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120. Discussions with a Director: Timeline in Industry

Updated: Mar 21

When I was first starting in industry I was so inspired by the timeline of achievements shared by successful individuals featured in magazines. How did they get to where they are today? How long did it take? What career chapters did they experience? It showed a stepping ladder of events that had lead to opportunities.

Recently, I've been asked what my timeline in industry has been, where did it all begin? Today I share my timeline with you in hope if inspiring some of you who are just starting out. My message to you is that anything is possible!! The word impossible its self is actually I'm possible!

When I was nine years old I started my first job cleaning a dog grooming parlour. I would cycle down before school, turn the tunes up and clean up all of the dog hair from the previous day's business. I then moved up to sweeping up hair in a salon as a Saturday girl.

The local McDonald's franchise was owned by friends parents so they would accommodate our high school and sports schedule allowing us to work shifts around those commitments.

Then I realized if I gained some skills I could earn more money. At 16 I qualified as a lifeguard which quadrupled my hourly rate, gave me a skill that was transferable and offered multiple streams of income. I could wirk at the hotel resort during the day, teach swimming lessons in the afternoon and work at the local recreational centre in the evening when the resort pools closed for the day at 6:00pm.

Each job has taught be a lot, but the main thing was that education is important. The more educated you are the more you have to share, the more your mind and skill set are worth, the more money you can earn.

In 2000 I went to UNLV on a full ride scholarship to study to major as an accountant. After the first couple of weeks the Professor asked me to meet him after class. Uh oh... it turned out I had too much personality to be an accountant, my jokes and quips in class were a disruption and my vibrancy would be better suited studying another Major... ouch!! So I changed majors to study communications, became the College of Urban Affairs Senator for UNLV and was very grateful for all of the lessons and skills that course taught me for my future endeavors.

Whilst studying at Univeristy I worked 3-4 different jobs to make ends meet because the scholarship only covered my education fees. I still needed to pay for books, accommodation and living expenses. I worked in retail to get a discount on nice clothes, worked on campus so I could get paid whilst I studied, and I worked in a nail bar and a Hotel Spa because I loved the beauty industry. Each job provided a different experience, skill set and type of customer service that I've been able to build on throughout my career.

My dream was to work in the beauty industry and to be an entrepreneur. When I moved to England in 2003 to be with my Mom and family I discovered the that UK offered programs that were well rounded, not just a niche treatment.

Being fresh out of university I was used to a heavy work load and working outside of education, so I followed that path in the UK and took all three qualifications in one year - Level 2 Beauty Therapy (facials, manicures, pedicure, waxing, makeup etc), Level 3 Beauty Therapy (Swedish Massage, hot stone massage) and Holistic Therapies ( Reiki, Indian head massage, reflexology, Hopi ear candling) In the evenings and weekends I would manage a bar and restaurant nd during the day I would attend college. The bar provided a great platform to meet people who could be potential client studies and models for me to practice my treatments on.

With my entrepenurial gusto I created Orchids Hideaway - Orchid means 'la belle', la belle means 'beauty' and my 'treatment room' was in the corner of my bedroom, so it was a Hideaway. I made flyers up, had business cards printed and I was in business!!

When I was practicing my skills I naively didn't charge a minimum fee to cover costs, I just gave away the treatments for free, so obviously had an abundance of people willing to be a model to practice on. This was great, but I was paying for the cost of their treatment from my bar wages and giving them my time and as I got improved, giving away my expertise and advice. Hang on a minute.... didn't I want to be an entrepreneur?! Well why am I giving away treatments, that's not the vision I had set out for myself.

That was one of my first lessons in valuing the treatments I was providing... my friends expected free treatments and when I started charging (we're talking a minimal fee of £5 but they weren't willing to pay... what?!).

Fast forward a couple decades and I've had that scenario several times throughout my career - as I've put my prices up or upskilled and offered higher ticket treatments. What helped me charge my worth was having the confidence to explain why the fee was at that price point. My education, experience, overheads etc. Client's don't need to know the total cost per treatment but they do need to know why you add value to their treatments.

I had a situation a couple of years ago where I had been on a course to launch a new treatment and the company had misguided us on the cost per treatment. The modality cost £25 per treatment and that was not allocated for in the cost per treatment and recommended retail price. This meant that I needed to put the price up 30% to cover my cost after the initial treatment launch. Clients questioned me about the increase in price and I was able to confidently explain why the cost had increased by £30 overnight and they accepted and understood because it wasn't me be greedy, it was me covering my cost and I was able to explain that.

My experience from flying around the world was embedded when buying my first high street business Orchids Hideaway Ltd, this is shared in a previous blog post. Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew to Gold

Having treatments around the world has been something I've continued throughout my career because it shares best practice, inspiration and ways to improve my service and offerings. To this day I book a treatment wherever I go to check out the spas, salons and services on offer.

After growing and selling Orchids Hideaway, I started Orchids Retreat... a retreat because it was a purpose built cabin in my backyard. This offered a bespoke rural treatment for clients, I lost a couple clients in the transfer that preferred to have hair and beauty treatments under one roof, but not many... I was working 90 hour weeks because I was teaching full time and working in my business full time.

