Ottery St Mary business owner proves she’s a cut above as she realises long-held dreams

Laura Allard, owner of Ottery Gents, outside new barber shop

Laura Allard, owner of Ottery Gents, outside new barber shop - Credit: Archant

Hairdresser, Laura, is overwhelmed by support for new venture

A new business owner has swapped supermarket shelves for scissors with the realisation of long-held ambition to open her own barber shop.

Laura Allard, of Batts Lane, said she has been overwhelmed by the kindness and support she has received since giving up a store supervisor job in Sainsbury’s to launch Ottery Gents Barbershop in Saddlers Lane.

The trained hairdresser has many years experience in the industry, but it was not until a few weeks ago that she saw the vacant premises and finally took the plunge to realise her dreams.

She is already striking a distinct look with business mascot Dratsi the ‘gentleman’ Otter – a logo specially designed by artist Lee Thomas – and named after the term Shetland Islands fishermen use for the water-dwelling creatures.

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Laura, 32, said: “It has always been my aim to return to barbering, and when the opportunity arose to open up in Ottery, it was too good to turn down. I walked past on my way home from work and saw that the shop was vacant so I walked around all of the businesses to find out who owned it and the next day I had the contract in my hand.”

The hairdresser worked in Chapz barbershop in Exmouth before moving to Ottery in 2010 and says her manager in Sainsbury’s was also hugely supportive of her venture.

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The shop opened on Friday and offers haircuts to men and boys. Laura plans to launch her own product range, OG.

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