Every day Kerry Anne Laing thanks her mum for being ‘so bad’ at doing her hair as a child.
For it was while watching her mum struggle to tie her hair up in a bobble for school that inspired Kerry Anne to take matters into her own hands.
“My mum was so bad with hair, she couldn’t put a bobble in my hair so if I wanted to look alright for school, in the days before straighteners, I had to do my own,” said Kerry Anne, 33, from Aberdeen.
“But my mum not being able to do my hair paid off in the long run because it’s turned into my career.
“I thank her every day for that and she’s like ‘oh I should’ve got better’, but she’s done me a huge favour.”
Religiously practicing elaborate up dos on her Barbie’s hair before modelling the look on herself, Kerry Anne was just 11-years-old when she was quite literally ‘headhunted’ to work at a local hair salon.
“At the time, I had put French braids in my hair and I was in the local shop buying sweeties when the local boss of a hair salon spotted me and asked who had done my hair,” said Kerry Anne.
“When I told her I styled my own hair, she offered my a job as a Saturday girl in her salon.”
A cut above
Quickly making waves in the industry, Kerry Anne was working as a wedding hairstylist by the age of 13, stepping in at the last minute to cover for another hairdresser who had called in sick.
“I begged to do that wedding and that’s how it came about,” said Kerry Anne.
“When you’re that young you don’t feel nerves or anxiety, nothing that you feel as an adult.
“I just knew that this girl needed her hair done and I could do it.”
Mum and entrepreneur
After taking some time out to work in the oil and gas industry, Kerry Anne, who is mum to Layne, 11 months and Cole, nine, followed both her head and her heart by setting up her own business Kerry Anne Bridal Hair and opened her own salon Hype Blowdry Bar in Aberdeen’s Marischal Street.
Over 700 wedding hair styles – and countless cans of hairspray – later, Kerry Anne’s love of hair is stronger than ever as is her sense of pride at being trusted to be part of a couple’s big day.
“I can’t sleep the night before a wedding and next year will be 10 years since I set up my business,” said Kerry Anne.
“I still get butterflies for them as it’s such a huge honour to be part of their special day.
“As well as doing their hair, I’m there to help dress them, put their shoes on, put tape on them, there’s nothing I won’t do to get them ready on time.”
Friends for life
With her calm, bubbly and motherly persona, it’s no surprise that Kerry Anne has made lifelong friends with the brides she has worked with.
“When I first opened the shop three years ago, I had brides popping in who I hadn’t seen in years with their kids and babies.
“It blows my mind that they didn’t have babies the last time that I saw them and they still put business my way.”
Juggling the salon, where she books in cut and colours, with her bridal hair business and being a mum, instead of feeling worn out, Kerry Anne is thriving.
“I used to suffer quite bad with my anxiety but hair was an escape for me,” said Kerry Anne.
“For me getting right into hair just helps me switch off as I’m right in the zone so it’s done as many favours for me as I’ve done for other people.
“It’s totally helped my anxiety.
“See if there’s so much going on and you’ve got loads to do, as soon as you rock up to a wedding and you’re in the zone, you forget everything, it’s mind blowing.”
Kerry Anne is also heartened by the sense of community which is deeply rooted in Aberdeen hair industry.
“I like to think that I’m part of a generation that’s trying to grow each other,” said Kerry Anne.
“Even the local hairdressers, we support each other and it’s such a nice feeling.”
In the years to come, Kerry Anne has her sights on recruiting a young apprentice she knows very well.
“My son Cole is a great help as there’s been a few times when he’s had to rock up to work with me but he’s such a superstar, he’s so good,” said Kerry Anne.
“He’s not really interested in hair but I hope one day he changes his mind as having a mini me would be fantastic.”