WHEN Alexandra Smith left school at 16 she could only dream of one day owning her own business.

But thanks to her passion and hard work, less than one decade later she is the proud owner of a barber’s.

The 25-year-old took over Sportsman Barber Shop, in Fishburn, near Sedgefield, in December and is set to reopen it after a two-week refurbishment which starts today.

Mrs Smith, of Hartlepool, said: “I did think of owning my own business but not this young.

"I’ve got so many ideas. I want to give it a bit of a city vibe.”

She trained initially at Saks in Hartlepool before moving onto Shapers in the town.

After five years working with women’s hair she considered swapping careers but instead got a job at Vanquish Hair and Beauty, in Wingate, where she was encouraged to sign up to a barber training course.

“I was a hairdresser when I left school,” said Mrs Smith.

“Four years ago I left the salon I worked in and thought I would have a career change and go to university to do nursing. "But I decided not to do it and went to to do a barber course at East Durham College.”

Mrs Smith developed a love for barbering and after completing her course took to Facebook to seek new learning experiences.

She posted on Barber Banter - a page set up by James Willcock, former owner of Sportsman Barber Shop who offered her an opportunity to work alongside him.

“James said come down and I spent four months watching,” she added.

“I didn’t have much confidence so I had to build that up. "James is a really good teacher and was showing my new ways of doing things and now I’m showing him.”

Mr Willcock offered Mrs Smith the chance to buy up the barber’s after she showed an interest in running her own business.

She hopes to offer men what she sees as the rare opportunity to pamper themselves.

On offer will be professional shaves, including a face mask, colouring, perming and nose and eyebrow waxing.