Duo set to inspire next generation of young businesswomen with launch of new Padiham salon

Beauticians and hairdressers were among the hardest hit during lockdown.

Unable to work and earn a living for several months at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many were left in despair about the future.

And while it was an horrendous experience for friends Olivia Houghton and Ainsley Darling it also made them realise was a 'now or never' time for them to fulfil their dreams to become their own bosses.

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"Lockdown was awful but it gave us both the opportunity to really think about what we wanted for the future," said Olivia.

Olivia Houghton (left) and Ainsley Darling outside their newly opened Padiham hair and beauty salon The Cornerhouse

And it seems like fate played a hand in the launch of their new salon, The Cornerhouse in Padiham, as the duo, who are both 26, have been best friends since they were pupils at Shuttleworth College. Not only that, their lives have mirrored each others in many ways.

Both dropped their A'level studies to follow other paths. For Olivia that was beauty and massage at Blackburn College and Ainsley opted for hairdressing, becoming an apprentice.

Ainsley, who welcomed her first baby Elle into the world, with her barber partner Tom Horne in May, said: "We have worked together for other people but we felt now was the right time to launch our own business.

"So far it it going really well as we have built up a good client base between us over the years."

Olivia (left) and Ainsley hope to be role models for the next generation of young women

And the dynamic duo are also on a mission to inspire the next generation of young girls to follow their dreams as Olivia, whose boyfriend Ben Armstrong is an engineer, plans to put her PGCE qualification into practise by teaching aspiring beauticians.

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She said: "We want to give the next generation of young girls the skills and confidence to achieve their dreams and ambitions, just like we have."