• How did you become a hairdresser?
I left Chichester High School in 1982 and went to hairdressing college. I’ve worked locally ever since. My business partner Chris was one of my mates at school. We opened Buzby & Blue in 1990 and moved to The Hornet in 2011.
• You have a rail of beautifully hand painted parka coats for sale in your salon. What’s the story?
Art was my favourite thing at school. There was a big mod revival in 1977 when I was 11 and my brother was 13. He became a mod and so I became a mod, so there’s been years of scooters and parkas! I had a go at painting on the back of parkas back in the day and about 15 years ago I decided to revive the idea. I now paint and sell them in aid of Samaritans.
• Why Samaritans?
I lost my son, David, in 2018. He was 18 and he took his own life. I found him. There was absolutely no sign of anything being wrong and there was nothing on his phone to suggest that he was planning anything. The carnage that it leaves behind when someone takes their life is horrendous. I called Samaritans a couple of times afterwards; I needed to talk to someone who wasn’t involved. It can be easier to talk to someone about something so emotional when you can’t see a face. They were fantastic and helped me massively.
• What do you love about painting parkas?
Painting is great for your mental health because you become so absorbed that you can’t think about anything else.
• Where do you get the parkas from?
Mostly from car boot sales and occasionally from eBay. I do commissions for serious mods, but otherwise I do all sorts of designs, including some for kids.
• As well as raising thousands of pounds for Samaritans you also use your artistic talents to decorate the salon, don’t you?
At Christmas we’ve always featured art on the front of the building that ties in with whatever show Chichester Festival Youth Theatre is doing. We use it as our theme inside too. My boy used to be member of the youth theatre. We also do things like the jubilee and royal weddings. It’s a good way to promote the business and put a smile on people’s faces at the same time.
• You’re big on in-house training at the salon. Why?
We’re hugely into training. That way you get staff with the right skill set and the right mind set. We are looking forward to reopening on April 12, although it’s a logistical nightmare trying to fit everyone in!
• How has lockdown been for you?
Lockdown hasn’t really been an issue for me. The worst has happened. It puts things into perspective.
To view Nigel’s parkas or for commission enquiries visit the salon or send a message via www.buzbyandblue.com
• To find out more about Samaritans visit www.samaritans.org
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