Life was busy but there was a grand plan... there's always a grand plan! At the time I wanted to open a training academy and I was studying to be a teacher at Greenwich University and getting the hands on experience at Southampton City College. This was a great chapter - I obtained a Grade 1 teacher recognition, my assessors qualification, had my own tutor groups and was able to mentor those starting out in industry.

I'll glaze over the Mom chapter - two beautiful boys, wrist injuries to over come and after recovering from my second operation it was time to RISE! In the past decade I've entered 100's of awards and been lucky to win 35 for individual recognition and business recognition both national and international. I'm very proud of the journey that over twenty years in industry has offered me and that's why I started my Beauty Business Mentorship program in 2019.

2016 my first ever award!! Beauty Therapist of the Year & Gold Award for Contribution to Industry

In 2017 and 2018 I was very lucky to have the opportunity to have an 18 month residency at the Soho Hotel in London. This helped me raise my profile by offering my services to celebrity clientele and provided a platform to host several industry events for bloggers, magazine editors, fashionistas, influencers and other press professionals. It was a chapter I absolutely loved despite the crazy early start at 3:00am every Wednesday and super late finish getting home past 11:00pm but it was worth it!! So grateful for the opportunity. 💖

The train journeys were used to study for my Level 4 in Beauty Therapy so that I could offer advanced aesthetic services such as chemical peels, mesotherapy, microneedling, and nano infusion treatments to my clients. Chemical Peels started in 2014 but new regulations were being implemented that required a deeper foundation of knowledge.

Again I'll glaze of the pandemic chapter because most of us had difficulties during this time and our industry was hit hard. I'm very grateful for the continued support of my clients over the years and the chapters they've been part of. I'm a firm believer of zigging when everyone else zags... I've never been much of a sheep!

One of my projects during lockdown was studying about aromatherapy ( I achieved a year qualification in a month - LOVED IT!) and formulated my own skincare product range.

Another one of my studies was an intensive business buying masterclass from Johnathan Jay - a business tycoon keeping himself entertained in lockdown - but what a course he offered all about how to buy a business.... I had bought my first one in 2008 but I didn't know anything about buying a business and in hindsight paid way too much... anyways in his course learned all about acquiring businesses, business strategy, the equations to know your numbers and have educated discussions about purchasing or acquiring businesses.

Here's where the zigzag comes in... so many beauty businesses were selling after the pandemic and it was a great time to expand when everyone else was contracting. I negotiated a lease on a six treatment room salon (read more in my blog about my lessons in negotiating a lease ) There are many lessons and achievements the team and I learned over our two years together.

I chose to implement several business models, partly for my love of teaching & previous goal of having a training academy and partly to give newly qualified therapists an opportunity to grow and develop. It was great to have a mixture of experienced therapists, apprentices and newly qualified. It helped everyone to grow and develop on many levels. We also had collaborations with other professional skill sets that we could offer to our community and wellbeing clinic services.

In taking on this challenge and opportunity in the industry it did raise awareness of my project and the magnitude of my undertaking. We won numerous industry awards as a team, venue and myself for business acumen and were featured in many magazines sharing the journey and stories with others. Talk about a whirlwind, but it was fantastic!!

Solopreneur to having a team of 10 within six months was a big mountain to climb - I had to learn to hire, fire, negotiate, lead and innovate quickly without a guidebook! I learned many incredible skills and lessons. I hired my first business mentor who was brilliant at inspiring and initiating opportunities whilst maintaining accountability.

Another big goal of mine was to have a Podcast. In 2021 I was asked to be a guest on the Body Beauty Show to talk about turning obstacles into opportunity and share my story of starting over after getting divorced. This inspired me to host my own podcast to share stories, experiences and to help inspire and motivate other beauty entrepreneurs.

Fast forward two years and it's a dream come true to have my own podcast! Glowgetter Beauty Entrepreneur 101 started in 2023 and now has over 40 episodes. I'm excited to have been asked as a guest on another podcast which will air soon. If there are any topics or guests that should be featured, please let me know.

In 2023 I was given an offer I couldn't refuse, so I sold Orchids Retreat Ltd to a big conglomerate & moved. Changing business models again to only working amongst experienced entrepreneurs whom are all experts in our craft. It's a great environment sharing best practise and positivity amongst us. Orchids Atelier has just been nominated for our fourth Innovation & Excellence Award in 2024!

This year brings yet another chapter as I migrate more into mentorship and judging opportunities. I'm so excited to have been selected to be on the National Business Women's Awards judging panel. I've been grateful to be a finalist in several categories in their 2022 and 2023 Awards. The evening is an incredible environment full of successful women celebrating each others achievements - a true demonstration of empowering each other and entrepreneurship.

What next... I would like to write a book this year and become a best-selling author and I'd like to get on stage to share my experience & help others be glowgetters... maybe even do a Ted Talk! If you'd like to join our mentorship program, attend a masterclass or beauty business bootcamp

Thank you for reading, if this was useful please 💖 and share if it could help someone.

Thank you ~ Diana x

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