“I’ve always had an interest in beauty so I joined Suffolk New College and studied for my NVQ Level 2 in Beauty Therapy General and Level 3 in Beauty Therapy Massage. I chose the massage route instead of general for Level 3 as I have a massive phobia of needles and wouldn’t have been able to do the electrolysis.”
2013–2014 Part-time therapist at Spangle Beauty Clinic
“At college we were encouraged to get real-world experience, so I was studying three days a week and working the other two days at Spangle Beauty Clinic in Ipswich.
“I remember initially feeling intimidated by the other therapists because they were so knowledgeable and I was still training.
“I was so nervous that when I did my first eyebrow wax I got wax in the client’s hair because I was shaking so badly. But the more clients I saw, the more my confidence grew. I also got to learn some new skills. For example, I wasn’t taught how to do gel polish at college, just lacquer, so a senior therapist at the salon showed me how.”
2014–2016 Therapist at Skin Deep
“I made the move to Skin Deep in Woodbridge because there were no opportunities to progress at Spangle and it was during this time I really learned the art of communication. The owner Hayley Denham taught me how to talk to customers on the phone and in the treatment room, and this advice was incredibly valuable. For example, she taught me to always ask follow-up questions and to never be afraid to dig a bit deeper.
“I also learned a lot about the science behind a good facial due to the external training with the salon’s main product house, Dermalogica, which taught me more about facial anatomy and how to make a treatment bespoke.”
2015 Novalash Certified Lash Extension training
“I first learned about professional lash brand Novalash at a trade show in London. After watching demos and talking to the brand ambassadors, I realised lashes were big news and something I could specialise in, so I paid for training then and there.
“I told Hayley about the course and she was happy for me to train while working for her but she couldn’t fund it for me – her clientele were mainly mature women with no real interest in lashes. I didn’t mind though as I knew this was something I wanted to do.
“It took me a while to get to grips with Novalash’s extension technique but I practised every night on family and friends until I got better.”
2016–present Sarah-Anne’s Beauty
“As I got more confident doing lash extensions, I knew I wanted to be self-employed, but it was risky. I had no client base of my own and couldn’t afford £300 a week in rent. I was still living at home in Felixstowe, so I asked my mum and dad if I could set up a small salon in a free space they had on the property.
“It took a couple of weeks to get the home salon into shape – creating a waiting area with reception desk and nail bar, as well as two fitted treatment rooms. When I opened, I did an offer on a full set of classic lashes to entice people in and from there it just took off. In less than a year I’ve gone from having eight regular clients to more than 100.
“One of the reasons my client base grew so rapidly was the power of social media. Just posting my work on Instagram and Facebook with relevant hashtags such as #lashextensions and #lashartist helped people become aware of my specialism and because I was using Novalash, the brand would like and retweet my work, which helped grow my following.”
2017–present Novalash Lash Artist of the Year 2017
“While on the Novalash Advanced American Volume Certified Extension course I met international trainer Zach Falb who encouraged me to enter the company’s LashOff Awards 2017. It was the first time the competition had been open to lash artists outside of the US and he thought I’d stand a good chance of winning because of my talent. To hear him say that filled me with so much confidence that I did my application that week.
“In February this year, I was crowned Novalash’s Lash Artist of the Year 2017 and it was amazing to have my skills recognised globally. As a brand ambassador, I now represent Novalash at trade shows and press events, as well as doing extensions for celebrities including Gemma Collins from reality TV show TOWIE.”
“I work six days a week and get booked up for appointments months in advance, so it would be great to employ a therapist to work alongside me who I could move some of my clients on to. I also want to move my salon to a bigger space, preferably with parking but still with a nice view – in my current space clients can see the beach from the window. It’s amazing.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED…
…about choosing a career path
“Don’t think there are only a few routes into beauty. In college, we had lots of therapists come in and do presentations about their jobs and I thought I’d end up working on a cruise ship as that’s what most of them did. I never thought I could be my own boss.”
…about posting on Instagram
“I look back at the lash extensions I posted when I first started my business and think ‘Why did I share that?’ However, you should never delete your past work as it’s a good way to see how your skills have developed over time. Plus, you’ll see that your photography skills go from one to 100 the more you take.”