Nicola Atkins | Owner & Director, Utopia
32 years, Abingdon
I started my training in NVQ Level 2 and NVQ Level 3 Beauty Therapy at Abingdon and Witney College in 2003, working twice a week in a local salon during those two years to gain extra experience. I was lucky enough to represent the college in a national competition in Luton for Sterex Electrolysis, and gained many other qualifications completing separate courses in different treatments during my time there.
On completing my training, I went on to work in a salon in the centre of Oxford, running the business for the owner who was living in London, and after 18 months moved on to a brand new salon that was opening in Chipping Norton. I worked here for the next 4 years, training in many more treatments and eventually becoming Manager, gaining me invaluable experience in the running of a business.
After working in beauty salons for over seven years, I decided it was time for a change and wanted to bring something different to Abingdon - not just the usual standard beauty treatments.
That's why I spent my time training in new things - in treatments that perform better, that you just don't see all the time. And that's why I spent time perfecting the way it looks - decorating it to a high standard, but keeping that warm, cosy feel. Because no one wants to relax in a cold, clinical environment.
So that's where Utopia came in. Not your average run of the mill salon - but an award-winning, peaceful place to hide away and enjoy a bit of time to yourself..
I was awarded Student of the Year for NVQ Level 3 in 2005 and represented the college in a Sterex Epilation competition held in Luton.
In March 2013 I was awarded 2nd place in the Infineum Young Entrepeneur of the Year Awards.
In 2014 I became a National Business Leader, as part of my success in the Scoot Headline Awards.