From salon floor to head office
How Darren Messias took his hair journey from apprentice to managing director of KH Hair group
East Midlands salon group, KH Hair, has been offering apprenticeships to young people across the region for over 75 years. Many of them have gone on to be successful stylists, some have earned a place on the award-winning creative and colour teams – taking part in photoshoots, competitions, shows and exhibitions and winning top industry accolades – and some have even become successful salon franchisees themselves.
When it comes to KH Hair success stories, KH Hair Group's managing director, Darren Messias has a journey to talk about. Darren joined the company (then named Keith Hall) as an apprentice in 1989 at the age of 16, and now, since working his way up, stands as managing director, heading up one of the most established hairdressing groups in the UK, with a current total of 21 salons, including a barber shop, all situated throughout the East Midlands.
“I strongly believe one of the biggest contributing factors to the longevity and success of KH Hair is our genuine sense of family and belonging,” says Darren. “This was created back the late 1940’s by our founder Mr Keith Hall MBE. This ethos is the very foundation that KH Hair is built on and has carried on throughout the years.”
Darren’s journey timeline
1989: Darren joins the team at the Derby St Peters salon while undergoing his training at the newly-opened Keith Hall Training Academy in Long Eaton.
1992: Darren wins the Sarah Brown Trophy – the equivalent to the now-termed 3rd Year Competition.
1993: After qualifying as a stylist and spending four years at the St Peters salon, Darren moves to Derby St James Street to work with future business partner Tim Fee and the team. Spending the next three years becoming a busy stylist and embarking on his creative journey with the company.
1994: Darren is selected to be a member of the exclusive Fellowship F.A.M.E Team with Errol Douglas MBE.
1996: The opportunity to become a co-franchisee with Tim Lacey and Amanda Fall at Keith Hall’s Leicester salon arises, a chance not to be missed. Darren's career as a franchisee and business owner begins.
2003: Darren wins Best Men’s Collection at the AIPP Awards (Association Internationale Presse Professionnelle Coiffure).
2004: Darren joins forces with Tim Lacey and Tim Fee to become co-franchisor of KH Hair Franchising – claiming his head office desk where he still sits today.
2007: Tim Lacey retires, leaving Darren and Tim Fee as equal partners.
2016: Darren receives a Fellow with Honours Award from the Fellowship of British Hairdressing.
2020: Tim Fee retires, leaving Darren at the helm of the 21-strong salon group which is now branded KH Hair. This year, the Group celebrates its 100-year anniversary!
2023: In December, Darren was awarded a ‘Fellow with Distinction’ medal for his work to support the Fellowship, going above and beyond to contribute to its activities and promoting UK hairdressing as a whole.
2024: This year marks Darren’s 35-year anniversary with KH Hair.
Darren is passionate about training and oversees the KH Hair Training Academy in Long Eaton. He is also creative director for the Group and leads the acclaimed Creative and Colour Teams, specially selected and highly-skilled stylists and colourists who represent the brand internationally at photoshoots, on the catwalks, in the press and at industry shows.
“National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity to show young people how rewarding this career path can be. Over three years, our apprentices learn so much, from hairdressing skills to first-class customer service and front of house duties, as well as how to take responsibility and ownership of their careers,” says Darren. “They also get the chance to attend shows, exhibitions and enter competitions to enhance their learning. We teach maths and English essentials with the help of a qualified schoolteacher to assist trainees who may need additional help with basic numeracy and literacy skills. And, of course, It's not just a full-time job - apprentices are learning and gaining a nationally recognised qualification while getting paid at the same time."
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