of the Burnley Hairdressing Federation which saw members taking part in competitions all over the world.
Kay, who has lived in Padiham since she was 13, has always been able to adapt to the changing hairstyle trends, from the cottage loaf style of the 60s to the Purdy cut made popular by Joanna Lumley in the 70s and also the Farrah Fawcett flick.
But requests have not always been so straightforward with one male client asking for his hair to be styled like a female maid!
Mum of three Kay said: “It was many years ago and times were different so I was a little taken aback but I did as he asked and his hair looked great when he left the salon.”
Keeping her skills updated and also being able to offer traditional methods, such as styling hair with rollers, something many modern hair stylists cannot do, is what Kay attributes her success to. And how has she kept going for so long?
“Because we are good,” Kay smiled.