A 21-year-old barber from Swansea who opened his own salon only three months ago following support from Wales’ entrepreneurship service Big Ideas Wales, has had such a successful launch he is already planning to open another branch.
Jonny Hanford opened Jonny Blades in Morriston after several years of hairdressing and barber training and is already attracting high profile clients to the salon including Swansea City footballers Kees De Boer and Brandon Cooper.
Such is the success of Jonny Blades since opening, the young entrepreneur is now taking on two apprentices to cope with the demand and add to his current team of three barbers.
"I wanted to diversify the business from the start to ensure we’re offering a range of services to suit different customers."
As well as haircuts, Jonny Blades offers services including hot towel shaves, men’s waxing and threading, facial treatments and sunbeds, which Jonny believes has contributed to the success of the business in only a few months of being open.
He said: “We’ve been unbelievably busy since the very first day we opened, which has been really incredible. I wanted to diversify the business from the start to ensure we’re offering a range of services to suit different customers.
“I’ve been able to turn my passion of hairdressing into my own business which has been an ambition of mine for some time. I worked hard to train in both men’s and women’s cuts but felt opening my own barbershop would be a great challenge and one I’m really happy I took on.”
Jonny started his business with the help of Big Ideas Wales, the youth entrepreneurship service in Wales. Big Ideas Wales is part of Business Wales and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The service is aimed at anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea.
Jonny first heard about Big Ideas Wales through Instagram and he contacted the service for some advice on setting up the business and to see what support he could receive.
"Big Ideas Wales has been a great help, especially my business advisor Miranda Thomas, who supported me through the process of setting up the barbershop. It’s a scary experience to open your own business but knowing I have the support of Big Ideas Wales made it easier."
Talking about the service Jonny said: “Big Ideas Wales has been a great help, especially my business advisor Miranda Thomas, who supported me through the process of setting up the barbershop. It’s a scary experience to open your own business but knowing I have the support of Big Ideas Wales made it easier. Between this and several business courses I’ve attended, I’ve developed a better understanding of business owning and it’s made me feel more confident with the whole process.”
Jonny has recently been shortlisted for a Wales Start-Up Award in the Consumer Services Start-Up of the Year category, with the ceremony taking place in September. Jonny has also been asked back to WBTA (Work Based Training Agency) where he trained himself to pass on his skills and experience to his peers who are hoping to follow in his footsteps and train in hairdressing or barbering.
Jonny’s sights are firmly set on expanding Jonny Blades across various locations and he’s already started looking at opening a second branch in Swansea soon.
He said: “My ultimate dream would be to franchise Jonny Blades across the UK, but for now my attention is focused towards growing the business locally and giving back to the community. I’ve also sponsored Morriston Youth Football Club and at Christmas time I’m planning to give out free haircuts to those who may need one but can’t afford it.”
Miranda Thomas, Big Ideas Wales business advisor, said: “Jonny is a hardworking young person who has made a great success of his business over a very short space of time. I’m confident his ambition and business acumen will see Jonny Blades continue to be a success for years to come and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for him.”