The History of Mawson & Company (Part I)
This summer marks 25 years since Tony Mawson established Mawson&Company and we have been proudly trading in Winchester ever since.
To mark this special occasion we’ve stepped back in time to bring you a brief history of the origins of one of Winchester’s best-loved salons.
Tony Mawson was born in Bletchley in Buckinghamshire and his family soon after moved to north London where he first experienced infant school.
In the mid 1950’s they moved to Fareham in Hampshire as his father returned to the merchant navy, after a brief spell ashore after the war, being based in Southampton.
Here most of Tony’s schooling was done and at the age of 15, the summer school holidays proved a turning point for Tony when his father took him to the Youth Employment Office to ensure that Tony was kept busy during the school holidays.
A hair salon in Fareham was advertising for a summer holiday assistant and Tony began his career washing hair, sweeping floors and generally mucking in! After an initial six-week placement the salon offered him an apprenticeship and, rather than return to school, Tony leapt at the opportunity.
After learning the basics during his three-year apprenticeship Tony found himself hungry for additional training and upskilling. Thanks to the salon’s Loreal representative, Tony was soon in London attending courses at Loreal’s base in Hammersmith which proved most successful. He was invited to join the Loreal team but turned them down in lieu of working for Alan International, an (at the time) prestigious group of London-based salons with a presence in locations such as Putney, The Strand, Hammersmith, Weybridge and Walton on Thames.
Following his father’s death in the early 1970’s, Tony returned to Hampshire and, after an initial period, was offered a partnership in the Studio 1 salon in Fareham.
So began Tony’s foray into self-employment...45 years on and still counting!
In 1981, Tony elected to come out of the partnership with the Studio 1 group and has been independent ever since.
With a staff of ten, which grew to fifteen, Tony was kept busy in a salon between Titchfield and Bursledon at Park Gate. The week was comprised of six days in the salon cutting and colouring then half-a-day of paperwork and administration every Sunday morning. In Tony’s own words; “busy yes, but one just got on with it; there was luck, blood, sweat and tears.”
Whistles, as the salon was called in Parkgate, was soon joined by a smaller, second salon, Whistles in Hamble.
Tony eventually sold both salons and took a short break before relocating to Winchester in 1994.
We do hope you're enjoyed reading Tony’s early history and we'll publish the second part of the story of Mawson&Company next month.