The first thing that strikes me about Jody Adele Taylor is her determination to succeed. Not only is she a former lecturer and assessor in beauty therapy and owner of successful salon Skin Deep in Doncaster, but she fought off tough competition at the 2017 Professional Beauty Awards in February to be crowned Therapist of the Year. “It’s been an amazing year so far,” says Taylor. “Winning the award has helped me in so many ways. It has given me recognition and validation for the services I provide and I’m now more in demand for training, doing a lot more work for Natura Studios [Dermapen supplier] – which I use in salon.” Taylor classes herself as a “facial specialist” and offers a range of treatments from microneedling to dermaplaning, which cost from £35 to £200 per session. Her salon’s message is very distinct – to help clients understand and improve their skin without the need for injectables or surgery – and it has set her apart from her competitors.
This ethos also shone through on the Professional Beauty Awards practical judging day, where she achieved the highest marks for her product knowledge, handling of contraindications and ability to tailor the treatment. “I don’t just follow a standard protocol. I look at the client’s lifestyle and what they do day to day, and then formulate a service that fits them. It’s my point of difference,” she says.
Taylor is also the only business in Doncaster to offer Dermapen microneedling, which is “why clients travel from York, Manchester and Hull to see me,” she says. “It always surprises people when they hear that my main client base isn’t local.” Taylor also treats a lot of cases of adult acne after spending time researching and educating herself on it, which has helped her reach 70% treatment room occupancy.
But it’s not always been smooth sailing for the entrepreneur. When Taylor opened her first salon, Beauty by Jody, in Doncaster town centre in 2006, little did she know that she would have to close just six months later.
Taylor studies Beauty Therapy NVQ Level 2 and 3 at Doncaster College
Opens first salon Beauty by Jody but closes it six months later and goes mobile
Studies for her certificate to teach in the lifelong learning sector and a year later earns her diploma
Joins Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Relaxation Spa in Doncaster as spa manager
Takes up the position of course tutor and assessor for Beauty Therapy at GHQ Training Plymouth
Moves to teach at Armonia Training College for Beauty Therapy in Doncaster
Opens salon Skin Deep in Doncaster and positions herself as a facial specialist
Crowned Professional Beauty’s Therapist of the Year 2017
“I’d been open for about five months when the incident happened. There was a woman who sold second-hand furniture in the shop next to mine and one day her estranged husband turned up, doused her in petrol and set her alight,” explains Taylor. “She used to keep a lot of gas canisters near the back of the building, I don’t know why, and with all the wood furniture inside, the whole thing just went up in flames.”
The incident also had damaging consequences for Taylor’s business. “The blast came through to my shop and completely destroyed the place. Luckily I had a sixmonth break clause in the lease, so I pulled out and started working as a mobile therapist, but it was a slow process building up my client base, so I had to take on part-time work in a shoe shop.”
While working as a mobile therapist, Taylor studied for her certificate and diploma to teach in the lifelong learning sector. From 2012 to 2014 she took tutor and assessor roles at two different training academies in Doncaster and Plymouth, teaching theory and practical sessions to NVQ Level 2 and Level 3 beauty therapy students. “It was great to be able to teach the next generation,” she tells me.
During this time, Taylor faced some challenges in terms of students’ expectations. “Some found it hard because they weren’t learning what they were seeing on social media, but they needed to understand the basics first,” she says. “It’s still a problem and I think it’s because there’s a lot of brand awareness now. So, when you’re teaching a brow unit, for example, some will say, ‘Why aren’t we doing them like HD Brows?’ But students need to learn the foundations before going on to further development.”
Taylor believes the same is true for make-up and lashes: “Students need to understand that not every client will want that Kardashian contoured look. They need to understand lighting, colours and face shapes then build their specialism from there. Further education is where they can really hone their skills.”
Taylor is a strong believer in specialising, saying the industry has massively moved towards it in the past few years and that employers should be tapping into this during recruitment. “By the time I left college, I knew I excelled at facials but was just OK at doing nails. So, if I had tried to get a job in a nail art salon, I wouldn’t have necessarily been the best candidate,” she says. “When looking for staff, you really need to tailor your trade test to reflect the environment of your business.”
What lies ahead
In the future, Taylor says she’ll continue to enter competitions – with her sights set on claiming the title of Therapist of the Year again next year – and focus on her continuing professional development. “I would like to study anatomy and physiology for ageing of the skin and skin rejuvenation for IPL – both Level 4 qualifications,” she says.