A well-known Coventry hairstylist has gone solo to set up her own salon, with a touching nod to her late father. Katie Mills opened her salon, Mills Hair, in December 2021.
She opened the salon in Styvechale just five months after losing her father Frank. Katie used to work at Grants Hairdressing in Earlsdon, but she always dreamed of starting her own shop.
And she said the loss of her father, who had always encouraged her to get away on her own, drove her to start the new business. With her surname on the storefront, she said it was a fitting legacy for the man who encouraged her to pursue her dreams.
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Katie, 29, who has been doing hair in the city since she was 16, told CoventryLive: “It’s been really good, I’m proud of myself. I love how all my clients have helped me every along the way and I feel like they are a part of them as well.”
The living room has a light and airy interior with plants, plush chairs and artwork, including a print saying “To be Frank”, as a nod to his father. Katie has built a clientele of around 200 and says she wants her salon to be a community they can all enjoy.
“I want everyone to come through the doors, everyone wants to interfere, whatever needs to be done, they are always there to help me. I feel like it’s because my dad doesn’t It’s not there anymore, they know I would have had it helped and all that, so it’s good that I can lean on them,” she said.
A hairstylist for 13 years, Katie remembers the moment she knew she wanted her own salon. She explained: “During lockdown, because I didn’t do my hair for so long, I just thought why not do it. Also, I sadly lost my dad on July 13th, he still had it. used to say ‘when are you going to open your new salon? So I just did it for his legacy, really.”
And she came across her future premises during a walk: “Shortly after my father passed away, we were outside a lot. I had some free time,” she said . “We walked past it one day and we always knew [the salon] was there when we moved here, but walked past to see it was empty.
“It was actually Rob, my partner, he started digging a bit, found out the lease was up for renewal and found the previous landlord, and the rest is history. Mills is obviously [my dad’s] last name too, I just wanted it to make it feel like it was there. He always said to me, ‘Are you going to train me to be a barber?’ He always wanted it to be a family place. He really liked me being a hairdresser, I know he would be proud.”
And what would her father Frank say if he walked into her living room now? “Oh he would love that, I don’t think he would ever leave!” If there were marks on the wall, he would be there painting, and anything that needed fixing, all my plants, he would keep them alive! »
Katie said she sees herself staying in the salon for the foreseeable future, with the aim of recruiting more staff, and one day aiming for another branch of Mills Hair. Mills Hair Coventry is based at 56 Hexworthy Ave, Coventry CV3 6LT. Follow @millshaircoventry on Instagram for more.