Hair Bears helps people with autism look forward to the hairdressers
Jessica Leach had long held an idea that she wanted to start her own business, and her dreams were realised through the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy.
Two and a half years after founding her business at the PJEA, her business, Hair Bears is going from strength to strength. Hair Bears is a sensory hairdressing service for children with autism or who may need additional help at the hairdressers.
Jessica was inspired by her experiences of visiting hair salons with her aunt, who has learning and physical disabilities. Most hairdressers didn’t know how to act around her aunt, who found the experience very stressful.
Hair Bears uses tried and tested methods to provide a personalised hairdressing service for its customers, who might otherwise find a trip to a hairdresser difficult or scary.
Jessica’s team visits children in their own homes and uses lights, music, smells and touch to make the hairdressing experience fun and comfortable. Many of the children who use Hair Bears are no longer nervous about salon visits, and some now find it easy to get their haircuts on the high street.
Alongside this business, Jessica runs another that offers a similar service to adults in their care homes – Hair Carers. She also provides training sessions for hair salons, so that businesses understand how to best meet the needs of customers with learning or physical disabilities.
Jessica said: “While I had no business experience, I always knew that I wanted to start my own business and give back to the community. The PJEA gave me the confidence to set my own goals and taught me the skills required to achieve them. It brought the expertise and the mentoring that I needed to get my business up and running. It has created a network of like-minded individuals that I can turn to for support and advice.”
Jessica’s businesses are extremely popular, and her list of customers is ever-growing. Her ambition is to continue to grow the business, and we wish her every success as she continues to change her customers’ lives.