Spa desire

With an ambitious owner at the helm, Eastbourne-based Essential Beauty is taking its treatments to the next level with a new spa offering, discovers Suzanna Braithwaite.

Essential Beauty owner Gabriella Hill had a clear vision when she relocated her beauty salon to Eastbourne’s Little Chelsea area and transformed the business to offer spa-style treatments last year.

She felt that she could offer something different from the other salons in the area and, since opening, has found that people are pleasantly surprised to find such a high- end salon in Eastbourne. “Client feedback has been great and they often tell us that they feel like they are in a five- star resort, not a salon in a seaside town,” she says.

This can be attributed to the luxury design of the salon, which is based on Dubai’s Jumeriah Zabeel Saray Hotel, where Hill has stayed a couple of times. “I wanted to offer clients a place where they feel special, with a clear vision that is clean, calming and luxurious.”

Essential Beauty

Luxury finish
"Client feedback has been great. They often tell us that they feel like they are in a five-star resort, not a salon in a seaside town”

The salon achieves this with the use of textures from the gold mosaic wallpaper and velvet soft furnishings to the dimly lit spotlights in the corridor leading to the five treatment rooms. The dark wood doors give the place a serene, relaxed ambiance and the original pillars of the building were kept in the reception to add to the spa feel.

Hill started her business in 2011 at just 20 years old by renting a room in a gym in the town centre. It soon became apparent that the demand was there for a larger business and so she opened a standalone salon in December 2012, which offered treatments including lash extensions, tanning, waxing and nails.

After winning accolades including Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Eastbourne’s 2014 Business Awards, she set her sights on bigger premises so she could offer spa treatments. The £65,000 renovation of the new property was completed in December 2014, introducing advanced facials and body treatments from Elemis, which has allowed her to appeal to a larger range of clients.

Age appropriate
“Eastbourne is known for having an older generation living here but this is changing and our client base shows we attract a broad market, with our youngest clients being 18 and our oldest 90,” says Hill.

The salon has already reaped rewards from the refurbishment, gaining new clientele due to its prominent location and increased footfall, but Hill is far from resting on her laurels. Over the next 12 months she plans to incorporate specialist training for pregnancy massage and advanced intimate waxing. “I’m always on the look out for new and exciting treatments to offer clients,” she explains. “So I’m looking into offering Elemis Biotec treatments, as the advanced facials have proved popular among clients.” The team is also set for growth. To meet the needs of the new salon, Hill will employ a further three therapists, increasing the total to seven, and also hopes to recruit a manager to help with the extra workload. PB

Brands available at Essential BeautySalon Stats

Budget: £65,000 approx
Treatment rooms: five
Salon therapists: four plus Hill as manager
Reopened: December 2014
Size: 1,658sq ft
Brands: Elemis, CND, Hollywood Lashes, Nouveau and Sienna X