Archives for the month of: May, 2014
Welcome to Amsterdam

It was a welcoming 21 degrees in Amsterdam. I sat outside in my shirtsleeves with a glass of wine by the canal with other salon owners from UK who had come together to visit Keune.

I recently spent a weekend in Amsterdam, courtesy of my products suppliers and Keune. Last year at Gill Goddard Hair we took a pretty massive step and changed our product range to So Pure from Keune. It was a great move and this trip has confirmed why I think that Keune is absolutely right for us and our customers.

This was not going to be my first visit to Amsterdam so I was excited in a really relaxed way. I am one of those people who like travelling a lot, but I get lost. I’m missing some pretty vital navigating and directional equipment. I do however know how to read the positive signs of a good company or organisation.  All the signs from the Keune family (and I know now why they call themselves a family) are great.

I love the Keune brochures, pictures and really love the products. So I imagined the weekend with them would be a positive and enhancing experience. It was!

Meeting (Mr) Keune

The Keune Factory

The Keune Factory

Our bus drew up to the Keune factory, which seems to double as a modernist Statement with a staircase entrance hall complete with show car, office, pristine canteen and eating area, lecture theatres and an amazing hair salon set up for cut, colour hair collections, photography and modelling.

Editha!

Editha!

At the entrance we met Editha, Star of the Show – the Educator come Hostess. She’s amazing, intelligent, quick witted, performic, informal and chatty. She guided us through the Keune product portfolio and collections like a pro public speaker. This dynamic approach to information and education is something I really appreciate. The enthusiasm is catching!

Me and Mr Keune

Me and Mr Keune!

We sat and watched a presentation about the company – from its beginning to its flourishing contemporary place in the global hair market. Even more amazing than the history is that for the involvement of the Keune family. The grandson of the founder, Mr George Keune has a house attached to the factory and is available for the staff 24/7 or so it seems. A strong dedication to the business and its evolution.

Demos

Demos at Keune

Two hair educators appeared on stage and we are treated to cut and colour processes. Then it was time for lunch. Back down in the canteen I could hardly believe how good the food was – obviously cooked from scratch and really healthy!

Highlights and dizzy heights 

Hearing all about the Keune processes

Hearing all about the Keune processes

Back to our itinerary and for me it was the highlight of the trip: a tour around the factory. It sounds dead boring but this is no ordinary factory. For a start the Keune company employs 17 people with learning difficulties who work five days a week on light manual labour. They know everybody and everybody knows them.

Smelling the delicious Keune products

Smelling the delicious Keune products

Editha explains the many processes that will eventually end up in our salons as tubes of colour, perm, shampoo and conditioner. Thousands of tubes and bottles of product are produced each day and the factory workers do shifts to meet the demand. We visit a section where the essential oils are stored in a funny dry airless way where if we stay too long we will start talking with a funny voice.

Up high with Keune

Up high with Keune

We visit the lab where scientists are constantly testing and evolving this natural range of products. We visit an area across the road similar to the loading bays in Ikea Bristol. Before I know it I’m up in the ceiling in a fork-lift truck, four times the height of my house with a strange man at the controls!

One microphone, a table-top and a whole lot of food

After our return to the hotel and many, many photographs and documentation notes, we changed for the evening meal at an amazing karaoke bar. Again no ordinary karaoke or food!

The Dutch are fab – they know how to make an evening meal really special. All the waiters are singers and the maître d’ welcomes our party of British people to the table by announcing an “eighties” hits night.

Amsterdam meal

Delicious food, great company

They began a tradition of shared food. Every four places along the table there is a delicious tapas starter. Then spaghetti fongoli followed by Ice cream and cake dessert. They even catered for gluten-free guests, cooking a special meal. Every 15 minutes a waiter sings with a microphone – and it’s not the champagne flowing – they really are excellent singers.

By the end of the evening the salon owners all know each other really well and some of us have even danced on the tables to roars of delight from the other guests!

Coming home with a thank you

In the morning I found a café of the beaten track where a Dutch man cooked us double eggs and bacon with strong coffee. We all sat in companionable silence. I reviewed my trip and wrote up my notes. It had been all at once exhilarating and inspirational. I can’t really complain about being on my feet all day in the salon at home now I know about this fast pace and great workforce all behind the scenes at Keune making the exceptional products we work with everyday!

Thanks Lee and Gary, everyone was looked after us including Editha, Mr Keune and his team and the other companies involved with the trip. I had a great time, and it will bring fresh insights to my salon in deepest south west Devon. X

 

 

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Gill goddard Hair: Cian mid head-shave

Me and Cian mid head-shave

When I was asked to support Cian, who was shaving off his hair for charity, the answer was obviously ‘yes’. Here was a young lad, prepared to do something brave for an excellent cause. My role was to shave Cian’s head during his lunch hour from school, which was his pledge for sponsorship. So I readied my clippers for the event.

I love the way that in Totnes there are people willing to do things that step outside for others. And I really like the way, as a business owner and resident I am part of that community and can support this. I also like hearing what people think about this Town we live in and concerns they have for the world well beyond Totnes.

Cian chose WaterAid as his charity. In the salon we use lots of water, it is necessary. But it is easy to forget that there are people all over the world who don’t have access to clean and safe water. And we can help change this. On the 26th March Cian raised £520 to help supply these communities, villages and towns all over the world with clean water.

But that wasn’t all. Cian had been growing his hair for this event for 8 months. This young man had dedicated himself to this project over sometime. We have adult clients who won’t wait that long for their hair to grow long! Because of Cian’s dedication we were able to cut the lengths of his hair so that they could be sent off to make wigs for young people suffering from hair loss, including for cancer patients the same age as him.

So actually there were many good things happening at lunchtime on the 26th March. One determined but lovely young person with two big causes. I was proud to cut his hair. He looks great and now the weather is improving, I hope he won’t be too cold!