Were you always interested in a career in the beauty industry?
Actually, I qualified as a solicitor and had a career in law before dedicating myself to skin camouflage! So it took me a little while to get there, but I always had a passion for make-up and never felt fully at home in the corporate law world. So I would say I was definitely always interested, but wasn't sure that I would be able to make it a reality. It took a bit of soul-searching and a mini mid-life crisis to take the leap of faith, and I'm very glad that I did.
Tell us a bit more about Skin Confident
Skin Confident provides skin camouflage for people who have skin concerns that go beyond what cosmetic make-up can conceal effectively. I see a huge range of different people and can cover anything from scars to vitiligo, birthmarks and also tattoos. I use specialist products that were designed to be highly pigmented and long-lasting. They are even waterproof if applied properly, so the idea is very much to teach people how to use them so that the can then go about leading their lives as normally as possible without feeling self-conscious or inhibited. Quite often I see people who have suffered accidents or illnesses and it's lovely to be able to give them a little bit of a feeling of normality back.
What made you want to start your own business?
I am really passionate about skin camouflage and helping people feel more confident about themselves. I am a very independent person so I hate the idea that people are not leading their lives to the fullest or because of their skin. I felt that there was a real gap in the market to provide an expert service to people struggling with the appearance of their skin for whatever reason. Although the UK is very fortunate to have a brilliant skin camouflage service provided by a charity called Changing Faces, I have found that waiting times are often too long for my clients, and they may not be eligible because their condition is not 'serious enough' or they cannot be referred from a hospital service. So I hope that my business is valuable and really providing a service that helps people - that's my main aim.
On a more practical level, one of the reasons I left the law was because I was getting very disillusioned with the politics of office life. I love the freedom and control of running your own business - there's nobody else to blame for things going wrong, but there's also a lot less time wasted on the unimportant things, and huge feelings of satisfaction when things go well!
Do you have any other employees?
No, not yet. I only set up skin confident a few months ago so it's very much in the start-up phase, but I do get help with my online things, as I am not necessarily the most technically savvy person around!
Where do you see your business in the next five years?
I very much hope that awareness and understanding of skin camouflage will grow, so that people all around the country know about the service and can access it. I would love to open multiple studios around the UK, but also abroad. I grew up abroad and very internationally, and I have found that outside the UK skin camouflage is even less known about so it would be great to spread the word. I would also love to set up a charitable arm and help individuals who are truly marginalised as a result of their skin, for example sufferers of Vitiligo in certain African communities.
Do you wear a beauty tunic when providing treatments to clients?
I have to admit that I don't currently wear a tunic, but that is due to the fact that I am five months pregnant and expanding by the day! I'm finding it hard enough to fit into any clothes at all! But I look forward to being back to my old shape again - I feel that you can't help but look neat, tidy and professional in a tunic!
What is your favourite Diamond Designs beauty tunic?
I love the new Diamond Design collection. The styles are flattering and fashionable - my favourite is the Grace.
How do you manage your business online?
My online presence is the first port of call for my clients, as it is quite a niche business. So having a great website and being easily searchable in the major search engines is key for me. I'm constantly playing around with key words as a lot of people don't actually know that skin camouflage exists, so there's a bit of an art to attracting customers to a solution they don't know is out there!
How important do you think social media is for beauty businesses?
I think social media is hugely important for any business these days. It provides a platform to reach out to such a huge customer base, and to create real brand identity and awareness that would not be possible in the same way without it. I feel that the beauty industry has a big advantage over other industries in that it is such a visual sector, and it's quite easy to post pictures of your work or products that are very appealing to the public and can generate a lot of engagement. Social media is a real gateway to your brand and it is therefore very important to stay on top of your social media game.
Are there any accounts you follow to keep up with the latest beauty trends and tips?
The accounts I like to follow are definitely geared towards make-up, as that is my first love. I like keeping up with my old make-up college, the Delamar Academy, as they were instrumental in helping me succeed in the business and I like seeing what their students are up to now - not only because I'm nosy, but also because it's a great pool of potential assistants for jobs.
I also follow the brands that I use regularly to make sure that I am up to date with their latest releases and product information, and some of the great make-up artists. I love Alex Babsky's work, and Alex Box. People like Lisa Eldridge and Wayne Goss on the other hand are great for the sheer amount of products that they review. I'll always pick up a nugget or two during their reviews and go out to try something for myself.
Make sure you check out Skin Confident's website and social media for their latest updates:
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