A History of The Lounge Hair & Beauty Salon, London
From Cyprus to SE16
The story of the humble
beginnings of Onay and The Loungettes...
My Mum & Dad arrived in the UK from Northern Cyprus way
back in the 1960’s to start their new beginnings and to
work hard and strive for a better life.
Mum was a
dressmaker and seamstress and my Dad was a Traditional
barber. He started barbering in the army with Buzz
cutting and shaving.
When they first arrived in
London they came and lived here in Bermondsey with my
father working in a Barber shop in New Cross.
After a few years they decided to move to Walthamstow in
East London, where they found a great opportunity to buy
a house with a Barber shop at the front.
time there were only my father and another Baber shop in
the whole area, so there was hardly any competition.
In contrast decades on, there are at least 20 plus
barber shops within the area yet my dad is still working
hard in his barber shop.
He’s seen 3 to 4
generations grow up, he truly is like “The Godfather of
Walthamstow- known as Mr Hasan”
After a few
years there was a little bundle of joy known as “ONAY
(ME)” that came along.
As I was growing up I would
help my dad in his shop by sweeping hair and helping in
his salon earning my pocket money.
My dad to
this day has a very strong work ethic and I can truly
say I have learned a lot from him.
As the years
went on I wanted to find myself a Saturday job just for
I happened to find a great Saturday
job in Alan Paul, Baker Street when I was just 14 years
old and became an Assistant in the Hair & Beauty salon.
As time went on I was given the opportunity to
attend their “Training Nights” but I didn’t realise at
the time the opportunity I had been provided; to be at
school finishing my GCSE’s and also being trained.
After completing my GCSE’s (which were not great
results) the salon gave me an Apprenticeship to train as
So I started training extremely early
and I qualified as a Stylist by the time I was just
I built up my experience for another
2 years then sadly, and suddenly, the company went into
receivership and we all lost our jobs.
I felt I
was in a very lucky position because my original Tutor
offered me a Stylist’s position within her company in
I was there for around 9 Years and my
manageress Mel was fantastic to work with and really
helped with my career.
During this time I gained
a lot of experience and also I was given an opportunity
for a 3 month sabbatical. So in 1997 I travelled to
Australia, backpacking all by my lonesome.
months of traveling changed me as a person and I gained
so much in life experience.
After this period I went
back to the salon and continued as a Stylist. After a
while I felt the need to start my own company and find a
salon to create my own business.
It took me took
around 2 years to find the ideal location.
Finally I found a GREAT opportunity in an area called
Bermondsey way back in 2000.
What a coincidence in
that 50 YEARS previously, this was the area my Parents
initially lived and also met
Since 2000, times
have really changed and gentrification has really played
a big part of the area.
I have a great team-
actually more like a salon family- where my core staff
have worked with me since they were Saturday assistants
until now where they have a great number of years of
I feel extremely proud and lucky to
have my team, actually also known as “The Loungettes”