A former Dragons' Den contestant believes his new Glasgow venture could help save more Scottish hairdressing salons from closing their doors.

According to figures, at least 5000 salons across the UK  - 52 every week - have closed since the start of the pandemic, including big names like Vidal Sassoon, while apprenticeships in the industry have fallen by 30%.

Kieran Cannon, 31, who clinched a £100,000 deal with Hamleys after being rejected by all five dragons on the hit BBC2 show, says the figures showed smaller businesses need more support to balance the books.

Around 60% of those in the industry are self-employed and the figure is likely to have increased with more salon redundancies during the pandemic.

He said the "community" of the hair industry had been lost and replaced with "sales, competition and profit over people".

He has launched a one-stop-shop hair and beauty supplies business that also offers salon owners workshops on all the practical skills needed to run a business.

"The fact that 5000 salons have gone out of business shows that they don't know how to run a successful salon," said the entrepreneur, who lives in Bearsden.

The Herald:

"Around 60% of hair professionals are self-employed and they need more support than they’re currently getting.

"I think this is going to rise when hairdressers realise they can make more money going freelance.

"Right now, salons have to go to different people for support with different things. HDS will provide all the support they need in one placed, whether that’s to help with business development,  technical skills, recruitment or marketing. 

READ MORE: World famous hairdressing brand moves out of Glasgow after 34 years 

"We’ll also provide practical advice in areas such as payment support, assistance with social media, support with product knowledge, or even advice on utilities provision.

He said the business, in Glasgow's west end, offered something unique in "a hugely fragmented industry."

Mr Cannon previously worked for major hairdressing brand Wella and said smaller salons were at a disadvantage because firms favoured larger salons -with a bigger spend - for educational workshops in how to use the products.

The new store includes an education space and runway and stocks more than 2000 brands.

The Herald:

He said: "I would be putting training requests in for a salon in the south side of Glasgow, which maybe has four stylists and I would get knocked back because their spend was not enough.

"To me, that is a crazy model because how can you get them to spend more if you are not educating them in how to use the products. That just doesn't exist, it's a fragmented industry.

"That's who we are really looking to champion, all the freelancers, self-employed and smaller salons on the high street."

READ MORE: Glasgow hairdresser who was high achieving pupil wants to end industry stigma

The entrepreneur appeared on Dragon's Den in 2013 at the age of 22 with his mother Tracey, a hairdresser who has run several salons.

The pair sank every penny they had into creating their £65 My Lookalike Doll – an 18in figure which children can customise to make 'mini-me' versions of themselves.

They were told by all five Dragons on the hit BBC2 show that they should give up on their dreams after they asked for a £75,000 investment.

However, they had the last laugh after securing a £100,000 deal with toy store Hamleys for their product.

He later branched into bars and restaurants but says he has come "full circle" with the new business, which he co-founded with his partner Gemma Lennon. 

He said: "Dragons Den was an amazing experience but it was selling a brand or product that wasn't necessarily at the core of my passion. 

"Four years ago I decided to take a break from business and go travelling because I was burning myself out.

"I wanted to create a business that gave something back and fostered a sense of community."