Rolling back the years

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Martha Moser was delighted when two former staff from Charles of Switzerland, which she used to run with her husband Charles, offered in April to arrange a reunion as part of her birthday celebrations.

The result was a special lunch held at the end of last month at La Moye Golf Club attended by 38 former staff, one of whom travelled from Switzerland and two from the UK.

Charles of Switzerland opened in La Motte Street in 1958, where it traded for 23 years before moving to Beresford Street, where the business was based for another nine years.

Charles Moser moved from near Lucerne to Jersey in 1953 to help the owner of salon Leos in Colomberie.

He became manager there, and soon interviewed Martha Schai, also from Switzerland, whom he employed as a stylist the following year. Within four years they were married – the same year that Charles opened the salon in La Motte Street. It grew to become a very busy and successful business with 31 chairs and 20 staff.

Working with Charles and Martha during their many years in business was Martha’s sister, Blanca, who was in charge of housekeeping as well as working in the salon.

When nearby building works in La Motte Street caused structural problems, they had to find alternative premises, and moved to a more prominent home in Beresford Street. The couple remained in business there until their retirement in 1988.

Charles then had more time for golf and the couple also enjoy gardening. Asked why she believed they had been so successful, Martha said that they had tried to keep up with fashionable styles, and had believed in the importance of training young people to a high standard of work.

‘There was a family atmosphere in the salon, and we believed in treating clients as individuals and equal whatever walk of life they came from.’

Former staff members Julie Le Mottee and Fay Binding organised the reunion, and among those present was Michael Moyse, who worked at the salon for 24 years before setting up his own business.

Martha said that the get-together had been very emotional as many of those present had not seen each other for years. ‘It was a day we shall never forget, and we are very grateful for those who made it possible,’ she said.

Some 40 former staff of hair salon Charles of Switzerland gather at La Moye Golf Club to celebrate Charles’s 80th birthday. Picture by Jon Guegan (00752679)

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