A North Wales businessman has headed back to the classroom to brush up his hairdressing skills so he can work alongside his wife in their beauty salon.
Steve Roberts is even getting one-to-one training sessions on cutting and curling techniques from his wife Dawn at their salon, Phase 3 in Colwyn Bay.
The 36-year-old outdoor sports fan previously worked for an expedition company, recruiting young people for trekking and outdoor pursuits projects overseas.
Steve’s just gained his NVQ Level 2 in hairdressing and barbering at Coleg Llandrillo in Rhos on Sea, and has been appointed as an educator with Australian hair and beauty company Kevin Murphy, which also supplies all the environmentally-friendly and naturally-sourced products used by the team at Phase 3.
Steve and Dawn say the salon in Abergele Road is now going from strength to strength, with an increasing number of customers through the door for hair and beauty treatments from the eight-strong team of stylists.
They are now planning to expand the salon to offer even more services.
Steve said: “I initially studied outdoor recreation at Llandrillo college and worked in the adventure sector for a number of years, so re-training in hair styling was a big change for me. I go to college one day a week and Dawn is helping train me at Phase 3 – I’m learning so much from her.
“I’m finding hairdressing a real but fun challenge. I’m currently doing a lot of colour styling and watching Dawn and the other stylists, to learn from them every day.
“I want to specialise in barbering eventually but I want a real grounding and have knowledge of everything to do with the business.”
Steve, who lives in Rhos on Sea with Dawn and their three children Tesni, 11, Celi, eight and Poppi, three, added: “My career, up to this point, has been theoretical so to engage in a practical and creative job has been a massive breath of fresh air.
“Lots of people think it’s easy but it isn’t. It takes a couple of years to learn hairdressing but a lifetime to master all the skills.”
Steve will now spend two days a month working as an educator for internationally-renowned company Kevin Murphy. It was founded by hair stylist Kevin, who trained with Vidal Sasson in London before carving out his own career, working with catwalk models on publications such as Vogue.
Steve said: “Phase 3 is a Kevin Murphy Session Salon – we only use their products as they are suitable for use by vegan clients, contain natural ingredients sourced from the harshest environments to benefit all hair types, are not tested on animals nor do they have ingredients that come from animals. That’s important, particularly for Dawn.
“We want to see Phase 3 really grow and working with Dawn, and the team she has built around her, is fantastic. We are going from strength to strength and expanding very soon.
“Dawn spends a huge amount of time promoting the business and looking at the salon’s interior design. Her window displays are really artistic and really help give the salon a unique atmosphere.
“There are a lot of great hairdressers out there and a lot of talent in Colwyn Bay. Our task is to make Phase 3 stand out from the crowd.
“I think clients walk in the salon because it looks aesthetically pleasing, but come back be- cause of the atmosphere, the talent of the stylists and the personality of the team in general.”
Dawn Roberts says training Steve is a labour of love and there is never an issue when it comes to who is in charge on the floor of the salon.
She said: “It’s been a massive career change for Steve, who is over the moon that he has just qualified.
“We will then continue with training days where he continues to learn and develop working alongside me. It’s actually quite good, as it’s the only time we get to see each other properly!
“I’m really pleased with how Phase 3 is going. It’s my third salon in the Colwyn Bay area but the biggest by far. There is Steve, myself and I rent out chairs to stylists who are all self-employed.
“It’s a system that works well. They have to prove they are not only good enough but that they will fit into the team before they work here. That’s vitally important for me. I also spend a lot of time on the salon’s interior decor.
“I like a rustic and botanical look and want clients to feel at home from the second they walk in through the salon door.
She added: “I’m also pleased Steve is going to spending two days a month working with Kevin Murphy Hair and Beauty Products as an educator.
“We actually have quite a few vegans who come to Phase 3 as it’s one of the few places that only use products that are suitable for their beliefs.
“I’m not vegan but I am a vegetarian. It means a lot to me that the products we use are not tested on animals or contain animal ingredients.”
Among those supporting the along is Anna Openshaw, project manager for Colwyn BID, the business regeneration group tasked with boosting trade in Colwyn Bay, Rhos on Sea, Old Colwyn and Mochdre.
She said: “I’m delighted Phase 3 is doing so well. Dawn and Steve, working together as a team, bring a great deal to the business offer of the town. Both of them are from the area and are passionate about the town.
“Phase 3 is proof we have excellent hair and beauty salons right here in Colwyn Bay. And I think it’s important they are using ethical hair and beauty products that have not been tested on nor contain animal products.
“I wish Dawn, Steve and all the crew at Phase 3 every success as they look to expand in the months and years ahead.”