What has changed in 40 years of hairdressing?
PUBLISHED: 17:06 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 03 December 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
Hairstyles have changed a lot in 40 years, but the woman behind the oldest hair salon in Wymondham said the secret to keeping clients happy had stayed the same.
Friday, December 6 will mark 40 years since Mary Ford took over Marolas hair salon on Fairland Street, Wymondham.
The then 30-year-old had been working for the salon's previous owner, Betty Mann, for four years, and said she was ready to take on a new challenge.
Back then, Mrs Ford said heated rollers and perms were the number one requested service and that, although this had transitioned into pixie crops, undercuts and zany colour jobs, fashion always would always end up repeating itself.
As well as keeping up with trends, the salon owner said a hairdresser's ability to listen was almost as important as their chopping skills.
She said: "Ladies who had their hair cut with us in the 1970s now bring their grandchildren in. You get to know them, get to know their families. Sometimes I think we hear more about their lives than anyone else, because we're a neutral ear."
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Lesley Bates, who has worked at Marolas for more than 30 years, said everyone in the team was "treated equally, regardless of their experience level".
She added: "It's a great atmosphere here. The kettle is always on, although you rarely have time to finish your cup of tea."
Like most businesses, surviving the declining high street has not always been easy for Marolas.
She said: "Wymondham has changed a lot. Shops come and go, like all towns. It hasn't been easy to keep going."
According to the team, fostering good client relationships was the secret to its survival.
Mrs Ford has customers in their 80s, who have been seeing the stylist since the 1960s.
She said: "I would miss it if I ever stopped. It gives you a reason to get up in the morning. I hope the salon carries on after I'm gone."
On Friday the Marolas team will open its doors for people to pop in for a slice of birthday cake, and will be collecting for the Pabulum Dementia Café in Wymondham.