A regular customer to Artisan Hair House, I have always been inspired by Bobbie Mill’s dedication to pursuing an alternative route in hair care and styling.
Choosing to only use and stock Organic products, was a bold and risky move. Something that has paid off for Bobbie as she now boasts an overflowing client list and a bustling salon based in Burgess Hill.
I recently caught up with Bobbie to discuss the in’s and out’s of the job and why she chose to take her salon in this direction.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you did before you set up Artisan Hair House?
I had been a hairdresser for about six years before we set up Artisan. When I was at school I realised that I wanted to have a job that involved talking to people all day.. I knew I didn’t want to go to University and I knew I couldn’t work in an office all day long. I guess hairdressing became something that I naturally fell into because of my mum being a hairdresser.
Did you always know that you wanted to bring something completely different to the market?
I think to open up any hair salon in this day and age, you need to have a point of difference. From the moment we decided to set up the business we were looking at alternative options. It was actually my mum who found Organic Colour Systems, through having two very poorly clients. One was going through chemotherapy at the time and the other client was suffering with autoimmune problems. They were not allowed to have a “traditional” colour on their hair so they found Organic colour systems.
What were the initial reactions of people when you announced you were not going to be using the “traditional” methods of colouring hair?
I think that a few of our existing clients were definitely hesitant about using a new method of colouring hair as they wondered if it would work properly. But I think that overall, we didn’t realise what a calling there actually was in the area for a Vegan hair care brand, and something that was more natural for people. All of the core products in the OCS range are completely Vegan & Peta approved. And the system as a whole contains the highest amount of certified organic ingredients in permanent hair colour. ( Find out more here.)
In comparison, do you find that a lot of your clients who come to you now do so because of the products that you use?
We definitely have clients who travel to us from further afield specifically because of the products we use, but we also get a lot of clients who come to us because they are unwell, and are perhaps avoiding chemicals in their lifestyle. This could be due to chemotherapy, fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, avoiding the use of animal products or hair thinning for example.
You work with The Little Princess Trust, can you tell us a little bit more about this?
We have been very fortunate to have many clients that wanted to donate their hair in recent years. This has enabled us to build up a great repor with the charity, thanks to the generosity of our wonderful clients.
To go hand in hand with this my mum ( Debbie ) did a course in cutting wigs, with the charity “My New Hair”. This is also affiliated with The Little Princess Trust, but it was set up purely to train hairdressers in how to cut wigs, and to ensure that someone with a wig can go into a salon and get charged the same price as someone going in for a regular hair cut.
Even though it is a niche skillset, it means that people who are going to have a wig cut can have as normal experience as possible in a hair salon.
Give us one piece of advice for setting up or running a business.
Take it slowly. Always remember why you started, and try not to burn yourself out! Self-care is so important. If there is one thing I have learnt from working with hair, we are all living an extremely fast-paced lifestyle. Taking a minute to look after yourself can make such a difference to all the other elements of your life.