Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

St. Mark's C of E Primary (including Nursery) will be closed on Thursday 14th November 2019 for an environmental clean and expected to re-open on Friday 15th November 2019.

A cut above: Launch Pad helps to style new career

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Issued by Five Lamps: 1 December 2010

A local dad is celebrating success after achieving his dream of running his own business.

Adrian Wray, 33, set up Chocolate Freelance Hairstylists in January of this year, after learning more about what self-employment could offer by attending an enterprising event on board Launch Pad in Stockton-on-Tees.

The event was organised by entrepreneurial charity Five Lamps and took place in Stockton Town Centre.

Adrian, who is from Stockton, was formerly working as personal advisor for Connexions in the town, but always had a passion for hairdressing. After attending a course at Stockton College, his girlfriend fell pregnant and Adrian decided to take a break from hairdressing and concentrate on bringing money in to support the baby.

Adrian said: "It was a difficult time and I knew that sacrifices would have to be made to support the baby. I knew that I would have to put hairdressing on the back burner, which I did until after the baby was born. In 2005 I went back to College to study for my NVQ in hairdressing and even managed to land an apprenticeship at Hooker & Young.

"It was at about this time that I happened upon the Launch Pad, which was based next to my local library in Stockton. I had been thinking about the possibility of working for myself for a while, so when I realised what it was all about, I jumped at the chance."

With the help and advice provided by Five Lamps' business advisers on board Launch Pad, Adrian was able to find out about available business support and begin working on his business model.

After attending Launch Pad, Adrian signed up for a number of workshops and networking events organised by Five Lamps. He also received a start up grant from Stockton Council to help him begin trading as a mobile hairstylist.
Since that time, Chocolate has gone from strength to strength. Adrian said: "I'm not going to say that going into business for myself has been easy - particularly in this tough economic climate, but I can say it was the best move for me. Since setting up word has spread and business is getting busier and busier as the weeks go on.

"Working for myself means that I can be a lot more flexible with my time, which means a lot when you have a family. I also enjoy the freedom it brings - working for yourself can be very liberating. I am still very committed to the business and to furthering myself and have just completed an NVQ Level 2 in Barbering."

Chris Butler, Adrian's Five Lamps Business Adviser said: "I knew from day one that Adrian was very driven and committed. He already had the necessary skills for his business but needed a helping hand from us.
"Using Launch Pad to reach people like Adrian has proved to be very effective. The vehicle is bright and interesting and works well for drawing people in."

To find out more about Chocolate Freelance Hairstylists and to make an appointment, please call Adrian Wray on 07947 983918.

For more information on the how the Five Lamps can help you, contact us on (01642) 608316 or visit