Cardiff-based, Goji Hair is celebrating their first year in business after being named best hair salon at the Cardiff Life Awards. The salon, headed up by Greg James, opened its doors in May 2015 thanks in part to a start up loan of just over £7,000. Greg and business partner, Vicky Griffin, received support from Business in Focus – an official delivery partner of the Start Up Loans Company – to complete a successful loan application. The Start Up Loans scheme offers low interest personal loans to help start new businesses, or for businesses under two years old which need funding.
The pair had known each other for around six years, in both professional and personal capacities – Vicky was a client of Greg’s and, through her work at a publishing company, they had collaborated on bridal and fashion magazine shoots and shows. At the end of 2013, Vicky was made redundant and started her own marketing company, Bluebell Media. When she found out that Kamigata, where Greg was Creative Director, had closed suddenly at the start of 2015, she knew that her marketing background and experience of owning a business, teamed with Greg’s creative flair and loyal client base, was the formula for a successful business.
Goji – which reflects the salon’s use of natural, organic products – came to life in just three months. After initial discussions in February 2015, Greg and Vicky quickly secured premises in Pontcanna Mews and, based on a recommendation from one of Greg’s clients, contacted Business in Focus. Vicky said,
“We knew that having strong business plans and finances were a vital part of the process. Everything happened pretty quickly and thanks to our advisor, Brian Roberts, at Business in Focus, we successfully applied for a £7,400 start up loan. The unit we had moved into was a blank canvas, so the loan allowed us to work with a local interior design company who helped us make the most of a small space, whilst creating a relaxed and indulgent atmosphere.”
The salon has already exceeded targets, with turnover 100% up on forecasts. Year 2 projections included the addition of a second stylist, however Greg and Vicky realised after just six months of trading that they needed to take the step sooner. Once again, they turned to Business in Focus and successfully applied for a Funding for Growth grant. Vicky explained,
“We knew that the cost of employing a second stylist would not be recovered through increased revenue immediately, but waiting until our second year was a real barrier to growth. The grant meant that we could grow the business earlier than planned without the worry of higher costs.”
Goji’s growth and success were recognised earlier this month when they were awarded the title Best Hair Salon in the Cardiff Life Awards. The awards received more than 200 entries and Goji beat off competition from three other finalists to scoop the award. Judges commented on how the business had created something different with their natural yet indulgent products and surroundings. They were particularly impressed with the growth that Goji has already experienced and their incomparable client satisfaction illustrated through a vast number of five-star reviews on their Facebook page.
The business now employs six staff, having recently taken on a further part-time specialist stylist for their dedicated children’s salon which operates on alternate Sundays. Goji Junior provides a family-friendly environment, catering for 0-16 year olds, where parents don’t need to worry about small children exploring the salon. There are booster seats, an iPad to keep the young clients entertained and bookings are appointment-only to minimise waiting. Future plans include a move to larger premises, where beauty treatments can also be offered.
For more details about Start Up Loans and to discuss your eligibility, contact Business in Focus on 0870 950 9090 or email: [email protected].
Visit Goji at No.6 Pontcanna Mews, 200 Kings Road, Cardiff or book an appointment online at www.gojihair.com.