Beauty professional Noreen McCarney has been working within the beauty industry for the last 18 years. After spending four years travelling the world on cruise ships and a year in Australia, Noreen finally took the plunge and opened her own beauty salon in 2015 in her hometown Omagh, Northern Ireland.
We sat down and asked her to share with us top tips and secrets to running a successful beauty business.
What made you want to go into a career in beauty?
Initially I wanted to be a P.E Teacher as I had always been quite sporty at school but it wasn’t offered as a A-level subject. I went to my local college and enrolled in the Beauty Course, not knowing what to expect and I soon realised I had a real flair for all the beauty treatments. With great encouragement from my tutor I continued on to my level 3 and I haven't looked back since.
What is your background and experience in the beauty industry?
My level 2 was completed through a job skills programme, which meant I had placement straightaway in a local salon from the age of 16. After completion of my level 3 I applied for Steiner Recruitment to work on board cruise liners, I got accepted and spent the next 4 years working in the on board spas and travelling the world, an amazing experience I would recommend to anyone.
I then came back home to the Slieve Russell Hotel in Cavan and their Cuin Spa where I spent 2 years and then it was time to get back to regular salon work so for the next 4 years I worked in 2 other salons in Cavan. In 2013 I went to Australia and worked in one of the top Salons in Sydney for the year which was also a great experience. In 2015 after encouragement from my better half and family I decided to take the plunge and open my own salon in my hometown of Omagh and it has been the best decision.
Do you have any top tips for people wanting to market their beauty business online?
Online marketing is so important in this day and age as the majority of your target audience are using the internet for everything, therefore it will gain you a wider customer base.
- Social media has become more than a mere fad; it’s where your customers and prospects spend time. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are all platforms that should be utilised to reach, promote and advertise to your clients.
- As a small business owner, you definitely need a cheap way to stay in touch with your prospects and customers so since almost every single person in the world has an email address, building an email list is one of the cheapest, most cost-effective solution for doing that.
- There are a lot of businesses online competing with you in the same niche and to stay ahead of the competition, you need to be creative without breaking the bank.
What made you decide you wanted to own your own business?
After working in various Spas and Salons over the years, I was ready to go out on my own and with the support from my fiancé and family I was able to make this possible. I wanted to be back at home and for me it was the right time to make this happen and it has worked out so well thankfully to all my lovely clients!
Can you tell us a little bit about your business?
My business is called Infinite Beauty, meaning Everlasting or Endless Beauty. It is located in Omagh which is a very busy town. I do all treatments myself and have always taken so much pride in my work and have been complimented on my thoroughness and professional standard of treatment. My range of treatments include: Juliette Armand Skincare facials, Karora Spray tanning, Gelish manicures and pedicures, Indian Head Massage, Swedish and Aromatherapy Massage and Advanced waxing using Waxperts. I open Tues-Sat, late opening Wed-Fri and Mon by appointment.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of starting their own beauty business?
- Always be organised and be prepared to work hard with everything as it is your reputation at the end of the day. Client Care, Treatments, Advertising, Promotions, Salon Cleanliness, all aspects of running a successful business need to be carried out to a high professional standard.
- Research product brands thoroughly before deciding to put your name behind them and always work with brands you trust, believe in give you the best results for your clients.
- Work within your financial means when starting out and this will avoid unnecessary stress and pressure.
- Always keep up to date with trends and changes in the industry and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Continual training will promote personal and professional growth and development. You never stop learning.
- GO FOR IT... the long days are worth it as there is no better feeling than turning the key in the door of your own business.
What do you think is one of the biggest challenges of owning your own business?
For me personally my biggest issue would be hiring. It is hard to know when to hire someone and if the business can maintain the growth. I am very particular and when it is your own business I am the reason why my clients return and continue to support me.
This is why it is so important to distinguish your business as being "different and better" so your clients receive a strong benefit from returning to you that they do not receive anywhere else. If your clients do not have a sense that they can trust you, your product, or your service, they will not come back, therefore any staff hired need to be of the same mindset.
What are your secrets to success?
I have been in the Beauty Industry for 18 years but have had my own salon for the past year. Secret to any success is consistency, professionalism and listening to your clients wants and needs, nothing should be too much trouble within the scope of your business.
Where are you currently working and do you have any future goals that you are working towards in your business?
My future goals would be to definitely grow and expand my Beauty Salon and to get involved in the teaching side of things as well. I feel I have a lot to offer students and can help encourage their passion for beauty as it is a wonderful industry to work in and it can take you all over the world, the only limitation is your imagination.
Do you have any favourite beauty accounts that you follow to keep up with the latest beauty trends?
Diamond Designs of course! They put up some great Facebook posts and they are best uniforms I have had!
I try to follow most beauty bloggers but particularly like Pippa O Connor, Ellen Jones (owner of Waxperts), Marissa Carter (Cocoa Brown) and Alessandra Steinherr (Glamour Magazine Editor). They always have great tips on all things beauty and skin related as well as being very inspirational.
We want to say a big thank you to Noreen for taking the time to answer our questions. We hope this has been helpful! If you would like to get involved to feature on our next Q&A blog, then send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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