Teenage dream becomes reality for new barbershop owner

Bobie Morland, owner and founder of Empire Barbers in Hellesdon.

Bobie Morland, owner and founder of Empire Barbers in Hellesdon. - Credit: Bobie Morland

A former regional account manager has followed her teenage passion and opened her first-ever business - a barbershop.

Bobie Morland from Norwich,  dreamed of going into hairdressing while she was at school, but ended up working for an engineer supplier.

But around three years ago she retrained and has, at last, become a barber.

She has just opened Empire Barbers on Reepham Road, Hellesdon, in the former Cycloservices bike repair workshop which closed at the of June.

Miss Morland, who has a 20-year-old daughter, said: "I had become a bit static in the role I was in before I became a barber. I didn't have the passion for it anymore. I was on holiday with my best friend and putting the world to rights and decided to retrain."

She added she was put off following her dream while at school and followed an alternative career path.

To fund the business she sold her Ford Transit campervan and is "excited but daunted" about launching her first barber business.

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"I have done it through hard graft and savings," Miss Morland said. "This was an opportunity I couldn't give up.

"I'd say to anyone wanting to start a new business, 'go for it.' If you have the resources and the passion for your trade definitely make a change. You spend the majority of your week at work. It has to be a place where you are excited to be."

The opening day of Empire Barbers in Hellesdon on July 31, 2021.

The opening day of Empire Barbers in Hellesdon on July 31, 2021. - Credit: Bobie Morland

She believed her previous work in sales and general life experience would help her in her new role as business owner but admitted it was a risk starting up after the coronavirus pandemic.

Miss Morland will specialise in cutting short hairstyles for men and women and has not yet employed any extra staff.

She added: "I wake up every day feeling excited about the challenges ahead."

Empire Barbers will operate on an appointment-based system because she believed it gave people more structure to their day knowing when they could get their hair cut, rather than waiting outside for a slot.

She will wear a mask but it is up to customers whether they wear theirs or not.

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