Tonypandy is one of those South Wales towns where you’re made to feel welcome the minute you get out of your car. Within five minutes of our arrival we had said hello to five locals, were directed to the local Ice Cream parlour (really good by the way), had a coffee in town and knew the life story of the owner by the time we left.

What you may not know about this former industrial coal mining town, in the heart of Rhondda Cynon Taf, is that it’s also the new business home of celebrity hair stylist, and now salon owner NICHOLAS JAMES.

Nick is a Valleys boy through and through but left to make his name and build his reputation, which he most certainly did. He’s worked at some of the best known salons in Shrewsbury and has an enviable list of celebrity clients to his name, including TOWIE favourite GEMMA COLLINS.

Nicholas may have left Tonypandy as a young ambitious boy, desperate to make his mark, but the Valleys are a strange place, and have the power to call you back when the time is right, and lockdown proved that this was the place to take his next step up the hairdressing ladder.

Nick has spent 14 years working away, honing his talents, but he’s had a lifetime of dreaming to open his own salon and as he says

“Never giving up on my dreams has allowed me to bring this salon home. The last ten years have given me a vast understanding, broadened mindset and a clear vision to what came next.”

NICHOLAS JAMES isn’t your regular salon in the Valleys, it’s a touch of class, provides high-end expertise and cutting edge visions. Nick is however, a firm believer that he wants to ‘give back‘ to the people who nurtured him as an ambitious teenager all those years ago.

So, when Nick invited South Wales Life along to see what his salon had to offer who were we to turn it down. Tonypandy is always a warm and friendly place to visit, but what we saw through the navy and gold painted salon front was truly awesome. This is not only a place to have your hair styled by Nicholas, but it’s the whole package. They offer treatments, hair extensions, make-up, photography and so much more.

We spoke to Nicholas about his time away from the Valleys and what inspired him to open this luxurious salon. Of course, we had to find out about his celebrity work, especially his time with Gemma Collins. But we start our interview with the obvious question – why Tonypandy?


We were in the salon for a coupe of hours, in some really luxurious surroundings. No matter what adorns the walls and ceiling, it’s the people who make a business a success.

Nick and his team were friendly and helpful and the clients we saw during our time there clearly loved the attention they were given. Nick’s Mum was also there and seeing them together was a real joy.

We want to say a big thanks to Leah for allowing us to eat in to her treatment time too – thanks Leah.

NICHOLAS JAMES is now open on Tylacelen Road in the heart of Tonypandy, drive or walk down the road and we guarantee you’ll see it.

You can connect with Nicholas on Instagram @nicholasjamestuckerhair or @nicholasjamessalon