Jamaica-born woman fulfils dream of opening hair salon in Derby

The 28-year-old specialises in cuts for men and women with afro hair

A Jamaica-born woman, who came to England at the age of nine, has fulfilled her dream of opening a hair salon in Derby.

Monique Murphy’s salon opened for the first time in Nightingale Road, Allenton earlier this month.

The 28-year-old specialises in cuts for men and women with afro hair, using techniques like braiding, box braiding, and weaving, which she started to learn from a young age.

Monique Murphy outside her new salon in Nightingale Road, Allenton (Image: @akmi.a)

Monique said: “Growing up in Jamaica, I was interested in hair and was always around people that braided hair as I loved to watch them as they styled their clients. I soon picked up the skill.

“I moved to England at the age of nine to live with my brother and sister-in-law. Soon after this I started to do hair for friends and family members.

“By the age of 13/14 it was time for me to choose my GCSE subjects. This same year, hair and beauty was added to the list of subject choices. I was so happy as I couldn’t think of anything else that I would enjoy.”

“Over the years I worked as a mobile hairdresser and also from home, until a few years ago when I had the opportunity to work in one of very few black-owned hair salons in the area.

“As an up and coming hairdresser I always dreamed of opening my own salon, especially because I noticed that the majority of salons in Derby didn’t cater to afro hair.

“Black women are often forced to leave Derby or find a family member or friend who can do their hair.

“I wanted to own a salon that can cater to all hair types, but in particular afro hair as all women deserve to have that salon experience and leave feeling beautiful,” Monique added.

After leaving school, Monique went to Nottingham College to do a course on afro hair.

Since leaving college, she has worked as a mobile hairdresser, relying on word of mouth to build up her client base.

On Saturday, September 5, her long-standing ambition of opening a salon came true when Monique Hair & Beauty opened its doors for the first time.

Hairdressers were able to reopen in early July after the Government eased its coronavirus lockdown restrictions, with a number of health and safety measures in place to keep customers safe.

Monique inside her new salon in Nightingale Road, Allenton (Image: @akmi.a)

Government guidance states that a face mask and a clear visor should be worn by the person providing the service, covering the face and providing a barrier between the wearer and the customer.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Monique says she did not want to wait any longer to fulfil her dream.

She said: “Although this has always been a dream of mine, so much has happened because of Covid-19 and getting the salon in the middle of the pandemic is a big risk.

“But I just didn’t want to leave it any longer because even more now we literally don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring or if it will even come.

“I want to say a massive thank you to all my lovely clients, family and friends that have supported me over the years, this wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for you all.”