Entrepreneurial hairdresser celebrates her salon’s 10th anniversary

Dereham business Rouge Et Noir is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Pictured is owner Jane Rice-Smit

Dereham business Rouge Et Noir is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Pictured is owner Jane Rice-Smith. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Thousands of cuts, highlights and blowdrys later, a hairdressing salon in Dereham is celebrating 10 successful years of business this Saturday.

The Parisian-themed salon called Rouge Et Noir, adorned with black and white photos of Audrey Hepburn and thickly-framed mirrors, is a favourite among locals. The shop is often buzzing with customers and packed with daily appointments.

For owner Jane Rice-Smith, the salon's services are just as important as the intimate atmosphere.

'I'd like to think people like my salon because it's warm and friendly - I want there to be a sense of old-fashioned courtesy. Everyone is served a cup of coffee and it's an uplifting environment. I want people to go away feeling happy,' she said.

The hairdresser, originally from Attleburough, is certainly no stranger to running her own business.

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At the young age of 18, she was promoted from an apprenticeship position at a salon to running the shop after her boss retired. She also ran another successful hairdressing business in Norwich before moving north. Now, with roughly 45 years of experience under her belt, she has become one of the go-to hairdressers in Dereham.

'I had a passion for this right from the start. In a way hairdressing has kept me young, many people my age would be at home knitting and instead I'm here working five days a week, sometimes for 12 hours straight. In this shop I feel I've come alive and expanded my life,' she said.

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The salon has managed to remain successful despite many local businesses shutting their doors for good over the past year. In 2015 the Dereham Times and Dereham Business Forum launched their 'Dig Deep for Dereham' campaign to promote the growth of more independent shops and services. Ms Rice-Smith is determined to keep her business afloat and maintain the local vibrancy of the city.

'I credit 10 years of successful business to my customers and friends and I hope to have another 10 years ahead of me,' she said.

The shop has become somewhat of a family business, with Ms Rice-Smith's daughter running the second floor herself. For anyone thinking of starting their own local business and family tradition, Ms Rice-Smith is full of encouraging sentiment.

'You can do it. Many people don't know if they should dare to do it, but my confidence and drive have only increased after starting my business. My advice would be to take the gamble and take that risk,' she said.

The 10-year celebration festivities, complete with champagne and nibbles, will be held at the salon on Norwich Street this Saturday from 9am to 3pm. Both old and new customers are welcome.

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