'I'm not going anywhere' - hairdresser's bid to keep people smiling 22 years on

Doddington hairdresser speaks ahead of reopening after lockdown

Tessa Davies has been working in the hairdressing industry for 35 years, and is confident she will continue going strong at her Doddington salon. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Balloons are up, a multi-coloured décor installed, and her bubbly welcoming smile remains intact as Tessa Davies prepares to re-open her hair salon on April 12. 

“To be honest, I don’t think anyone has ever been through something like this before; it's very hard, but you have to adapt,” Tessa said. 

As Tessa celebrates 22 years in business, she is longing to get back to work and to keep her customers leaving her salon with smiles on their faces.  

“There’s a saying I’ve got on my shop wall - ‘come in as a customer, leave as a friend’,” she said.   

“I make everyone welcome; I listen, I do what people want and I always suggest what they might want.”  

Tessa opened her salon in Doddington on March 22, 1999 and regrets not being able to mark the anniversary with family, friends and customers.  

A third national lockdown meant Tessa had to shut her doors once again, but this has not stopped her from trying to lift spirits.  

Doddington hairdresser prepares to reopen after lockdown

Tessa Davies opened her Doddington salon on March 22, 1999 and is planning to reopen on April 12. - Credit: Daniel Mason

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“As everyone knows, I love colours. I’m not a plain person, so I thought I'd bring colour back into the salon,” she said.  

“It makes them feel cheered up when they come in. It makes them feel better.”  

She admits the pandemic has been her toughest challenge in 35 years in the industry.  

Tessa is grateful for the financial support from Fenland District Council over the last 12 months.  

Doddington hairdresser marks 22 years in business

Anniversary balloons in the front window at Tessa Davies' hair salon in Doddington, marking her 22nd anniversary in business. - Credit: Daniel Mason

“The first lockdown was the hardest and you try to adapt to get your mind focussed on how you can sort it out financially,” Tessa said.  

“I was very upset, mentally as well. My son and daughter-in-law were worried about me; it was hard.”   

She has also tried to cheer residents up with stunts such as her Tina Turner impressions.  

It is that positive attitude that makes Tessa believe her business will continue to thrive.  

Doddington hair salon adapting to Covid-19 pandemic

Since reopening after the first lockdown in July, Tessa Davies has installed safety measures for customers, such as a screen and a QR code for customers to scan on arrival. - Credit: Daniel Mason

“Some people aren’t as loyal as they were years ago, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to try your best and make sure your door’s always open,” she said.  

“If it wasn’t for the customers, I don’t know what I would do. The support has been amazing. 

“I’m very strong-willed; I’m not going anywhere.” 

One year since the pandemic began, you can have your say on how Covid-19 has affected your life by taking part in our survey.