I am writing this as, a son, a colleague and as an individual that owes so much of my career to this amazing hairdresser and trainer.
Anne Miller is one of the most known names around our town and beyond, a well-respected individual, business woman and trainer in the hairdressing industry. If you don’t know her by her name you will definitely know her by the salon she founded back in 1969 called Renella.
Anne started hairdressing in 1960 with the 5 strong salon group at that time, Greens. Another well-known name in Falkirk hairdressing. Anne admittedly knew she wanted to be a hairdresser at the age of just 9, after her mother Marie Rosa Renella (Stuart) was a hairdresser also and Anne just fell for it.
After starting her career at Greens in 1960 at only 15 within a year she was running the training at that salon, which is something unheard of, and also entering competitions by herself, coming 1st and 2nd in Inter Salons competitions, and then going onto become Scottish Champion with the Guild of Scottish Hairdressers.
9 years into her career, she decided to start her own business and chose the family name of RENELLA as the name for the salon. It just felt the right name.
The first Renella salon was in Mary Street, Lauriston, Falkirk on My 20th 1969. The beginning of a legacy.
Shortly after Anne started Renella her friend Anne Yates (Smith) joined her and then around a year later both Tom, Anne Miller’s husband, and Jim Yates, Anne Yates husband, joined the company Tom and Jim mainly doing business with Jim being a hairdresser too. The foursome was strong together going onto to open several other salons around Falkirk and Grangmouth, many folks will still remember them.
Jumping forward in time after the 60s and 70s had passed and the wonderful eras that they were, specially being in a fashion industry and the revelations that stylists such as Vidal Sassoon brought to hairdressing and the change in hair and how we perceived it. Both Anne and Renella were growing and investing in local business and people.
When the 80s arrived Jim and Anne Yates decided to make the bold move to America, the couples decided to sell off parts of the business, splitting it equally with Anne and Tom deciding to opt for one large salon instead of many smaller ones. A new chapter began, with the founder now having a salon again all to her own with Tom as now the sole business partner.
To this day the 2 Anne’s stay in touch and visits still happen, you can’t separate friends that easy, even by a big pond.
Renella grew again as a sole salon and the business grew into another unit, this time in the old open aired Calendar shopping centre at the time, next to other local business, such as Browns Menswear, owned by Bill Brown, who has Daughter Lauren now being the successful owner in Falkirk of Sisters. ACC clothing next door on the other side, now Quest and Outdoor man, with Billy Mair another successful Falkirk owner. History of Independent retailers in Falkirk has been amazing for years, and to be honest should be the way forward once again.
Anyway, back to Renella and Anne.
The eighties proved a deficit time for many, going through another strong recession, both Anne and Tom knew that continual development in training and education was the way, growing their own team and implementing a strong service was the way forward.
Anne and Tom joined a company called 365-day hairdressing, pretty much as soon as this company showed up. This changed the ethos and way Renella ran, focusing strongly on business, education, and many new ways that were emerging at that time. Both Anne and Tom read many books on business and developed a team that grew to 40 strong, huge for a single salon.
When the 90s came along the salon was strong, running smooth, but Anne knew education had to change. Just when she wanted it, there was a path, NVQ qualifications in Hairdressing appeared, with Hairdressing being the first industry to have such qualifications and Anne being Anne just had to do the pilot Level 3, going onto to be one of the first to gain the qualification and then going onto gain her D32 and D33 assessor qualification shortly after. Not content their Anne gained her D34 which nowadays we call it by the name IQA or internal quality assessor. All tis meant as a salon we could deliver the best training, and make sure our team got the best hairdressing education anyone could. Anne is responsible for many hairdressers around Falkirk and beyond, being what they are today.
All this led the salon to win several training awards such as Best training salon, individual training awards, investors in people and many more. It also had the team members, such as Alison Kidd, who is still with us today as a manager gaining training and awards too ad Anne’s son Ross starting hairdressing in the start of the 90s also going through all qualifications and now owning the family business.
Anne has always been at the forefront of services, introducing the salon to extensions as soon as they came out being the first salon to do them in Scotland, doing the first clipper cut, on her son ross when he was still at school and many other new ways and methods. Anne has and still does like to know what’s new and can we introduce it to our clients and team.
With the millennium arrival, Anne’s busy clientele never shrank, with most of her clients being with her from day one, someone like Sheila Shimmons, who I am sure wont mind me telling that she was Anne’s first model when at Greens. Sheila always came to Anne and like all her clients would have her back now in a minute if they could, as their hair and Anne’s commitment to their service never wavered. That’s pretty much 50 years with the same stylist, now that’s amazing.
Anne became so well known in hairdressing and teaching of it that people such as HABIA asked Anne to be their Scottish Chairperson, which was a great position to hold at the time, helping to shape hairdressing and the qualifications, through many years. Being part of the HABIA skills team, when her son Ross had previously joined, working on stage presenting and helping to promote the need for qualifications.
Right up to present day 2018, and although Anne has hung up her scissors on clients, she now helps run and keeps the quality of the Renella Team and now others as she helps grow our Academy that we opened in 2015, known as Medusa Training, a government funded training academy delivering SVQ’s to Renella and now over 60 learners from other salons also. Anne has way too much information in her to not keep passing it on and as a salon and an academy we want Anne to remain doing tis for many more successful years to come. If Anne was a computer, I would urge any hairdresser to plug themselves in and download from her, many of us wouldn’t be who we are in hairdressing if it wasn’t for Anne Miller, and the Legacy that she has developed.
Thank you, Anne, for the years that you have given to Falkirk, to the business Renella and to the many, many past and present team members that you have taught and given a career too. we are who we are in hairdressing because you supported us and continue too. An incredible teacher, educator, and most of all, hairdresser.
“For me training is a way of life, it means new, exciting and challenging, as a salon owner it means staff continuation, knowledge, quality, client satisfaction, and ultimately making a good solid business (Anne Miller).”
“There is never nothing to do (Anne Miller).”