A transgender entrepreneur who’s launching a new health, hair and beauty salon has declared Caitlyn Jenner is an inspiration.
Sarah Jane Bradley, 22, is setting up the Sarah Jane Group Salon at Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham.
Three years ago she set up the UK’s first salon catering for the transgender community – but her dreams were dashed when it was destroyed in a fire.
Now, she’s determined to make a success of her new venture at Eagles Meadow.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner who used to be known as Bruce Jenner made headlines across the world when she confirmed her plans to transition into a woman in an interview in April.
Sarah said: “Her story is inspirational. Good on her. I’ve seen people posting such lovely comments about it on social media. At the end of the day, she’s inspiring others and that’s fantastic. She’s showing people that it’s ok to be who you are.”
Sarah’s new unisex salon is going to cover aspects of health and beauty such as cutting and colouring hair, spa treatments, pamper sessions, tanning, teeth whitening and deep tissue massages in a Moroccan-inspired treatment room.
She said: “It’s a one stop beauty shop all under one roof and it is open to everybody.
“I decided to set up at Eagles Meadow shopping centre because of the footfall. You just get so many people coming here. It just makes good business sense. The business rates here are very competitive and the landlords have been great. I’ve got a great team of staff working alongside me.”
According to Sarah, a former pupil of Ysgol Y Grango, Rhos, she knew as eight-year-old Thomas that she was born into the wrong body
She studied art and design at Yale College (now Coleg Cambria) and later a diploma in business studies.
She left her family home aged 17 because they couldn’t accept who she is, and started a salon that year.
Unfortunately her dream went up in flames when the salon caught fire, and she lost everything.
She began hormone therapy aged 19 and will undergo gender reassignment surgery soon to complete the process.
Sarah said: “The hormone treatment that I’m on has softened my voice, it’s given me a more feminine figure, and has given me a feminine hair growth pattern. It’s made me feel happy and more confident. It’s even made me better at multi-tasking I think!”
“I knew that I saw different from around eight years old. At play time at school I’d never play with the boys. Instead I’d play with Barbie dolls with the girls.
“I hated PE, especially getting changed because I wasn’t confident about my body.
“I kept all that to myself until my mum died when I was 15. She was my best friend and you could talk to her about anything.
“I think she’d love what I’m doing now, and I think she’d be proud of me. She was always my biggest supporter, and she taught me to never give up.”
Sarah added: “After the fire I set up in the town centre for a bit.
“I was disowned by my family. It’s made me quite driven because it made me want to succeed.
“My last salon closed because we of the fire and we lost everything.
“It was the first salon in the UK to cater to the transgender community. So we had people coming to it from places like, Manchester, Liverpool and the Wirral and even as far away as London. It was a really big thing for me because it gave me a big confidence boost.
“People would come for spa treatments. They’d have a bit of a pamper, and get their nails done, things like that. We also had a counselling room because people who are transgender can lack a bit of self-confidence, so we helped with that. We also gave advice on how to dress, and even how to walk in a more feminine manner, with the right posture.
“It’s also about having the right frame of mind, and not to worry about people looking and things like that because at the end of the day most people are too busy with their own lives to care about being narrow minded.”
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley added: “I would like to wish Sarah every success in her new venture. She’s been through a lot and has shown immense courage.”