Monday, 21 February 2011

An interview with... Sarah Smith, founder of Beauty Retreat

Years in beauty industry: 2

Sarah Smith has recently launched Beauty Retreat, a mobile beauty service in Kent and Central London, which brings salon treatments to people's homes. She also pens her thoughts and reviews at I Heart Cosmetics, a popular lifestyle blog. Sarah talks to Your Beauty Industry about making the leap into self-employment, attending training courses to learn a new trade and the importance of investing in the best suppliers you can afford.



What made you decide to set up your own mobile beauty service?
I love beauty treatments myself but often find booking an appointment and then rushing to it, finding parking and then waiting in the reception of the salon for my appointment really stressful. I decided I wanted to offer a service to go to people so they could be relaxed in their own surroundings and take away the hassle of travelling to the salon. It is also a lot more suitable for the elderly or less mobile who perhaps just cannot get out much.

"Places such as Salon Geek were invaluable for learning where was good and bad to train"
How did you go about getting qualified as a beauty technician?
I researched for ages before training, as I wanted to go with reputable and well respected (and accredited) training courses. Places such as Salon Geek (www.salongeek.com) were invaluable for learning where was good and bad to train.

Were you already trained or did you learn specifically to be able to launch Beauty Retreat?
I had the training specifically to be able to launch my own business. To start with I thought I would just offer mobile tanning but then I realised how passionate I felt about all aspects of beauty and how much I enjoy learning new skills and making people feel gorgeous! So now I offer a range of beauty services, including eyelash extensions, tanning and various manicure and pedicures.

How have you found the experience of being self-employed so far?
Very liberating; it is so nice not to have to bow and scrape for someone else’s approval and just go with your own ideas and initiative.

What are the challenges of running your own business?

Managing you time, the accounts, stock taking and generally not having anyone else to bounce ideas off of. I like a challenge though!

What would your top tips be for anyone wanting to set up their own beauty business?
Research your market - don’t just go for cheap products and marketing; invest in the best you can afford.  Save up for a well-designed website as a bad one can be more of a turn off than no website at all. I am taking the time to get my website right, so for now I direct people to my Facebook page for more information.

"The quote by Henry Ford sums up the advice I would give someone else: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right”"
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I don’t think I have ever been given any business advice!  I think the quote by Henry Ford sums up the advice I would give someone else: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right”.  I think this is so true; self-belief is very important.

Who inspires you in your work?
My friend Angela is a big inspiration to me, she is such an amazing and hard working person but also so lovely at the same time. She really has helped me believe in myself and made me realise anything is possible.

Anything else you would like to add?
For anyone thinking about starting up their own business I would urge you to give it a go, put your all into it and don’t look back!

Visit www.facebook.com/beautyretreatkent and www.iheartcosmetics.co.uk

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