Get to Know... Hairy Jayne

Get to Know... Hairy Jayne

An interview with maker Hairy Jayne as part of our 'Get to Know...' series.

Tell us a little about yourself and your business…

I'm Jayne and I make natural, vegan and zero waste hair care. I started my business when I was hairdressing after becoming allergic to black hair dye.
The obsession began when I started researching natural remedies and made a scalp oil using argan oil and essential oils. I then taught myself (via a few short courses and scouring online chemistry forums) how to make natural shampoos and conditioners, and how to fragrance them with essential oils.


Where are you based?

Totterdown, Bristol


Tell us a secret about you?

At school I did dentistry for my work experience. It put me off wanting to become a dentist.


How do you make your work?

Making the hair care products is a lot like cooking, I have a dedicated kitchen on our property (an ex-bakery!) where there's a lot of measuring, melting, mixing, and stirring. UK safety regulations mean the recipes have to be signed off by a cosmetic chemist by legislation, and can't change from what's been tested.
I make everything in 5 litre batches. Everything is hand poured and packaged. I design all of the packaging and labels as I originally studied graphic design (back in the 90s!).
I love arts and crafts and picked up a new hobby during lockdown - Jesmonite resin, which is a concrete-like substance that sets really hard. After figuring out how to make moulds, I now also make our shampoo bar holders from Jesmonite.


Describe your studio…

My studio was a bakery before we moved in here. So there is shop part and an office that I use for Hairy Jayne. The shop part now has my making kitchen down one side and a big table for me to run my workshops. I store all the products and pack all my orders in the office. Both areas are really colourful and always smell like essential oils, I love it.


Tell us about your materials - where do you source them from and are they important to you?

I source everything I can from UK suppliers. I want Hairy Jayne to have as little impact on the environment as possible, so importing locally-sourced is important. In terms of packaging, I avoid plastic as much as possible. The statistics on plastics and how much of it doesn't even get recycled (something like 75%) is something that concerns me from an environmental point of view.

 

Why is it important to you that your work is made as responsibly and sustainably as possible?

Obviously with climate change a concern I wanted to make sure my work wasn't contributing to it in any way. But I think more so, a part of me deep down always wanted to be a bit of a disrupter. To prove to bigger companies, who have a much bigger impact, that the 'right' way is not only completely possible but something that people are actually looking for. 


How and why did you start your small business?

I started my small business slowly but surely. I did it because I had had a lot of experience as a hairdresser with good hair care products that had off-putting or overbearing fragrances or were ridiculously expensive. I wanted to make professional-quality shampoos and conditioners that were as natural as possible, with a choice of fragrances.


Any fun facts about your business, or achievements you want to shout about?

My products have won quite a few awards in the past few years which I'm very proud of. In 2020 the Citrus Shampoo Bar won Gold at the FreeFrom Skincare Awards, in 2023 the Herbal one got the Silver. Last year our Dry Shampoo won Gold in the Green Parent awards and the Treatment Conditioner won both a Gold and Silver in the same year. I go up against brands that are a lot bigger than Hairy Jayne (it's just me and a freelancer at the moment!) so it's a huge achievement.


What do you love most about your small business and do you have a favourite piece of work?

The thing I love the most is the name. It's called Hairy Jayne because when I was a hairdresser I was constantly covered in other people's hair. It raised a few eyebrows when I started (too silly? too 'rude'?) but I'm glad I stuck to my guns because I love it when the name delights other people.


What do you think are the benefits of people supporting independent business?

The biggest benefit for me is that I hate places that all look the same. I don't want to go and visit somewhere and find all the same shops and products in the new place. It's important to preserve what's unique about somewhere. And if you don't use it, you lose it.


Tell us about your favourite purchase from a fellow maker. What is it and who made it?

This is a hard question! I have so many purchases from fellow makers and none of them stands out as a favourite. They're all loved.

 

Do you have a goal for where you’d love your business to be in the future?

In the future I'd just love the business to be steadily growing again so that I can create a couple of jobs for people.

 View Hairy Jayne's handmade collection at Prior Shop here


(Interview date: 12th January 2024)
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