Nikki-lee Hampton
Kojo & Lee

This morning was generously hosted by 99 Mary Street.

‘The more people that came, the more confidence it gave me, and the more I realised people were going to get it.’

Nikki-lee AKA Kojo & Lee can be found behind an unassuming door in Sheffield’s Devonshire Quarter, in a hair salon like no other. A hidden oasis of calm in the city, Kojo & Lee is a place where creator Nikki-lee helps ease the anxiety of others through styling hair in an extraordinary room of one’s own.

‘Kojo & Lee is the speak easy of hair salons.’

Since aged 14, Nikki-lee had worked in traditional, busy hair salons. She absolutely loved it and was soon managing a salon across the Pennines in Manchester city centre. But the hectic salon life ran Nikki-lee down, she wanted more time with her clients to creatively think of something different and new for their hair, not tight time slots and targets.

‘I thought the only way to have a salon was to do it the way everyone else was doing it.’

Nikki-lee left Manchester and returned to Sheffield to find something new which was both creative and could fit around her daughters. A friend offered a room above the Great Gatsby, a cocktail bar in the heart of town, so she could keep cutting hair but get out of the house.

Nikki-lee had a chair, record player, and some Kate Bush records. On her first day she had two clients but was anxious about how she was going to get more. Then Nikki-lee discovered Instagram. She posted a picture of a David Bowie record.

‘Without knowing it was me starting to create that feel that my salon was different and relaxed.’

Kojo & Lee then got it’s own premises just a little further down the road. It isn’t shiny, busy, or loud – it’s a calm above the storm, a place which took over a year of love and building work to be fully completed.

One room has since become five. A (secret) house of independent stylists, each with their own one chair in their own room.

‘Kojo & Lee is a place with a slower agenda and focus on reducing that rushed, anxious feeling often found in busy salons.’

Anxiety is a story that we tell ourselves; it’s a magnification of possible failures paired with self-talk that undermines our chances of success.

Anxiety is created from within, not outside. Self-sabotage may always be part of the creative process and the sooner we can accept that the clearer we can be in the decision we need to make to move forward.

This morning was generously hosted by 99 Mary Street.