HAIR stylists made redundant after a town salons closure have banded together to open their own new salon.

Blossom and Crown, on Church Street in Shildon, County Durham, opened its doors for the first time on Saturday.

Owners and stylists Charlotte Stainsby-Manners and Nicola Hutchinson had bought the property in 2019, and after being made redundant from the permanently closed Elite Hair and Beauty, in Bishop Auckland, the two were spurred on to open the new salon sooner.

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Together the business partners have taken on two other stylists from Elite - Gabrielle Smith, who worked there for 11 years, and Carly Twin, who worked there for eight years.

Mrs Stainsby-Manners, who worked at Elite for 11 years, said: “We bought the property last year just to do up in our own leisure basically, but since then during corona we have been made redundant from Elite Hair and Beauty.

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“Obviously we’ve been working around the clock to get the new salon open because we weren’t planning to open it until later in the year.

“It’s all been full steam ahead really - we're really excited that the four of us from Elite are going to be working here now.”

Miss Hutchinson, who was at Elite for 22 years, added: “Onwards and upwards from here, we want to take the hair dressing to another level now, with lots of training, new courses, and new products.”

Mrs Stainsby-Manners added: “We plan to have another salon on the second floor, which is going to be more for bridal boutique, and the room will be available for hire for bridal parties, just something a little bit more personal and different for a smaller town environment.

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“At the other end of the second floor we’re going to have some beauty rooms, so hopefully in sort of two months we’ll be looking for some beauticians and just to grow really.”

She added: “We’ve done all the work ourselves alongside our partners, so all of the renovation has been done by the four of us.

“Every wall that’s been put in and every mirror that’s been hung has been done by us.”

On the challenges of Covid-19, Miss Hutchinson said: “We just hope we can make the salon a nice, welcoming environment to make people feel better in a bad circumstance.

“Everything’s in place for Covid-19 rules - hand sanitiser and social distancing, just to ensure people feel safe during their time here, that’s a priority - loyal clients now have a place to go since Elite has closed.”

On Elite’s closure, Mrs Stainsby-Manners said: “It is very sad, especially with Nicola being there since she left school 22 years ago.

“We’ve had tears, it is sad, but we’re definitely ready to move on now.”