WITH more than 30 years’ experience in the hair and beauty industry, the owners of Salon 89 in Orford have clearly mastered their trade.

Clare Darbyshire, who is 38, and 48-year-old Julie Roberts opened the business in May 2019 and through the Covid-19 pandemic treated their clients like movie stars, opening up the salon for one-to-one appointments when lockdowns ended.

Here, the co-owners tell us about their warm space amid the cost-of-living crisis and their plans to open a training academy to nurture the hairdressers of the future.

If you would like to appear in our Meet The Salon Owner feature, email heidi.summerfield@newsquest.co.uk

Salon 89 on West Avenue in Orford (2)

Salon 89 on West Avenue in Orford (2)

What’s the name of the salon?


What’s the address?

89 West Avenue


Warrington WA2 8BE

Are you the owner or manager?

We are the co-owners of Salon 89

When did you open the salon?

We opened in May 2019.

A transformation in style and colour

A transformation in style and colour

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

Clare: I’m a Warringtonian through and through and have lived here all my life. I went to William Beamont High School and I trained and worked in Warrington salons for more than 20 years.

Julie: I’m from Ashton-in-Makerfield. I initially started working at HSBC but completely retrained 10 years ago. I worked in a Warrington salon starting as an apprentice and then as a stylist.

How many employees do you have?

We currently have an apprentice - Ebony McKendrick - who has been with us since she was 16 years old. She is like one of the family and is a fast learner with some excellent hairdressing skills. She has an immense passion for hair colouring.

Tell me a bit about your salon/business. What do you do? What services do you provide?

The salon was established in May 2019. We had worked together for several years and we wanted the challenge of starting a business partnership. We have more than 30 years’ hairdressing and business experience and definitely work well together. We have the same high standards and we both believe that one brand does not fit all. We haven’t affiliated with just one colour or product range and we work using the ethos “best quality products at affordable prices, using what is right for the client”.

Classic bouncy waves

Classic bouncy waves

What do you do? What services do you provide?

Salon 89 is a vibrant and diverse salon offering all aspects of hairdressing services to everyone, including bespoke cutting techniques, creative colouring and perming and we also specialise in correctional work. We purely concentrate on hair services. We are continuously up skilling and keep up to date with all hair trends. We are very passionate about the profession and strive to learn new fashions in an ever-changing world.


Meet the hairdresser striving to be the ‘Crème de la Crème’

How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your business?

We opened the salon the year before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Fortunately, with good forward planning and financial diligence, we made it through the lockdowns. Like any businesses, when we reopened, we had to adapt. We changed our working practice to offer one-to-one appointments. Our clients enjoyed the movie star treatment, having the salon to themselves.

Bold colour options are available at Salon 89

Bold colour options are available at Salon 89

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

With the cost-of-living crisis hitting businesses all over the country, we have tried to offer alternatives so that we don’t have to increase our prices. We have introduced a condensed working week, opening Wednesday to Saturday and we work longer hours if necessary. We also offer creative colouring techniques that give the illusion of more coverage at a lower cost. We introduced an online booking system so our clients are in control of their appointments.

Why do loyal clients return to your business?

Salon 89 tries to help the local community whenever we can. We have collected tinned goods and other items for our local food bank and Helping Hands. We have also donated gift vouchers to charitable events. We offer a warm space for our customers and non customers alike, who are more than welcome to drop in even if it’s just for a warm drink and a chat. We welcome everyone and we feel that this is what keeps our loyal clients coming back.

The Orford salon has become a warm hub for customers and non-customers over the past few weeks

The Orford salon has become a warm hub for customers and non-customers over the past few weeks

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

Salon 89 is looking forward to the future. Ebony will graduate in May and will be a fully qualified stylist and she is actively growing her client base. Long term, we are hoping to become a training academy for hair stylists of the future.

Why did you decide to open your own salon?

What’s your hair and beauty background?

Why this type of business?