Back to top

There’s no need to guess why salon owners Tanya Tickle & Lorna Whybrow called their salon ‘Phoenix Hair’.

The salon, on Huntingdon High Street, rose from the ashes left by the former owners of the business who went bankrupt. Tanya and Lorna had worked at the salon and so had been made redundant. Both highly experienced hair technicians and stylists, they managed to take over the property, completely refurbishing it and Phoenix Hair was born! More than 12 years later, Phoenix Hair, still with Tanya and Lorna at the helm, continues to thrive successfully.

Like so many high street salons, Phoenix Hair faces a lot of competition. There are several other salons in the same street, and increasing numbers of freelancers and mobile hair professionals all looking to carve out a living in these challenging times. Tanya attributes Phoenix’s continued success to concentrating on quality. “We’re committed to delivering the highest levels of service,” she says. “We’re very friendly, very professional and we’re very careful to look after our clients at every step of their experience with us, whatever the service we’re providing.”

The 13-strong team at Phoenix Hair offer a range of services, including colour, hair treatments and hair extensions, and operate a successful client loyalty scheme. An important feature of the salon is their dedicated consultation room, where they can discuss hair loss issues and treatment strategies with clients in private.

It was during COVID that Tanya was first alerted to the benefits that Colourstart could offer their business. She’s part of a chat group of salon owners and one day, during lockdown, the discussion turned to testing for allergy. One group member knew Debbie Digby, salon owner and educator, whose salons use the Colourstart process. “I was intrigued,” Tanya recalls. “There’s so much confusion about testing in the industry, and among clients and insurers too. And we’d seen a significant increase in positive tests for allergy. If we were to be a safe place for clients when we reopened, this looked like our best option”. 

Tanya contacted the Colourstart team, sat in on a Colourstart introductory webinar, and decided it was for her. “I realised that this was going to save us time, and would be more flexible and convenient for our clients than using the manufacturers’ AAT.” The next step was to start talking to clients about Colourstart. “We spoke to clients, explained the system to them and helped them to sign up for their Passport. I’ll admit there were lots of phone calls, queries and follow-ups in the early stages as people got used to it. And there was some resistance because of the need to charge for the actual test,” Tanya remembers.

Now they’re finding that more and more clients are signing up for Colourstart, with around 60% of colour clients now on the system. “People now realise how convenient it is. They can colour when they want. No need to come to the salon 48 hours beforehand. No need to test again after the first time, provided nothing has changed. It’s just a one-off purchase, so the cost isn’t really an issue. And their Passport is portable.”

For Tanya and the Phoenix Hair salon team, the benefits of adopting Colourstart are also very clear: “We have fewer lost appointments, because we can track in advance whether clients are good to colour. It’s easier long-term for us, less paperwork, a real time-saver. If you’re a salon that prides itself on delivering high standards of service, if you want to be able to say to your clients ‘We Care’, then Colourstart is for you.”