Lice work (if you can get it)
The Hairforce got a full page (!) in the Daily Mirror – the coverage, the reach!!!
How my firm got ahead by Blitzing Nits
In their white uniforms, chic bandanas and chunky belts – from which hang a scary arsenal of weapons – they could be mistaken for futuristic warriors. Who’d have thought a “nit nurse” could look like Barbarella?
But when Dee Wright founded Hair Force one year ago – boasting the UK’s first crack squad of highly-trained Lice Assassins – she was determined to put a new spin on this particular area of pest control.
“I’d promised my girls that I was going to make the whole business of lice and nits glamorous,” laughs 47-year-old Dee. “We needed to get the humour back into this serious problem.”
With two daughters – Mia, 11, and nine-year-old Ines – Dee was well aware of the headache and expense involved in getting rid of headlice.
“The market in hair products to wipe out lice is worth £30million a year in the UK – with a massive 80 per cent of products being completely ineffective,” she says.
Instead, her Assassins carefully nitpick their way through infested heads, ridding people of creepy-crawlies without any useless chemicals.
“I read about a similar service in New York and thought what a great idea – I was so convinced I could do a good job that I just went for it,” says Dee, who previously worked in advertising. “I spent 18 months looking into the concept. I found the Business and IP Centre in the British Library which has everything you need to research a new business. And I used Business Link to help me get up and running.”
She also contacted the National Pediculosis Association (NPA) in America for their advice on eradicating lice, and began arming herself with specialist equipment.
“We have a Lice Hoover from Denmark, special nit combs from the NPA and magnifying glasses to help us spot the critters and eggs,” she says.
“We use special lights to get a perfect view of the head. Add a special brand of ruthlessness and there is no escape.”
Having tested the market through friends and a local school, Dee turned part of her North London home into Head Force HQ, and was up and running.
Two services are offered. The first is a 30-minute checking process. If anything is found this slips automatically into the 90-minute clearing service.
“We apply conditioner, section hair off and start meticulously combing through,” explains Dee. “Four days later we repeat the clearing process, then again four days later. It’s vital to break the life-cycle of the lice.”
It costs £90 for a full clear, but as Dee says: “People spend hundreds of pounds on hair products that do not work.”
In 12 months her service has proved so successful that she is considering franchising it. As well as interest from schools, it also boasts celebrity clients. Jonathan Ross and his children went to see Dee’s team. “It’s a brilliant idea,” says Jonathan. “We used to dream of something like this.”
And Body Shop founder Anita Roddick – who heard about Head Force when Dee joined a mentoring scheme – calls it a “visionary” business which will “transform lives”.
What’s more, her girls have finally got over the embarrassment of their Mum being a nit nurse.
“At least I think they have!” Dee laughs.
Get in touch with Dee and her team of Lice Assassins on 07720 838 271 or visit www.thehairforce.co.uk
For help in setting up a business visit British Library’s Business and IP Centre at www.bl.uk/bipc and Business Link at www.businesslink.gov.uk
More on lice is at National Pediculosis Association