Shop Local – Creations and Toucan Beauty

Elliott Courtney, right, the winner of the Creations competition with the team from left: Gary Ashcroft, Claire Eason, and Emma and Trevor Shepherd C140493-1
Elliott Courtney, right, the winner of the Creations competition with the team from left: Gary Ashcroft, Claire Eason, and Emma and Trevor Shepherd C140493-1

As part of the Observer’s Shop Local campaign, we want to support businesses in the area which help others. Two firms in Chichester, one hair salon and one beauty rooms, let us in to see behind the glamour and make-up, and tell us how they show their support in our community.

Toucan Beauty

Ellie O’Flanagan started Toucan Beauty nine years ago after a drastic career change.

“I started in 2005,” she said. “I was an accountant and was made redundant from a local company.”

She took that as her opportunity to do something she loved.

“I had always been interested in beauty, and had always done courses in the evenings. I came away with enough money to take a year off work to go back to college. With the support of my husband, I then qualified, 
and opened up a salon in St Pancras.”

She finally moved to her new salon in Donnington in 2008, and employs three part-time staff. The salon does nails, waxing, facials, make-up and spray tan, to name jut a few treatments.

Now that Ellie had fulfilled her own dreams, she decided she wanted to help others.

As well as being involved in lots of local business events and campaigns, Ellie also supports St Wilfrid’s Hospice, which is close to the salon.

“We really support the hospice,” she said. “We offer all the staff a discount and try to support the carers.”

She also fundraises for the hospice with raffles and events.

“I support the hospice because it’s in my locality, where I live and work, and it costs millions of pounds a year to run,” said Ellie.

“The staff work really hard and deserve to get something back.”

With Ellie’s vibrant personality, and the fact she cares about the area and the people in it, means there is more to Toucan Beauty than just the make-up.

For more on the Donnington-based salon, visit


Another firm in the beauty industry which tries to get a little deeper is hair salon Creations.

Emma Shepherd, a manager at the firm, said: “We started in 1998, so it is the 16th year in business. We’re a bit of a one-stop shop.

“The owner, Carolyn Sweeney, started with three of us at the time. We now employ 35 people.”

The business is quite focused on training and helping young people get into work.

Emma was one of the first of the young recruits.

“Carolyn was 29 when she started the business, coming from another hair salon,” said Emma. “She wanted to help young people, that is why she started the business.”

The firm also offers free services for people going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

As well as cutting wigs for patients, the salon looks after their hair as it starts to grow back.

The salon also holds carer events several times a year, giving them pamper sessions and a bit of time out.

Charity and supporting people in need is a big part of the firm, which is why staff have managed to raise more than £26,000 in the past year.

The company’s ethos is summed up in the motto – ‘We don’t just cut hair, we care’.

For more about Creations and its charity work, visit