HAIR QUEEN: Boom in DIY hair products sees huge growth

“Personal grooming has hit an all-time-high because during times of uncertainty, more than ever, we need to feel special and good about ourselves.”

A female entrepreneur, who started her business in a one bedroom flat, now sits as an industry leader and pioneer in the hair industry.

Penelope Cheshire founded Beauty Works Limited ten years ago. Through her extraordinary leadership, she has guided the organisation in becoming one of the world’s most successful and exciting beauty brands, selling hair extensions to more than 4000 professional salons and consumers in over 180 countries.

Perhaps a big part of the ‘Hair Queen’s’ success is being a vocal advocate for men and women’s rights to wear hair pieces without fear of judgement or embarrassment – vital for those suffering from illness-related hair loss and cancer. She is also deeply committed to inclusivity and diversity, providing equal opportunities for plus-size models, embracing different ages and skin colours.

The organisation’s hair extensions have been worn by Nicole Scherzinger, Olivia Palermo, Bella Hadid and Dame Joan Collins, and in 2018, Hollywood actors, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, wore Beauty Works’ hair extensions in the film, ‘A Star is Born’.

And whilst British businesses have grappled with the second period of lockdown, Beauty Works has seen a way to forge ahead, experiencing unprecedented growth since March.

The company, which sells hair extensions and styling tools to 180 international markets, has seen sales soar by more than 65% on the same period last year, and profits double. Styling tools, ‘clip in’ hair extensions and after-care product sales have been particularly virulent.

Managing Director, Penelope Cheshire, has credited ‘staying in is the new going out’ as a contributory factor: “With many hair salons closed during the lockdown period, our customers have had to be adaptable and tend to their own locks; hence, sales of our DIY products have gone through the roof,” she says.

“In addition, although many of us have been stuck at home with the option of leisure activity severely limited, we have found that women still wish to feel glamorous, even if that just means staying at home and Zooming with their friends.

“Personal grooming has hit an all-time-high because during times of uncertainty, more than ever, we need to feel special and good about ourselves.”

Beauty Works is the world’s leading hair extensions company, supplying more than 4000 professional salons, as well as consumers. Its products have featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Grazia Magazine and Glamour, and been awarded at The Hair Awards every year since 2013.

The organisation’s hair extensions have been worn by Nicole Scherzinger, Olivia Palermo, Bella Hadid and Dame Joan Collins, and in 2018, Hollywood actors, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, wore Beauty Works’ hair extensions in the film, ‘A Star is Born’.

In 2019, Beauty Works turned over more than £20 million; this year, and despite the impact of COVID-19, the company is on target to hit more than £33 million. Such incredible growth has prompted the need for more space.

Penelope is particularly proactive in employing young women from low socio-economic backgrounds who struggle to secure employment elsewhere. Of her team of 60, 50 are women.

Despite operating from a 17,000 square foot warehouse in Cheshire, an additional 7,000 square foot goods-in warehouse has been secured to meet continuing demand. The new warehouse will create 15 jobs for local people, and Penelope will be increasing office staff numbers from 60 to 75 in the coming months.

“Such unparalleled growth is not only good for the company, but for our staff – none of whom were lost during COVID-19 – and the local community.

The prospect of creating new jobs at a time of increased unemployment is very satisfying,” says Penelope, who sacrificed two months of salary herself at the beginning of lockdown to ensure all employees would be well taken care of.

Penelope’s efforts have been recognised this year, after winning at the Global Excellence Awards in the Outstanding Entrepreneur category, and again, at the Best Business Awards, where she received the accolade for Outstanding Female Entrepreneur. Last month, she was nominated for Best Business Woman in Hair & Beauty category at The Best Business Women Awards 2020.

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