A blog hey? Let’s go!
Here you will find the thoughts, opinions & recommendations of an almost-30 year old professional beauty therapist and business owner…and how I have recently had to diversify my business to keep my head above the water!
It feels such a long time ago, but today marks 11 weeks since I decided that the following day, Saturday 21st March 2020, would be my salon’s last day trading for a ‘short time’. Oh so I thought. We really had no idea what we were heading into, and for those reading this in the future- this was the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown in the UK.
At that time there were many different opinions circulating, LOTS of ‘fake news’ and speculation. We watched as other countries reported devastating news, and saw videos of deserted streets, towns and shops closed down indefinitely.
When we heard that ‘the virus’ was spreading in the UK and that the day-to-day world was going to grind to a hault, myself and the incredible team of therapists that work in my salon @lovebeautygatley made the joint decision to close.
At that stage, closure was not compulsory, and I am so proud that we came to this brave decision independently, despite an uncertain future and all of us relying on our income to live on- an income that would stop immediately.
At the time of writing this, there isn’t an official date when we can reopen, but we are hoping for 4th July 2020…
So back to the end of March, looking ahead… what to do in the meantime, I wondered?
I could still work for myself as a freelancer, and with over 10 years of experience of skincare and a life-long love of all things ‘beauty’- the choice to open my own online webshop kind of happened organically. My clients were asking for ways to still enjoy a little piece of the salon luxury at home, and I had started to create ‘at-home facial kits’ which sold out quicker than I could keep up with!
I have great business relationships with the brands I have offered in-salon for many years. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, these brands have been so supportive- carrying on their service as best they can, and this has meant the products I know and love could now be made available online. I am forever grateful for the support of Gerrard International– who have been with my salon from day 1.
Over the course of a month, I learned how to build a new website, created my own branding, and built an online web shop. Something I had wanted to do for so long- but never quite had the time, was becoming a reality- and 1st May 2020 I launched beautybykatiemillington.com – how exciting! I purchased enough stock to fulfil a weeks worth of orders (I guessed around 3 or 4 orders would happen in my first week) but soon my ever-loyal clients, friends and family knocked me off my feet with their orders! I was finding solutions to people’s skincare problems, skincare concerns that had arisen in sudden change of lifestyle and helping to choose gifts for loved ones to be delivered by post. It was the suggestions of my clients that then led to me launching ‘letterbox beauty gifts‘- beautiful products from independent brands, and local businesses- wrapped into personalised presentation boxes- a delight for the recipient to open. During these strange times, many of us are living for the deliveries that come to our door!
I found a love for the ‘process’ of online orders, bought a small label printer for addresses and packing slips, and sourced some cute little positivity cards to include in my parcels.
I finally had something to do, and I could still keep in touch with my clients, and above all else- make them feel great whilst being stuck at home! As a beauty therapist, many of us will feel the same- it is that happy vibe that you bring to your clients day that you miss the most when you aren’t able to work.
I am just getting started, but the world of e-commerce is taking my on a learning journey- one which I am fully here for and embracing new challenges and discoveries every single day.
I cannot even explain how grateful I am for the supportive network I have around me, and I pledge to carry on bringing you the best I can!