KATHRYN Carney was just 15 when she completed her Great Sankey High School work experience in a Warrington salon and she knew then that hairdressing was the career for her.

Now, the 40-year-old mum-of-three, who lives in Westbrook, has a successful salon in Widnes - Creme de la Crème Hair Boutique - where she employs a talented team of hairdressers and beauty therapists and trains the next generation of young people hoping to make a name for themselves in the hair industry.

Here, in our Meet The Salon Owner feature, Kathryn shares how she started her own business and what her plans are for another successful year.

Creme de la Crème Hair Boutique owner Kathryn Carney

Creme de la Crème Hair Boutique owner Kathryn Carney

What’s the name of the salon/business?

Creme de la Crème Hair Boutique

What’s the address?

Widnes Indoor Market Hall, Bradley Way, Widnes WA8 6UE

Are you the owner/manager?

I’m the owner and manager. My assistant manager Leah Buckley has worked for me for almost eight years.

How many employees do you have?

I have four employees and four college students.

Before and after shots of one of Kathryns clients

Before and after shots of one of Kathryn's clients

When did you open the salon?

I opened in June 2015.

Has it always been in the same location?

The salon was originally in Warrington between 2014 and 2015. I moved to Widnes as the business where I was renting premises was closing and the place in Widnes was available. I took a risk by moving towns but it’s worked. I opened salon number two on Albert Road in Widnes but this closed towards the end of 2019.

Are you local to the area? Did you grow up here?

I live in Westbrook in Warrington but had shopped in Widnes for many years before opening the salon.

Tell me a bit about your salon/business

I put blood, sweat, tears and literally every hour possible into my salon. We are proud multi-award winners - currently Gold in Salon of the Year and Apprentice of the Year - and we have also won Customer Experience Award, Manager of the Year and Stylist of the Year. I work closely with Riverside College and employ, teach and train many of their students with voluntary placements introducing them to work at a young age as well as work experience, part time work and apprenticeships. We have a good strong team that specialises in many different areas of hair and beauty. All my staff are dedicated to their jobs and the industry as well as the salon and their careers and not forgetting our clients. We are always learning new services and products so we can keep up to date with current fashion and trends.

A bold colour choice

A bold colour choice


Meet the hairdresser giving customers a new-found confidence in her “salon with a view”

What do you do? What services do you provide?

We provide a service in every aspect of hair and beauty including hair extensions. We also specialise in weddings and events in the salon as well as travelling to venues in the north west.

Why did you decide to open your own salon?

It was something I had wanted to do for many years but being employed full time meant taking a huge step. I was made redundant from a job I loved so took the opportunity to start up my own business.

The talented team at Creme de la Crème Hair Boutique

The talented team at Creme de la Crème Hair Boutique

What’s your hair and beauty background?

I always wanted to be a hairdresser after doing my work experience in a salon in Warrington when I was in Year 10 at Great Sankey High School. I got a job as a Saturday girl and then got an apprenticeship when I left school.

I didn’t enjoy my apprenticeship for various reasons and I couldn’t see myself working in the hairdressing industry until I decided to go back to college in 2010 to complete further qualifications and beauty certificates. In 2020 I gained my level 3 in teaching and education.


The Warrington hairdresser giving customers a touch of Oz

How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your business?

We were open pre-pandemic and I found it very hard dealing with lockdowns. Although I enjoyed the time at home with my family I was worried about the business I had worked so hard to set up. It was a scary time for everyone. I kept in touch with all my clients through each lockdown and posted tips on self care and other treatments on social media that people could do at home. Our clients have supported us since day one and they all came back to the salon when we were allowed to reopen.

A transformation

A transformation

What makes your business different to others in the same area/field? What sets your business apart from your competitors?

There are very few salons that employ and create jobs for hairdressers and students. Training is hard and like a second full time job but I’ve met some fantastic hairdressers and been able to help and advise so many young, talented people over the years.

Why do loyal clients return to your business?

We really value our amazing client feedback. My stylists have great customer service skills and we always provide a warm welcome to anyone visiting the salon. My staff inform each client of what’s on offer and offer advise about how things might work for them.

What’s next? What do the next few months hold for you and your salon?

The salon was refurbished in November last year with new equipment stations and more space to products and services. We have lots planned for this year including more awards, competitions and events as well as even more training.