Director of Alan Howard
For almost fifty years, Alan Howard has been a dedicated partner for professional hairdressers. Not just connecting them to industry-leading brands, but pioneering their own innovative product ranges too. All whilst building a network of trade retail hubs and training academies to support, educate and inspire professionals across the industry they love.
We spoke to Anton about Alan Howard’s partnership with HURST, their aspirations for the future, and the unique challenges of helping to lead the family business.
My dad started the company almost fifty years ago, and it’s been a story of growth and evolution – always putting the needs of professional hairdressers at the heart of everything we do. We’ve grown to a team of several hundred talented people, and a turnover of almost £40m, with 25 trade retail hubs and a portfolio of websites. HURST have been an important part of that journey for the last ten years.
We first met back in 2011, during an acquisition of another business in Leeds. Our bank insisted we involved a second accountancy firm for due diligence, and they introduced us to HURST. I guess the rest is history, because we haven’t looked back since.
Our previous accountant was quite one-dimensional. Don’t get me wrong - they were really good at what they did, but it was all about accounts and audit – nothing else. Suddenly we were being met with all these new ideas, event invitations, expert articles, and it opened our eyes to a different kind of accountancy partner… one that would proactively improve our business and help to keep us ahead of the competition. Switching was a difficult decision on a number of levels, but it’s been a pivotal decision too and 100% the right move for us.
"Working with HURST opened our eyes to a different kind of accountancy partner… one that would proactively improve our business and help to keep us ahead of the competition"
HURST’s support has spanned everything from audit and accounts to all forms of tax advice, and consultancy around our long-term plans. I’d go as far as saying that Mike and the team have helped to change our mindset and influenced every level of the organisation, from the way we’re structured to our people and our strategic vision for the business and brands.
Their experience in supporting family-owned companies has been a definite benefit too. Although my dad is still heavily involved in the business, my brother Jon and I have become increasingly influential leaders over the past twenty years. That brings its own unique challenges as we navigate the best ways of working together. HURST’s breadth of experience and unique understanding has definitely helped us to find the right balance, for us as individuals and for the business as a whole.
From a personal perspective, when I talk to HURST I know I’m talking directly to people that understand our business and our challenges as leaders. That means their advice is always relevant, and it’s always from someone that we respect as being switched-on and ahead of the game. They’re an invaluable partner.
HURST in three words: Professional. Supportive. Innovative.
To find out more about Alan Howard, their family brands, and their long-standing dedication to professional hairdressers, click here to visit their website.