House of Kennedy Cross Gates: Meet the Leeds hairdresser who has opened his dream salon aged 24

Kieren Kennedy has dreamed of being a hairdresser since he was a young boy.

By Abbey Maclure
Sunday, 10th April 2022, 5:07 pm

The 24-year-old, of east Leeds, started an apprenticeship at a salon when he was still sitting his GCSEs - going self-employed before he turned 20.

As his clientele expanded, Kieren set his sights on opening his own salon, something he's now achieved with his partner Vaughn Thomas.

They opened House of Kennedy last month - a one-stop shop for Cross Gates' beauty needs, specialising in hair colour and balayage.

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Kieren Kennedy, 24, with a client at his Cross Gates salon House of Kennedy (Photo: Steve Riding)

"I've dreamt about having my own salon since I was at school," Kieren told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"Going self-employed was a big leap for me and it taught me how to run a business from a very young age.

"I had to start from scratch, it was so nerve-wracking. I had five days off in the first two years.

"It's been amazing to watch it build up - and now I'm training my own team."

Kieren has opened the new salon with his partner, Vaughn Thomas, a one-stop shop for Cross Gates' beauty needs (Photo: Steve Riding)

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Kieren will oversee the day-to-day management of the salon, as well as cutting hair, while Vaughn will deal with the business side of the venture.

The pair have spent months transforming the unit on Church Lane, which was previously a salon but in need of some TLC.

Vaughn, 35, said: "We wanted a real luxury feel with a vibrant atmosphere, so when you come in it’s like its own little world.

During and after the salon renovations

"We’ve looked for inspiration in cities across the world and viewed thousands of images of different designs on Pinterest.

"We’ve got gold touches throughout, but not too in your face or too bling."

Kieren trained in a luxury city centre salon and wanted to bring that touch of elegance to Cross Gates, while appealing to a younger clientele.

As well as hair treatments, the salon has an eyelash lounge, a nail bar and a beauty room for facials and massages, and there are plans to hire a make-up artist and expand into skincare and aesthetics.

Kieran added: "The idea is that the salon is a one-stop shop, people can come in and have everything done.

“I didn’t feel like there was something luxury for younger people. It’s offering those high-end services, but all my team are young, trendy and on with Instagram."

While Kieren was out of work during lockdowns he continued to connect with his clients on Instagram, intervening to save a few hair nightmares.

“I was giving advice to people on how they could maintain their hair from home," he said.

"People were struggling to get hold of products or they couldn’t afford premium products for their hair.

"I managed to convince a few of my ladies not to do their hair colour at home!"

Kieren's friends and family are bursting with pride that he's realised his childhood dream. But the work doesn't stop there.

The couple are planning collaborations with other Leeds businesses, such as offering brownies and small bites with treatments, and eventually plan to open a second site in the city centre.

“People like to be pampered more since the pandemic," Kieran added.

"Everyone has got used to their own space and coming into the salon is a really personal experience.

"It's a chance to get away from real life."

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