Abby and Karly Whittaker

How businesswomen Abby and Karly Whittaker made millions through hair up

Jemima Cousins

Abby and Karly Whittaker own 10 successful salons and two training academies in the SouthWest. After specialising in hair up styles, in 2017 they created Scrun - The hair accessory tool that creates up styles in seconds.

Tell us about your career and successes?

Wow, key successes that have been the pinnacle for us and for Scrun have got to be; winners of theBritish Hairdressing Award for Business for Training - This is when we knew we had a great skill for sharing knowledge and passing it on, which is why we wanted to teach hair up. We noticed a gap in the industry for hair up specialists, which eventually evolved into creating the Scrun. After that we wonMost Wanted Best Innovation Award for Scrun. We currently have Employer of Year forApprenticeships Award in Somerset. We’ve pretty much hit every big one from Creative Head, toSalon Business and we are currently finalist for 2019 hair products.

How did Scrun come about?

So we specialise in hair up because we found that hairdressers were shying away from doing hair up styles. People at home were also scared to try hair up styles. When we used to go to the Hair Up training sessions, we used to carry so much stuff and most of it didn’t work. We found the hair tools that had been specifically created for hair up styles worked for one bit but didn’t work for another bit?So we used to play around with shapes. We realised we liked the idea of a scrunchie and grips and thought, how can we merge it all together? Over time from doing our work and doing our own hair we took all the best elements from existing hair tools and added elements of speed and easiness, then we came up with The Scrun.

Did you fund this product yourself?

Yes, we did. We were in our mid 30’s and we had enough time to start something new. We made sacrifices and it cost double what we expected. If you don’t take calculated risks you will never move forward in business. To start a business and follow your dream costs money!

Your advice to other business start ups?

Take it in small steps and make sure you know what your end goal is! Starting a business can become quite confusing and daunting. When we first started the Scrun we initially designed it for hairdressers and wanted to see it in salons but actually it was consumers who wanted it more. So then, we realised we had something quite different. Then we changed courses and thought right, I want to see this in Boots on my local high street.

What’s your end goal?

Our main goal is to be able to make all hair styles easy at home, without the need to fork out for hairdressers.

What steps have you out in place to maintain growth?

For us it’s to always maintain opportunities in the industry. We do trade shows so we are constantly meeting and networking. There is a world of knowledge out there and we like to keep up. We have now implemented PR to take us to the next level and of course we take great care of customers and clients. Also, make sure you recruit the right candidates because they are the future.

Were you ever told no?

Yes! One supplier took 8 times to get them to stock our product. It was hard to not get disheartened but we knew it would work and so we kept trying and stayed positive. We got there in the end!

Abby and Karly’s 5 Top tip for business

  1. Be realistic, don’t set targets, just have and end goal.
  2. Get plenty of feedback and share with people you know and people you don’t know.
  3. Don’t get carried away and steer away from your focus.
  4. Be specific and hone in on exactly one thing.
  5. Focus on the positives and don’t let negatives set you back.

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