Portsmouth hairdressers celebrate 50 years in marriage and 45 years in business

FOR two hairdressing stalwarts, 2021 is not only a special year for their business – it also marks 50 years of marriage.

Barbara Ott and her husband Otto are celebrating 45 years since their business Hair Ott was established and they recently celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Picture: Sarah Standing (250321-5415)
Barbara Ott and her husband Otto are celebrating 45 years since their business Hair Ott was established and they recently celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Picture: Sarah Standing (250321-5415)

Otto and Barbara Ott, who own the Hair Ott salon group, are celebrating 45 years in business, as well as their golden wedding anniversary.

The Ott salon group started in 1976 and it now has three salons in Waterlooville, Whiteley and Cosham where they also run the award-winning Apprenticeship Training Academy.

Otto, 71, and Barbara, 73, who work together every day, first met in 1970 at London nightclub Chalet Suisse.

Hair Ott in Cosham High Street. Picture: Sarah Standing (250321-5429)

Barbara noticed how Otto made his move, whilst sitting with a group of fellow German friends by charming her with his voice.

She said: ‘I remember he sang in my ear….and he was the most awful singer!’

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The couple hit it off and were soon married and moved to Portsmouth to open their first salon in 1976.

Barbara Ott and her husband Otto are celebrating 45 years since their business Hair Ott was established and they recently celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Picture: Sarah Standing (250321-5395)

Barbara took time off to raise their two children Gregory, now aged 46 and Laura, 42 as the hairdresser’s expanded into the large business and training group it is today.

Over the years the couple have seen a lot of changes from 1970s perms via the 90s Rachel Cut to the current trends that are shaped by social media.

Barbara said: ‘You’ve got all these influencers today and these girls they all look the same with the hair and the make up…… they don't seem to seem to choose styles for themselves.’

Having fun is also important for the couple, as a way of thanking their loyal customers and employees and they are famous for their glitzy parties, such as their 40th anniversary in 2016 at Tithe Barn in Petersfield where 100 guests danced until dawn to Caribbean bands.

Now, the pair are looking forward to salons reopening after lockdown.

Barbara and Otto have been keeping in contact with their 80-strong workforce every day via Zoom calls and this week they have re-started training at the Academy.

Otto feels that the secret to their success is having a passion for education and wanting to help people.

He said: ‘For me, it's a question of having a willingness and a passion to learn. I'm a great believer in education, so I believe that by training someone - it will change so much for their future.’

Now after weeks in lockdown. it’s not just Barbara and Otto desperate to get back into the salon – Otto said their customers are also desperate to return.

He said a visit to a salon is much more than just getting a haircut.

‘It is one of the main things is to feel human again,’ he said.

‘To really be yourself. To be pampered.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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