Salon view: Simply Gorgeous Beauty
Community, customer service and creativity are what makes Melanie Lewendon and her salon, Simply Gorgeous Beauty in Derby, stand out. Taking on any challenge presented to her, “no” does not seem to enter her vocabulary.
Having recently moved to larger premises, upgrading from two treatment rooms to seven and expanding her therapist team, she could be forgiven for taking the time to enjoy this success, but on talking to her it is clear that she is already thinking to the future, with plans to develop a training academy above the new salon.
Lewendon was 33 when she left her civil service job and retrained as a beauty therapist. Coming so late into the game she felt she had a lot to prove, to herself and her children. She says, “My inspiration was to make them proud. I had a lot riding on it and I wanted to show that this can be done. I want other people to take inspiration from what I have achieved.”
Understanding the challenges young therapists face when they’re starting out, Lewendon now only recruits her staff fresh out of college, as she feels that this way they will learn her methods from the start.
“I don’t take anyone unless they meet with my work ethic and they all do. We wouldn’t work this hard if we didn’t. I do fourteen-hour days because this is what I am passionate about,” she says.
Simply Gorgeous Beauty has been involved in the local community since the day it started, taking part in local fairs, working with Macmillan hosting coffee mornings, and with blind and deaf care groups. For working clients, the salon stays open until 9pm on weeknights. “I looked at the demographic around where I am and realised that these women are only available in the later evenings. They love the fact that can come in for late night facials in their pyjamas,” she says.
“We open five late nights a week, and we have master classes, where 30 ladies can come and have some wine and their nails done, get some tips and tricks for nails.”
It's the bespoke nail painting services that keep Lewendon’s clients coming back time and again, however, those skills did not come easily. “While I was training, I actually struggled with painting nails because I had an overactive thyroid and my hand shook,” she explains.
The turning point came when she had her thyroid removed two years ago. “That was the turning point for me. I had always loved nails, but after that I could do all this amazing stuff.”
Since then, Lewendon’s steady hand and artistic skills developed nail art into one of the main stays of the business, and she’s happy to experiment if a client wants something a bit unusual on her nails. “If a person wants a picture of Monty Python on their nails then I’ll be the woman to do it. Every day is varied but I will never say no to anything,” she says. “I have always been a bit of a perfectionist – I think you have to be in this job.”