Welcome to my first blog post and thank you for reading. As we sail these choppy waters in our industry, wondering where life’s rich pattern will take us, I felt a wonderful opportunity arise. Blogging is something I have always wanted to try my hand at, so what better a time than this, sharing my knowledge and experience with my fellow therapists, clients and visitors.

I remember the fear that set in when we heard the Prime Minister’s speech on the 23 March 2020. Thoughts racing through my mind primarily, about my business.

Having started my business again in 2018, like many of us freelancers, it had taken time to build. As most beauty therapists will relate, the long grisly late nights in the run up to Christmas, trekking down the M60 with a boot full of dirty towels at 10.30pm after another ten hours waxing and polishing. The days spent nattering to so many different clients, having to have a wide range of topics to discuss. From politics (best avoided) to relationships, advising clients on their personal lives and vice versa. Listening to work woes, parental issues and problems with neighbours, the oratory skill set of a beauty therapist has to be wide. And it must be confidential.

Those endless Saturdays listening to clients prepare for upcoming holidays, whilst navigating their kitchens with the wax pot or balancing the manicure tools on top of a breakfast bar, Sound familiar?

If like me, you decided to branch in to hen parties you may be familiar with the feeling of dread when, on arrival the chief hen says ‘Ah sorry, the hotel doesn’t have allocated parking…’ or ‘We are just on the eighteenth floor…’ whilst you and the rest of the team begin the long, treacherous journey through the streets of Manchester wheeling massage couches and popup nail tables towards your final destination.

However, on a more serious note. As a business owner or a freelancer your small, well thought out enterprise has taken a lot of time to nurture. I am not just referring to money, I am referring to the building of a website and the long hours spent wondering who will find it on Google and how it will be received. Those social media posts and the time spent deleting and re reading your text, editing and cropping pictures for Instagram so they look dam near perfect. I am fully aware that once the hen party team have gone home and the hens are firmly entrenched in a bar drinking fizz, I am back at home working on those posts, making sure they capture the essence and feel of my business. Making sure the post looks just right. Your small business is not JUST something you can leave at the door. Your small business is who you are. You are your business and it is you.

So, when we went in to lockdown, unsurprisingly I was petrified and I had many questions swimming around in my mind.

How long will this last? What happens with my client base? Will people return to me after all this? How will I manage financially? And the big one – when will things get back to normal and when they do, what will normal look like and how will that be for the beauty industry?

We must remember we are the professionals. Some of us may have overcome enormous personal hurdles to start our businesses. Some of you may have just opened the doors to your first salon. There are those who just landed that dream five star spa role it took you years to climb the ladder to attain. Or some, be hardworking mums who have set up the spare room, working your business around your children doing the job you love. This blog is for you.

There are so many questions to answer, and so much noise, but hopefully we shall get there in the end and be able to embrace a new beauty industry and take time to grow. A scary transitional season can often turn in to a blessing and can be a significant place for opportunity! So rather than doing an ostrich (we all do it) lets face the change as an industry together.

Here, hopefully, as you journey with me through my blog, I can share with you some of my feelings and also offer practical advice to those fellow therapists who may be finding things hard. As my blog develops I hope to share with you all my 22 years experience in the industry starting (unfortunately) at our most challenging time yet. I can’t promise all the answers, but I will certainly give it my best shot!

Claire Louise