It was circa 2004 when I was working part time as office admin for a large international IT company while completing my beauty training in the evening, when my boss said “Why don’t you stick to your beauty stuff instead,” because I’d made an error on a spreadsheet (still hate those pesky little squares), she totally belittled me and made it sound that being a beauty therapist was for bimbo’s. If only she knew how in depth the training is. Well, that was it, a red flag to a bull! I knew I had to leave and start a new career.
I went and found myself a job within a salon. That was a challenge, as I was over 30 and had no real experience, just my newly acclaimed certificates.
It’s funny looking back now because the main thing that got me the job was the fact that I washed my hands before I started my trade test (it’s the first rule you’re taught).
The salon owner later told me none of the other interviewees did. Even to this day attention to detail is in my work.
Roll on to 2006 I was renting my own space and building my own clientele. I’d gone down the Organic/natural product route as this was the buzz at the time and the only thing that would give me a USP amongst the sea of already established salons. Because I was new and small, I was able to change and adapt easily to what the market was shouting about.
I thought I was the bee’s knees, but I had no idea what I should be doing apart from beauty treatments. Networking, marketing, newsletters, database, building a list, not a Scooby and I stayed like this for almost 2yrs. I was so busy with clients I just continued.
Eventually I cottoned on, found out how a business really should be run and I just hit overwhelm and almost hid under a rock, it scared me and put my head in a space of negative Nelly talk.
“You’re rubbish at this, you’ve no idea what to do, you’ll never make a living from it, you’re a follower not a leader, you can’t be a boss” Oh those mind monkeys were having a full-blown riot. That mentally hurt, a lot.
Can I do all this? Do I want to? Can I afford the help of a VA, web designer, accountant?
Imposter syndrome became my loyal friend.
There were many people that took advantage of my naivety from a financial perspective too, but hey, lessons to learn and tick the experience box. To this day I won’t give them my business!
Scroll to 2011 and the lightbulb pinged on.
You have all the natural products for a manicure except a nail polish remover. Go get one.
My thought process had no barriers to this, no doubts, just go do attitude.
Mind you that is part of my DNA, (I think) act then think about the consequences/results later. Planning and research weren’t my forte then and I still struggle a little with the former now at times. Hence why I have a business coach.
Eventually Google surfing led me to a company outside of the UK that had one, not ideal, but I’d found one. First part of the challenge complete. I’ll be a distributor; they don’t have a UK one say’s my head. Again, no thought process, just I want to do this, I’ll learn on the hoof.
Oh no they weren’t having any of that. Her words were “No dear, prove your sales for a year by being a retailer and we’ll think again.”
Another Red Flag. Nope I’ll make my own. Really are you kidding me, what on earth are you thinking?
No, I didn’t hear those words in my head and I’m so glad I didn’t.
I sought help from Business Link. They shared details of a few cosmetic manufacturers in the UK. I went for the one nearest to home, not a good move and a whole other story.
After only a few months of talks, ideas being bounced around, my hero product being the UKs first made natural nail polish remover was born.
Fresh Therapies Natural nail polish remover. My Baby!
In a glass bottle just to be different not plastic no other reason, another blessing in disguise.
I bought the IP away from them and it’s still mine today, now being sold internationally. BOOM!
I got some great advice along the way from the founder of Green & Black organic chocolate, she also is the queen in the Green Beauty arena (blessing counted) and the awards started to roll in.
I took stands at trade shows in Olympia plus Excel and got my first overseas stockist in Germany, he’s now my EU distributor.
I also landed what is now one of the biggest Australian organic/natural ecommerce sites, who still stock Fresh Therapies to this day.
Four products later with three in the pipeline as I roll into 2022.
Oh, trust me when I say there were still so many crashes, disasters, and mountains I’d have to overcome (isn’t hindsight wonderful?)
Roller coasters of emotions and learning is very much an understatement. Navigating the path to Everest’s summit blindfolded comes close.
It was tough, lonely, sleep deprived, tearful at times and uncomfortable, very uncomfortable. With a sprinkle of fun and the odd air punch to myself of course, not forgetting that silly little happy jig we all do. You know the one, right?
But we learn, we change, we grow.
Of course, I have supportive family members and now a network of business owners that I can rant and rave with who understand my irritations, stresses, and gripes. I’m so grateful for each and every one of them too.
Would I change what I do, not really. Would I do things differently? Of course.
I don’t take compliments well, when people say, “Well done, look how far you’ve come”.
Nelly’s there mumbling away, she has to put her two pennies worth in.
Nah, not really, it’s what you’re meant to do in business (rolls eyes).
But I will every so often, look back at the PR I’ve gained and seek for the date. Look on the shelf at the awards, the different packaging variations I’ve travelled through, and it shuts her right up LOL.
There is a famous quote by artist Mary Engelbreit,
“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way”
Which I totally agree with 99% of the time. But there are times when you need to. To see how far you’ve travelled and what you’ve achieved, give yourself that well deserved pat on the back and sound the trumpet for your happy dance to commence.
If you looked back on your journey, how would it make your feel?
Delighted or deflated?
If the latter, how are going to flip it?
Go look and see what rises to the surface.
PS. That other natural nail polish remover company outside the UK. They no longer exist.
Mic drop 😊
You can contact Nicola Dickinson here…
Phone: 023 8073 9595
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