During the pandemic, the hair and beauty industry was hit hard, but this didn’t deter army spouse Danielle Corcoran.

She optimised her time during lockdowns to write her business plan, arrange building work and create digital resources, ready to launch Marques Hair Salon in Lichfield in 2020 with help from X-Forces Enterprise (XFE).

Danielle ran two successful salons with her mum in Sussex, until a huge life change in 2019. The family decided that the regular weekend commute between their home in Brighton, her husband’s posting in Colchester and his daughter in the Midlands had become unmanageable. “Something had to give if we were to have a closer relationship with my stepdaughter, so we moved to be nearer. The thought of opening my own salon was still a dream, but then lockdown hit. I thought, what am I waiting for?”

Getting established

Danielle was granted a start-up loan for £5,000, facilitated by XFE, which she used towards re-fitting the premises. XFE allocated her a personal Business Advisor who closely supported her through planning and launch.

“I was almost starting from scratch to establish my brand. There were sleepless nights worrying if the builders would complete on time, and bringing the website together, but it was a great self-development opportunity. The first months of trading were hard, navigating restrictions, but XFE was really helpful, with monthly support to check in on me, and resources about different aspects of business ownership.”

There’s no looking back now for Danielle as she manages a team of three and hopes to expand. “I love making people feel happy. When they leave the salon smiling, it puts a smile on my face.”

Got a business idea?

XFE supports service leavers, veterans, spouses, cadets and forces family members to start their own businesses with training, finance, networking and mentoring. Head to x-forces.com