XO Hair & Beauty Academy - Open in Crewe

XO Hair & Beauty Academy

When Xavana Reddock and her business partner Zoe Hudson decided to apply for a grant from the council’s repurposing our high street scheme for their business XO Hair & Beauty Academy, the first step towards their future ambitions was in motion.

Xavana, 31, and Zoe, 34, had been looking for a way to find new premises to have their salon and when the opportunity came up to apply for the grant, they were quick to act. Xavana said: “Zoe and I had been working together for around six years at The Scrapyard Salon – another salon in Crewe – but finding the finance to fund our new venture was always the stumbling block. When I heard about the Repurposing our High Streets grant, I knew that Zoe and I had to go for it.”

Zoe and Xavana had been colleagues for a long time and setting up their salon had always been the goal, as Zoe explained: “Xavana and I have a strong bond and clear understanding of where we want to go with the salon – but getting your own space and setting a business up is tough, so the grant has been our lifeblood.

“I’ve dreamt of doing this since I was a little girl just starting up in my auntie’s salon. I’ve been hairdressing for 16 years and having my own place has always been the ambition. Thanks to the grant, we’ve achieved that now!

But as Zoe goes on to say, this is not the end but merely the beginning of the journey XO Hair is planning to go on. “Being successful with the grant application has enabled us to get a fantastic premises, which Xavana and I are thrilled with, but longer term we’re looking to develop a product range and develop into a luxury salon – really setting the benchmark in Crewe. It’s exciting thinking about it!

Xavana and Zoe moved into their new premises on Market Street in Crewe on Tuesday 2 May and are already making the most of their fantastic new space.

Xavana said: “There was a lot of work that needed to happen to enable us to move into the salon last month so we are gradually catching up with the appointments that we couldn’t make while the building works were taking place.

“But I’m so glad that Zoe and I have done it. It’s absolutely amazing where we are – all the work is definitely paying off now. I would recommend very highly that anyone who is thinking of applying for a Repurposing our High Streets grant should go ahead and do it. It wasn’t at all complicated to go through the paperwork and neither was it a particularly long process. Without the grant we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

Xavana is also hopeful that the move to a brand-new location for her fledgling business can be the inspiration for others to follow suit.

“Like so many businesses, we benefit from an increase in footfall, so the busier the town can be the better really. We’ve seen the positive changes that are happening around Crewe and hope that by others gaining access to these grants that the positive feeling of a growing business community just keeps increasing. We’re very happy to be a part of that.”

But there was also another powerful inspiration for Zoe and particularly Xavana to opening their salon which came from a tragic event as Xavana explains: “On New Year’s Eve, a year and a half ago,  my nephew Jamie Rees, who was a perfectly healthy 18-year-old, had a sudden cardiac arrest and died while out with friends. He hadn’t been drinking and had no underlying health problems.

“His friends tried to resuscitate him and did an amazing job but ultimately, I lost my nephew because there was no quick access to a defibrillator. After that awful experience, I vowed that if I got the chance to do something about it, I would. The grant has enabled me to do just that and from September this year, I plan to have training sessions in a room at the salon to train people to know what to do if they find themselves in a situation like Jamie’s friends did that tragic night.

Xavana is determined that more people will be trained to use defibrillators, so that lives are saved from cardiac arrests.

“Nothing can bring back Jamie but by having an open day at the salon once a month where we train people to understand how to use defibrillators, this will be a permanent reminder that his life has created something really positive. As he was such a positive person who brought so much joy to so many people’s lives, this is the least I could do for him and my sister.”

About the scheme