Jennifer left school at the age of 15 in order to follow her dream of starting her own salon.
And since launching the Cheynes Hairdressing group in 1976, her business has grown by leaps and bounds.
Today, she oversees a team of some 150 people as the head of one of Britain’s most prominent salon chains.
Yet she’s also invested heavily in education.
A successful apprenticeship training company, Cheynes Training has successfully delivered more than 8000 apprenticeship awards since its founding in 1989.
In fact, it was actually the first national training provider for hairdressing in the UK, which launched the NVQ programme with the full approval of the UK government.
The scheme oversees 16 academies – three in central London, three on the south coast of England, one in Peterborough, one in north-west England and eight others.
Those educators provide world-class training to more than 200 salons from Dundee to Dorset, and at any one time have more than 500 young people enrolled in the programme. Last year, 85 per cent of the programme students completed the course,
In turn, the repute of those regional academies has even attracted international attention.
After a deluge of international requests, in the early 1990s, Jennifer and her creative team decided to launch Cheynes Education – an Edinburgh-based school where hairdressers from all over the world have come to learn the Cheynes techniques. As a result, Jennifer has been recognised as a pioneer within the UK business world.
She was named the first woman and the first Scot to be appointed President of the London-based Fellowship for British Hairdressing, which promotes the best of the business.
That was just one on a lengthy list of accolades, including a Great Scot Award.
Jennifer – who has also worked tirelessly for charity over the last 37 years – said she was shocked to have been nominated as part of the Queen’s New Year 2014 Honours List.
She said: “I am totally surprised, honoured and absolutely delighted to receive such a prestigious award.”
As well as her hairdressing empire, Jennifer runs a property empire with her husband Cliff Anderson, with residental and commercial sites in Edinburgh, Marbella and Los Angeles.
She has two children, fashion photographer daughter Ebony, who lives in Paris, and son Elliott, who runs an alloy wheel company in Marbella.