A Milestone In Changing Lives Ken Cooper, 50 Years In Hairdressing











How did a young man whose job prospects suggested a more active role in telecoms transform into one of South East London’s most treasured hairdressers? Renown for his tenacity in ‘working a column’ Ken has seen the ups and downs of the salon industry since 1961 when he started his 3 year apprenticeship at the age of 15 years old, and celebrated 50 Years in business during 2014, since opening his first salon, an accomplishment worth noting.

The years during and following his apprenticeship seen challenges of starting his career however in 1964 ‘Ken’s’, a men’s only, salon opened in Hither Green, with his first quarter rent paid for by his father, a man that was crucial in Ken’s career, encouraging his son to follow hairdressing from the start.

Changes in the industry and recognising the opportunities Ken who knew the proprietor of a men’s outfitters in Croydon, moved to a new men’s only salon called ‘Shears’ in 1970.  With a separate, Hessian tiled reception area, appointment bookings, separate back-wash basins, unique to men’s hairdressing in those days, and coffee.

Developing his skills Ken attended Sassoon’s school in Davies Mews, the learning curve got steeper and shortly after the Croydon salon blossomed into a unisex salon.  In 1974 the Bromley salon opened, business was climbing from strength to strength.   Subsequent growth seen the Shears training academy open in 1984 and a third salon open in Eltham in 1987, and then a new wave Claus & Co opened in 1995. 

Why the change of name? Ken explains ‘an opportunity to work with my children who are both hairdressers creating a fresh new salon brand.  Claus is a family name, my great, great grand-father who was a gentlemans hairdresser in the city’.

In 2014 Claus & Co is where Ken still works his column, attends team meetings and mentors his people to becoming the best they can be.  Not one to shy away from the hard labours of hairdressing, you can still find him with a broom, cleaning mirrors and making coffee. 

On looking back over the years Ken said ‘One of my biggest achievements is the Academy which continues to prosper and is a wonderfully inspiring environment which offers a unique learning experience that maximises the potential of our Apprentices, the quality of the Academy team is something I am particularly proud of. Numerous businesses have been started by previous students, and many awards have been won along the way’.

Recognising the qualities and potential of his team members is intuitive to Ken, putting that very reason down to the success he has enjoyed.  Enjoying both the good and bad trading conditions since he bagan, 50 years in hairdressing is an incredible achievement and Ken Cooper putting his scissors down anytime soon, doesn’t seem to be an option. 

Diane Newman
Fabulous! Congratulations and best wishes.
Diane xxx
Margaret Bird
A rare achievement . Ken has cut my hair for nearly 40 of those years and I have followed his premises moves because he does it so well.
Well done Ken - here's to the next 50!!
Janet Norman
As a client since 1974, well done and congratulations!
Lesley Bridle
Hi Ken
What an achievement! Many congratulations. Keep the good work up. I hope to get up from Devon soon and revisit the Salon.
Meantime wishing you, your family and all the team at Claus a Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2015.
Love Lesley x

Add a comment