Friday, 22 August 2014

Advice For Therapists: Kayleigh Marley's Story

Hi there!! My name is Kayleigh and I am 21 years old.  I’ve been in the industry for 5 years (5 crazy, busy, not so busy, nerve wracking and exciting years!!) and my business name is Little Luxury.


I will start of by being completely honest and saying.. if you think studying hair, beauty or nails and setting up on your own will be an easy ride and you will be run off your feet with customers from day one, you are completely wrong!!  It takes determination, courage, hard work and consistency - BUT - it is so worth it!! (even on the bad days.)

I wasn’t the typical person that can say I knew for a long time that I wanted to be in this industry, I fell into it!!  At the age of 14 I started looking for a work placement for high school, thinking I wanted to go into primary school teaching.  I contacted my local arts centre but was let down for my placement last minute.  I ended up running around to my local hairdressing salon and doing two weeks placement there.

I can still remember my first day at my placement, my mum had to teach me how to make a cup of tea (I know, terrible!! I’m a coffee drinker, that’s my excuse!) I was taught how to wash hair, make appointments, take payments and of course, clean up. After a month or so I received a phone call asking me to come back working on a Saturday and Thursday evening as a little extra help. I figured it was a little cash for me, why not?! So I officially had my first ever job at 14 as a Saturday girl - how exciting!!  During the summer holidays, I sat thinking over and over how much I enjoyed the atmosphere of the salon and enjoyed watching the hairdresser working.  I then cancelled my college application and re-applied for hairdressing (Just like that!!)

One of my first set of enhancements - eek!
My nail training began with a fast track nail course through Alan Howard with Michelle Porter which was virtually took a few days and then your qualified!  Looking back I can honestly say that without any past training, this course was a waste of money and time, which is just my opinion!

It consisted of the very basic theory work, how to prepare the natural nail and how to apply a full set of enhancements.  We then had to come back a few weeks later after working on as many models as we could to pass an assessment. At the time, this course was perfect.  I would be qualified in the matter of a month or two and I could get working, I was young, foolish, impatient and too eager to get started.

After completing a couple of fast track training courses with Alan Howard and Sallys Salon Services, I began my hairdressing qualification at college.  I spent two years studying my hairdressing qualification (one year a full time college course and the second year as an apprentice.) I have to say I learnt the most whilst on my hairdressing apprenticeship.  I definitely think apprenticeship 'hands on' training gives you a lot more salon experience. Looking back at my first year of full time studying it was so obvious to which students worked or didn’t work in a salon because of the skill, confidence and attitude difference.

At the same time, I studied my level 2 &3 nail services NVQ on a college part time evening course.  I enjoyed and hugely benefited from both of these courses and would recommend local college training to anyone.  The only flaw to training through a college in my opinion is that I feel like some of the training can be old school as the tutors and the courses don't keep up with the fast moving industry.  Also, once you qualify and leave college you haven’t really got anyone to go back to, pick up the phone and ring or ask a quick question to.

I am also trained in HD brows, CND shellac, Fake Bake and Dermalogica which I'll talk in more depth about.

HD Brows
HD Brows is a fabulous course and I came out feeling more than comfortable doing the treatment on paying clients.  What impressed me the most was the fact that you worked in pairs and had a trainer per couple CONSTANTLY.  The support throughout the few days was perfect and once trained is constant.  I definitely believe it is worth the money.  A refresher one day course is also included 6 months after training.  The company and all the staff (even when ringing up and talking to people at head office) are extremely passionate about the brand/ treatment.

Creative Academy Manchester
CND Shellac training through Creative Academy Manchester.. I did this training in 2009 and since then the course has changed.  The most impressive part about CND is the continuous support through face book and in academy events. The company is always putting on events for new colours, new products or new techniques and they do not hesitate once if you want to pop in to the store, ring, email or face book them for support, a quick question or problem you may be having. They go above and beyond at any chance they can.

Fake Bake 
The training for this was good.  I came out more than capable and had a good knowledge about their products.  However if you are looking for a brand that is supportive and organised, they are not the right company for you.  I had situations when I was trying to place an order (as a small business I couldn’t afford to buy in bulk) there would be NO STOCK and I would be told it would be a few weeks wait - this is not good enough for me!!

My main advice about training would be to RESEARCH. Do every bit of research possible on the company, the brand and the products.  Speak to other therapists, hairdressers or techs and see what their opinion is.  Search for reviews on the training, check out Salon Geek and MAKE SURE THEY ARE AN APPROVED TRAINER/COURSE.  When you are setting out on your own the hardest part is raising the money and any bit of money saved or lost can make a HUGE difference (I learnt this the hard way.)

My 'newbie' tips
  • After your training is practice, practice, practice.  Get as many volunteers and 'guinea pigs' as you can until you feel completely confident to charge for your work.  
  • Remember, don’t do yourself out of pocket when you start charging clients, friends or family.  Always make sure you cover your products, your time and charge what you are worth.  I made the mistake of going in at a stupidly low price and honestly, I am still paying for that now and still trying to find a way of increasing my prices to the price they are worth!  
  • Don’t let people put you down because “you’ve only just qualified.”
Our Beauty Room
It is hard at first to spread the word, get your name out there and find customers. Word of mouth is and always will be the best advertisement but the other way I did it and still do it is Facebook. People love to see pictures, it encourages them to follow you, ask questions and book an appointment! I can say 70% of my clients came or still come from Facebook.  The main tip is to be consistent, communicate with others on there, run competitions to spread the word of your page and not always posting about hair, nails or beauty.. Put up a picture of something not relevant at all to get people liking/sharing/interacting.

There will always be set backs; competition, building clients, getting the money together, take it step by step.  You don’t need the best and most expensive brand or the most expensive décor in the salon.  I’ve been in my salon for 6 months now and I still have so much more I want to do but I like to think that I can buy more as I go along and I can invest more as the business grows.  My clients love coming in and seeing something new or something slightly changed.

Give your clients the best treatment and experience possible every time they come in, even if its just for a quick eyebrow wax or to pop in for a price list.  Giving them the time to chat, answer any questions or give any advice makes them feel comfortable and special and they go out knowing they will be back.

My salon in Scratch Magazine
My business now
I have gone from renting spaces within other beauty salons, to working alongside other therapists, to working mobile and also working within a well known hotel spa to renting my own beauty side to a hairdressing salon.  I have had a lot of ups and a lot of downs through the past five years and learnt A LOT from my experiences. Always take your experiences (whether they are good or bad from your side or others) and learn from them. n Make a note of things you would or wouldn’t do again, or things you have learnt from others to grow yourself and your business.  I have now taken on my very first employee (an apprentice) and have lots of plans for the next 6 months to grow and build the salon but I take it step by step, day by day and always stay level headed. 

You can check us out on:
Twitter - LittleLuxN
Instagram - Littleluxurynails

If you're local get in touch!!
Little Luxury
Based within Elle & Esse Hair
2 Lodge Lane, Warrington
WA5 0AG 

Good Luck for your very exciting future.. And remember.. Step by step, day by day!

Thanks Kayleigh!  This post was written as part of a series to help new therapists.  To keep up to date on the latest posts, please follow my Facebook page 

More posts can be found directly under the banner in the 'Advice For New Therapists' tab including posts I've written specifically on building my client base, advertising and much more. 

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