I think most people would agree that once you have found a career that you absolutely love you naturally want to show others all about it! Hence what lead me into teaching Beauty Therapy, although this took me a little while to realise how much I did love the Beauty industry!
Most of you may know that my Mum is Debbie Allen – co-owner of Allen and Walden. Her business partner Jenny Walden has become somewhat of an unrelated aunt to me over the years and they have both passed onto me tremendous amounts of knowledge.
From a very young age, I was brought up in the world of Beauty and was always fascinated by the hair and makeup competitions my mum involved me with from as early as 5 years old. As soon as I took a slight interest my Mum had started me with a small nail desk in my bedroom – to this day I remember painting with red nail varnish (nail techs will know this is one of the harder colours to learn with as it shows up everything!) and Mum repeatedly saying “Not quite, do it again” until I had reached perfection with the three stroke rule. This taught me to be a perfectionist from early on.
However, leaving school and both Mum and Jenny asking me did I want to further my career in the Beauty and work on a part-time basis for them my automatic response was “No!” Probably because naturally, as a sixteen-year-old, you know best and want to go off into the world and make your own decisions.
I did stay in a salon environment but completed my level two and three in hairdressing and worked as a hair stylist for almost four years, with my side lines of nails and tanning treatments brows and makeup. The hair world was not for me though and I do feel there is a huge difference between the hair and beauty sectors. I was always most interested in the “transformation” side of hair and Beauty where you can see immediate results and instant glamour.
My hobby at this time was competing my horse at show jumping. I had horses from an early age so when my current yard owner offered me a job as a riding instructor, I jumped at it (I was already studying for my British horse riding exams). This is the eureka moment I realised that I loved teaching the things that I enjoyed doing. So, for a time I worked two jobs, continuing to run my Beauty business part time alongside being a riding instructor for both able bodied and disabled riders.
Working two very different jobs was hard and turning a hobby into a career as I tried with horses doesn’t always work. I wanted to keep my riding as a hobby and use it as some down time for myself and concentrate on developing my skills as a Beauty therapist.
At this time, I was helping out at Allen and Walden occasionally and also continuing my training in all aspects of Beauty Therapy. So, I spoke to Mum and Jenny and asked if that job offer (years later) would still be possible. As it happened, they needed an extra pair of hands for admin- do not ever think because I am family I did not have to start from the bottom because I did! I am very thankful for that because it taught me great life lessons. Admin and cleaning duties would also have to be done in any salon split between the therapists- it is very much an all hands-on deck industry.
So I continued my training both at Allen and Walden and also with other companies in the UK and abroad for my Semi-permanent makeup, and built a successful business for myself while working 3 days a week for Allen and Walden and building my Beauty therapy business.
They said this takes around a year to get a full book but I managed to knuckle down and persisted with this and with a lot of determination managed to do it in six months. I was able at this time to help out in teaching sessions as an assistant which was invaluable experience for me too. I was itching to start teaching again properly so I studied for my teaching and assessors qualifications and gradually was able to do more and more in the lessons.
The opportunity came up for me to take on and run a spa in Canterbury within a large country hotel and Golf club. I then had to work my socks off 3 days a week at Allen and Walden and then 4 days a week in my Spa that I co ran with a business partner! That meant a really full on 7 day working week. A bit of hard graft never hurt anyone but now I like my Sundays off! Being at the Spa meant I got to use all my skills and did a lot of massage therapies as well as my aesthetic type treatments. I learnt so much during that period of time and feel having the experience of running a Spa and managing staff has helped me so much with my teaching career.
I love working for myself as well as teaching. Carrying on with clients enables me to keep up to date with treatments and have a lot of stories and experiences to share with my students- some of which have them roaring with laughter! This is so important to have this experience to be able to answer any questions students may have and to pass your knowledge on.
I keep up to date with latest trends and treatments as this is vital in our forever changing industry- hence why I love it! You can never be bored in the world of beauty as there are so many options and several new treatments coming out each year.
So why do I love teaching? I get to meet fantastic groups of students every week all eager to learn, I get to pass on what I love to do and it is so rewarding seeing how they all do at the end of their training once they are up and running. I keep an eye on student’s Instagram and Facebook pages and they do so well! I am amazed at some of their microblading and nail art work!
For those of you who are thinking about teaching I would always recommend carrying on with your clients- even if this is part time. Always further your knowledge to keep up with our industry and keep enthusiastic- no one likes a boring tutor!