Why supporting a small beauty business is supporting a dream
At 19 years old, I decided to open a business. It sounds very inspiring but in reality, I started out with two small rooms, a reception area and cubicles at the top of a narrow staircase above a hairdressing shop.
The salon was in a sleepy village just over the Welsh border with no more than a few shops and post office. With very little footfall it was a big risk, but it was my dream.
What title should I give myself – Owner? Proprietor? Manager? Senior Therapist? All those titles seemed way too grand, so I didn’t use any of them. I had met some lovely women while doing my training and got in contact with them to ask if they would like to work with me.
The three of us filled those rooms with fun and laughter and built repeat clients by providing quality treatments at a reasonable price, with a little bit of magic sprinkled in. The magic was in our service, making each one of our clients smile when they walked through the door until the moment they left, like when you catch up with friends. It was a special time and it felt as if my dreams had fallen into place.
The unforeseen costs
Sounds blissful doesn’t it, but would you like to hear the truth now? There were bills and costs that I hadn’t anticipated. Long hours day after day. I had to accommodate client’s busy schedules, fearing that they would go to another salon instead. Luckily, the staff I employed were friends and they were loyal – they are still with me 19 years on.
I wanted the salon to bigger, better, shinier, and I wanted to give my clients the very latest treatments in the most beautiful surroundings. Sometimes I felt like I needed the planets to align to make everything fall into place. I was spinning all the plates and it was often hard on my own.
My love for beauty therapy has never wavered, and my love for people and making them happy is as strong now as ever. One client arrived for a manicure 17 years ago and has been a part of my team as a holistic therapist ever since.
For me, having a small business means that I can fill the salon with passion and energy. I choose a hands-on approach and thrive when working within a team. Personality and expertise are the two fundamental traits on my tick list.
I’m now 40 and the salon is still in that same little sleepy village, however, it has definitely woken up. I’ve moved the business down to a larger premise due to increased footfall and this has given the salon a platform to be better, bigger and shinier.
This extra space meant I could offer new treatments with the same sprinkle of magic and my amazing team has expanded to 10 staff. Along with my three children, my salon is not only my whole life, it is still my dream.
Rebecca Griffiths is owner of The Secret Spa in Chester and won Therapist of the Year at the Professional Beauty Awards 2018. In the past 12 months, she has worked with Parisian skincare brand Darphin to develop signature facials.