WHEN Belinda and Andy Rowles first met as primary school teachers, they had no idea they would later be running a successful beauty salon together.
But now, after three years at the helm of Ocean Rooms Beauty, the couple are due to expand their business.
By the summer, they will have moved the salon into a Moresby Tower unit, which is twice the size of what they are used to.
This is just a stone's throw from their current unit in Ocean Village, which will remain open under Belinda and Andy, but as a hairdressers.
"We decided we were just getting too big for here, the office is quite small, the staff areas are quite small and we are quite often having to juggle treatment rooms and can't get everyone in," said Belinda, who met Andy whilst working at Botley Primary School.
Ocean Rooms Beauty
"People are wanting to book in bigger groups too, now. We are getting people who are in a hen party or in a group of 15 saying 'we've got a birthday and we want six people to come in together.
"We thought, why don't we get bigger? So we are moving into a bigger unit."
The couple first took on the business in 2019, which was previously owned by Belinda's sister who moved to Birmingham.
When it was first offered to the mum-of-three, she thought it was a ridiculous idea – but "has been a very exciting adventure ever since".
Explaining the choice to keep the current unit, Belinda said: "People always come in here and ask if we do hair, as we have a girl here who does extensions and a lot of people see her through the window.
"I've always thought it's important to keep hair and beauty separate. That's not a knock on the businesses who join the two at all, but I don't like to mix noisy hair dryers with relaxing spa-like treatments.
"So we thought that this is perfect for it – it's already been kitted out. All we need to do is convert nail stations and pedicure stations into a hair bar."
Just months after taking over the business, the Rowles had to face the Covid pandemic.
"Covid was tough but I was so grateful for all the support that was offered, like the furlough scheme," said Belinda. "Thankfully all the staff are employed and didn't have to struggle."
"I'd have been heartbroken if I couldn't support them.
"We got them in and trained – we really used as much of the opportunity as we could. We went through and did a load of outstanding jobs, spent time rewriting our procedure treatments, be the best we can."
The salon is also 100 per cent accessible for disabled people, and will continue to be so in the new premises.
Staff members are being sought to join the team, which currently has 12 employees.
To apply, email: email@example.com.