Kensington based Salon owner Samina Irfan is very passionate about supporting and developing her local community, as well as the wider community. To fulfil this passion, she has opened La Femme, a hair & beauty salon which offers women a comfortable and private place to get pampered. The salon reaches out to women in deprived areas, as well as providing local students with the opportunity to develop their skills through placements and apprenticeships.
We spoke to Samina about her journey and reasons for opening La Femme shortly after the Salon opened it's doors. Here is what she had to say:
What is your business and what services do you provide?
“La Femme is a female only hair and beauty salon where women from all backgrounds are welcome. We provide a whole range of services including, threading, hair, nails, henna, massages, hot stones, makeup, wax, eye lash extensions and bridal make up."
“It’s been my dream to own my own business, I have always been able to see myself doing it and now I am. I’ve always felt there was a need for this type of place. I want to reach out to all women who want quality service in comfort and privacy but I felt that there was no particular place for them. I partly started this salon to first and foremost help out the local community, but also to reach the wider community as it is situated in the heart of a deprived area that needs and deserves support."
Once you had decided that you wanted to set up a business, what steps did you take to get the ball rolling and how did you feel?
“I knew it was something I really wanted to do, but I also knew I would need some support because I had never run my own business before. I came across The Women’s Organisation on the internet and it was just what I needed. I had appointments with business advisors who were so helpful and supported me throughout. I felt like they really believed in what I was doing and that was amazing.”
Did you face any barriers starting up?
“Apart from the struggle with finance, I have been really lucky throughout my journey. I looked at a few premises that were terrible, but then I found this one. I was visualising what it looked like from the moment I walked in and my friend thought I was crazy because of the state it was in at that time. With help from my friends and family, and a very supportive landlord, it is now a reality. The previous tenant had left the premises in a terrible state and I worked endlessly to turn it into a comfortable place for women to come. I am very happy.”
“I can cater for all beauty treatments in one roof. All my equipment is new because I didn’t want to compromise the quality of the service I provide. Also the fact that it is female only. When you close the door it’s just the comfort of the woman, a safe place where she can fully relax and I think that is really important.”
It’s clear you’re very passionate about helping the community, how do you feel you do this?
“I aim to reach more people with less money. It’s important to support the community and I will always try my hardest to give the best quality service for them, regardless of price. I’ve offered apprenticeships and placements to Liverpool Community College students of Level 3 hairdressing. It’s important to help people develop their skills and give them a good environment to grow. It’s all about giving something back to the community and creating the right personality for La Femme.’’
How are things going with your business?
“It’s been non-stop! I have had back to back appointments booked since opening. It doesn’t feel like I recently started up! I’m so humbled by the response, it’s amazing and I certainly wasn’t expecting it. The locals have really gotten behind the business and are spreading the word, reaching across to other communities.”
Do you have any words of advice for women who are considering starting a business?
“Be persistent. Things don’t always happen overnight but if you keep at it, and genuinely believe in what you are doing, then it will happen. I would also tell them to go and get support from The Women’sOrganisation and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I would just like to say that I am very grateful for all the support from my friends, family, staff of The Women’s Organisation, my landlord and the community. Things are going really well and I’m looking forward to where my journey will take me next.
If you would like to book an appointment with Samina or would like to know more about La Femme, call 0151 378 1987 or 07825995010 You can also visit, www.lafemmehairandbeautysalon.co.uk or follow on twitter @saminaIrfan3