A cut above – Boilerhouse celebrates 30 years

Kim Le-Neveu

Kim Le-Neveu

SHE left Darlington to become a hairdresser at the age of 16 and, after working her way to the top at Vidal Sassoon, Kim Le-Neveu travelled to the other side of the world with husband Steve Jones to train other top stylists.

Boilerhouse in Jesmond, Newcastle, was launched on their return and it has just celebrated 30 years in business.

As well as being managing director, head stylist and trainer, Kim launched  a service in 2007 for women in need of a wig for chemotherapy treatment to alopecia after being specially taught by famous hairdresser, Trevor Sorbie.

Her hands are busy even when she’s not cutting hair – she’s also designed and made a range of  eclectic jewellery, Kimmy’s Magpie, which is available to buy from her salon on Acorn Road.

How did you get into hairdressing?

I started as a Saturday girl when I was 13 in my local hair salon for a bit of extra pocket money and I absolutely loved it from the word go. I decided when I was 16 to just go for it and pursue hairdressing as a career so I left home and worked for a salon chain in York where I learnt the basics and established my own style.

In my mid-twenties I worked for Vidal Sassoon and worked my way up to educator in the Sassoon schools. After this my husband Steve and I travelled the Far East and Australia running seminars and courses for hairdressers. We returned to the UK with the ambition to open our own business and Boilerhouse was born in 1985.

STUNNING: Jewellery handmade by Kim Le-Neveu is available to buy in the salon under the Kimmy's Magpie range

STUNNING: Jewellery handmade by Kim Le-Neveu is available to buy in the salon under the Kimmy’s Magpie range

Who have been inspirational women in your life?
To be honest I get inspiration from anyone and anything, from my passionate stylists and their love for hairdressing to world famous fashion designers. I’ve run my own business for 30 years now and during that time I’ve had to find my way and overcome challenges on my own so I’ve had to rely on my own gut feelings for a long time.

Unknown-2What has made you successful?
I would put it down to hard work, passion and dedication.

Do you find being a leader comes naturally?
I would say so, yes. I wouldn’t say I was a born leader but my leadership has definitely developed throughout the years of running a business because it’s given me the opportunity to be one! I’d never really had the chance before I opened Boilerhouse.

Unknown-4Do you think you’re a good boss?
You’ll have to ask my team! I try to be as fair as possible and listen to the wants and needs of the whole team. I can’t get it right all the time but I do my best to be fair.

Has being an entrepreneur and therefore a risk taker helped propel your career?
We are definitely risk takers in the salon. We believe in Boilerhouse and reinvest a lot of money into the business which I think accounts for the Unknown-4growth and success of the salon.

What have been your three biggest career highlights over the years?
I would say the first was being accepted into Sassoon’s – this was a huge deal for me as it’s incredibly hard to get in and you are handpicked from hundreds of applicants, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity. Secondly, opening Boilerhouse back in 1985 was a huge step in my career and a real landmark for all of us. Lastly the refurbishment of our new salon has been biggest highlight. We’re huge lovers of antiques and interior design so to create our dream salon with the furniture and décor that we’ve collected over the years is fantastic.

Whose hair have you styled that was memorable?
For me, the hair cut or style is more memorable than who’s hair it is. We styled some crazy hair back in the 80’s which I absolutely loved. Wild colours and interesting cuts is what it was all about and I’ve got some incredible memories from those days.

What did you do to mark Boilerhouse’s 30th anniversary?
We’ve had a week of celebrating in the salon with our clients, offering chocolates, bucks fizz and a raffle. As a team we’re all going for a big party with lots of food, drinking and fun games. It’s incredible to be able to celebrate 30 years with such a wonderful team. We’re a true family ran business with a close-knit team so it’s great to enjoy the anniversary together.

What has been the biggest shift in hairdressing over the past 30 years?
I would say the biggest change is that people are after longer hair. The current trends we’ve seen our clients requesting is to have long flowing bouncy blow dries rather than the short sharp cuts that have been dominant in the past. Colour and cutting creativity has become a bit more limited. However, the expansion of hair care and styling products available is incredible. Professional products have advanced over the years and the market is completely saturated with different creams, sprays, gels, primers and mousses. It gives our clients more styling options which is fantastic.

STUNNING: The interior of Boilerhouse in Jesmond, Newcastle

STUNNING: The interior of Boilerhouse in Jesmond, Newcastle

What are your goals for the future?
To carry on building a young team and continue to grow the Boilerhouse brand.

What’s your idea of a perfect day off work? 
Retail therapy! I’m a huge shopaholic so anywhere I can shop is my idea of heaven. I love to visit London too as it gives me incredible inspiration.

Do you enjoy having your own hair cut?
No, I absolutely hate it! Quite ironic really but I put it off as much as possible. I prefer to cut other peoples hair.

If you could get your hands on any celebrity’s hair who would it be and what would you do?
It would have to be someone with a unique style. I love Gwen Stefani, she’s got a really powerful image so I’d love to do an interesting short cut on her.


Boilerhouse, 7 Acorn Road, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 2DJ     Tel 0191-2812348

Website: www.boilerhouse.co.uk                             Twitter: @BoilerhouseHair                       Instagram: @boilerhousehair




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