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In The Spotlight With Janice Auton From Poppys Hairdressing

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Tell us about your role at Poppys Hairdressing

I work on my business not in it. Using systems and empowering my teams in Stockton and Hartlepool

A great haircut or colour comes as expected in the great salons across the UK nowadays with training the best it has ever been. If I was to concentrate on the other ‘stuff’ I needed to pass the hands on training to someone who I have trained and trusted.

Vicki Murray joined Poppys in the summer of 1989 as a school leaver and I am thrilled to work by her side as a director within the Poppys Hairdressing group since 2003.


How did the business start?

In 1988 the realisation that to move away from the North East with two young sons and no family support to start a well-known regional hairdressing franchise, with a husband working away in the oil and gas industry, was just impractical. So I purchased my first salon in Billingham respecting my radius clause in my contract. Within 2 years the second salon was open in Silver Court off Silver Street in Stockton.


What are the biggest challenges to your business?

Poppys Hairdressing’s duty of care to our clients and skin patch testing clients before colouring their hair in accordance with individual manufacturer’s guidelines.

These days we want what we want now. The manufacturer’s instructions to skin patch testing clients before colour have impacted hugely on our potential turnover. Clients request an ‘on the day’ cut & colour and we constantly turn away clients who are unaware of these guidelines and have not followed the pre colour skin patch test and see it as a ‘Poppys Hairdressing’ request when in fact it is a manufacturer’s and insurer’s request.


What are your biggest achievements for the business?

I believe my biggest achievement is celebrating 28 years in business through some very difficult economic times by embracing change and empowering my team.


What did you want to be when you were at school?

To work in a bank but I couldn't control my natural creative talents or add up very well.


What was your first job?

Trainee window dresser in Debenhams, Stockton where I lasted about a year then onto the wonderful world of hair as an apprentice at Binns Hair Salon in Middlesbrough.


What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

What can be better than making people feel and look fabulous every day? 

Likewise, I am thrilled to be one of the founders of The Foundation of Women in Enterprise which is run by businesswomen for businesswomen. We are all committed to giving something back to other women who are just starting out in business or who are looking to grow their businesses and connect with other like-minded women. 

What do you love most about working in the North East?

Although I was born in Darlington I lived in the South for most of my school years returning to the North East I appreciated the hand of friendship and if you ask for help, it’s there.

What do you love most about living in the North East?

Within minutes you are near the sea, in a beautiful scenic area of the UK which has a strong community spirit with a historical integrity.

What do you do in your down time away from the office?

I like to chill at home with my hubby and Belle our English Bull Terrier. I love it when family arrive. For the past 11 years once a month having dinner and organising with some special ladies a  ‘North East Ladies Day’ We  support North East charities by inviting 500 ladies for lunch. Nicki Chapman is our speaker this year. We regularly raise £20k in one day. 

What’s your number one piece of advice for anyone in business?

Know your numbers; be transparent with an open door policy


Well at least she tried!


Would you like to take part in our 'In The Spotlight' series? If you think you stand out from the crowd please email us with the following information:

Your full name, the business or charity in which you are involved and why you would like to take part.

If selected we will be in touch to interview.