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Shop Local: Hornchurch salon owner celebrates 25 years in the business

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 November 2020

Kerry Larcher, left, with staff members Scott Dale and Jenni Mullett. Picture: Kerry Larcher

Kerry Larcher, left, with staff members Scott Dale and Jenni Mullett. Picture: Kerry Larcher

Kerry Larcher

A hairdressing salon is celebrating 25 years in the business after styling more than half a million haircuts.

The Vanilla Room opened in 1995. Picture:  Kerry LarcherThe Vanilla Room opened in 1995. Picture: Kerry Larcher

Now in Hornchurch High Street, the award-winning Vanilla Room salon welcomed its first customers to the original premises in North Street in 1995.

Owner Kerry Larcher has celebrated a quarter of a century in the business, having woven more than a million highlights and styled hair for over 25,000 Friday and Saturday nights out. The salon has even featured in The Only Way is Essex.

Kerry, who opened the business aged 21, said: “I’m addicted to hairdressing. I just want people to look and feel great about their hair.”

The salon has grown from a team of two to 46 and seen many changes, particularly over the last six months.

The salon as it looked in 1998. Picture:  Kerry LarcherThe salon as it looked in 1998. Picture: Kerry Larcher

The pandemic caused a 34 per cent drop in trade and the latest lockdown has put a planned celebration visit from Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez on hold.

Instead, Kerry and her team hold a virtual celebration and take a look back by sharing a selection of archive photos on Instagram.

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Recalling the early days, she said: “In 1995 the ‘Rachel Cut’ was the big thing and Geri Halliwell with her red hair and blonde highlights.”

The Vanilla Room as it looks now. Picture: Google MapsThe Vanilla Room as it looks now. Picture: Google Maps

“We didn’t have smart phones so people would come in with pictures of famous people. Now it’s Instagram.

“We would never have been able to create the rainbow colours we have now. Back then you were lucky with mahogany and aubergine.”

The 46-year-old puts her success down to her loyal customers who have continued to support the business throughout the pandemic.

Kerry said: “It’s been a challenge. We just did a week’s worth of work in three days but we are planning to be back.”

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Summing up the past 25 years she said: It’s been hard work but rewarding and it keeps me happy.”

Ms Lopez said: “Kerry [has] provided training and jobs to countless employees, won awards, served happy clients, and raised money for charity.

“As we try to move beyond the pandemic, it will be people like Kerry and her team who will help make communities smile and feel good again.”


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