Leigh is an accomplished beauty therapist and nail artist who just loves what she does – and it shows in her work! She shares with us her story about how she got started, questioning if she could turn her passion into a successful career, and the challenges she has faced running a business.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger I wanted to work in a zoo. I loved animals and wanted to spend every day with them
Please can you tell us about your journey and how you first got interested in beauty therapy?
When I left school, I was never 100% sure what I wanted to do as a career. I enjoyed art and photography at A-level but had always had an interest in health and beauty. I applied to go to university as I thought that was what I was supposed to do, but very quickly, once I got there, I realised that it wasn’t for me. I moved back home and applied to my local college where I was recommended to join the beauty course. From day one on that course I knew this was the career path I wanted to follow, and have never looked back.
What was your very first job?
My first job was when I was 13/14 and I was a pot washer in a local cafe every Saturday morning.
What is a typical day like?
A typical working day is busy and nonstop. I get up and ready, drive to my salon, tidy and set up ready to start a back to back day of clients. I try to give myself a lunch break each day, and then drive home for dinner and chill and catch up on tv. If I get an early finish or a late start I’ll fit in a gym class too.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about being a beautician is the pleasure of making your clients feel amazing. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your client leave the salon with a new-found confidence after their treatment, whether it’s nails, brows or lashes.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
The most challenging part of my job is running my own salon. It’s always hard to keep up with clients whilst replying to messages, cleaning and reordering stock etc. But no matter how challenging this is, it’s all worth it as I do the job I love.
What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a beauty therapist?
The most inspirational moment of my career has to be when I was asked to create a set of nails that would go on a young girl’s prosthetic arm. The arm was being made by a bespoke designer and she wanted the hand to have interchangeable nails so we worked together to make this possible.
What qualities do you feel are important to develop and work on as a beauty therapist?
To work in the beauty industry, I think it is important to be patient, sociable, creative and hard working.
What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
I’d advise anyone currently training or wanting to train to never give up and to keep practicing. Nothing comes easy, and practice makes perfect.
What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
Before starting my career in beauty, I wish I knew how great it was. I was so worried when I started whether I would fit in, whether clients would want to come to me and whether I was good enough. Seven years later and I do the job I love and am fortunate enough to have clients that I can call my friends.
Where would you like to be in five years?
In five years, I hope to still have a busy salon. Continuing to develop my nail art and creating new designs for my clients. But also, to do some training so I can eventually teach, and pass my passion onto others.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like to go to the gym, walk my dog or spend time with my friends.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want to have with you?
Camera, sun cream, my bed.
What’s your favourite quotation or mantra?
“Everything happens for a reason”.
Many thanks Leigh for your fantastic entry and sharing your experience with us. Click here to see more of Leigh’s work.