Vantrepreneurs: Laura Snellgrove, Tiny Salon

As part of our Vantrepreneur series, we spoke to Tiny Salon owner Laura Snellgrove about the challenges of launching a new business during coronavirus, bringing beauty to her clients’ doors and getting to grips with driving a van.

  1. Tell us about yourself and your business?
    I’m Laura Snellgrove, aged 30, and have been hairdressing for over eight years. Due to the coronavirus, I was trying to think of a way in which I could continue to work come July 4th but keep my clients safe.

    Tiny Salon is a mobile hair salon that myself and my boyfriend built over lockdown, I travel to my clients’ houses and offer the same services I was able to offer when I worked in a salon but with the added convenience of not having to leave home.

  2. What has been your experience of working through coronavirus?
    When I was able to open for business in July, I felt much more confident knowing that there would only be me and one client in the salon space at one time.

    The Tiny Salon has made it so much easier to keep on top of cleaning all surfaces that are touched between each household that I visit and making sure that all P.P.E requirements are met by everyone that enters the salon.

    My clients have given feedback that they feel much more relaxed as they didn’t have to travel anywhere to get to me and they have the place to themselves!

  3. What are your biggest challenges?
    The biggest challenge we faced while building the salon was that we only had one month to complete the build once we had found the right van!

    Alongside this, we had to very quickly figure out how everything was going to work and where to source all the internal workings of the salon, including the basin and electricity supply. My partner Christian is a highly skilled carpenter and so he easily made all the ideas I had come to life but figuring out the inner workings of a mobile salon in a van was a new challenge for both of us!

    Learning to drive a van in a very short space of time was also a slight challenge but I’ve quickly gotten used to it and absolutely love it now!

  4. What can you tell us about your van?
    I chose a VW Crafter Luton box van because I thought its box-like shape would be the easiest to convert into a salon space. It also has plenty of head room and extra storage in the bulkhead.

    The mileage was fairly low for a 2014 model and it had been a lease van beforehand, so I knew it had previously been serviced every year.

  5. What do you find most rewarding?
    The fact that my partner and I have built a business together is hugely rewarding in itself, but the fact that I’ve had such incredible feedback from all the clients that have used my Tiny Salon is such an incredible feeling.

    Making people feel good is a huge part of hairdressing but knowing that through this pandemic I can make them feel safe as well is great.

  6. What advice would you give to people considering launching a mobile business like yours?
    I would advise anyone wanting to set up a similar business, to go for it!

    It’s the best thing I’ve ever done! Consider carefully how you are going to make everything secure within the van while you are driving and choose your van wisely, you want it to last you a long time!

  7. Any plans to develop the business further?
    Yes! I am very much enjoying being back at work and driving around with just my clients to worry about for now, but I would like to franchise the business in the near future.

    Setting up the van is the most difficult part, so if I can provide the vans already kitted out for fellow stylists, it will allow them to enjoy the freedom of the mobile salon and provide their clients with a more luxurious mobile hairdressing experience.