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, beautiful, peaceful place to hide away and enjoy a bit of time to yourself..


I love to learn the latest trends in the beauty industry, and have gained many qualifications over the last 15 years. These are the qualifications I have gained since starting in 2003:


NVQ Level 2 Beauty Therapy: Health and Safety, Facials, Make-Up, Manicure, Pedicure, Waxing, Bleaching, Tinting, Business Studies, Anatomy and Physiology.

NVQ Level 3 Beauty Therapy: Health and Safety, Swedish Massage, Indian Head Massage, Massage using pre-blended aromatherapy oils, Electro-therapy for the face, G5 Massage, Business Studies, Anatomy and Physiology.

Level 3 Diploma in Health, Safety, Security and Employment Standards.

OCR Level 1 Certificate for IT Users (New Clait)

English Speaking BoardAssessment in Oral Skills - Merit

First Aid at Work.

Diploma in Sterex Blend and Diathermy Epilation.

Jessica Manicures.

Depilex RVB Make-Up and Body wraps.

LCN Gel Nails & Nail Art

Studex Ear Piercing (both System 75 and Studex Plus)

Fake Bake tanning (cream application)

St. Tropez tanning (cream application)




Sienna-x Spray tanning and product training.

Tooth Fairy Tooth Gems.

LaStone Massage (2x Simply Stones qualifications)

CACI microcurrent for face and body.

Darphin Facials and product training.

Dermalogica Facials and Body treatments.

Dermalogica product training.

REN Facials and Body treatments.

REN product training.

Aromatherapy Associates Facials and Massage.

Aromatherapy Associates product training.

Crystal Clear Microdermabrasion for face and body.

Bio Sculpture Gel Nails

Nubar Infinity UV Gel System & Essential Nail Art Skills

Hydrotherm Massage Foundation Level - Distinction.

Hydrotherm Massage Advanced Level - Distinction.

Hydrotherm Massage During Pregnancy Level 3 - Credit.



Hydrotherm Massage During Pregnancy Level 3 - Credit.

Lycon Hot Waxing and product training.

Advanced Lycon Hot Waxing (brazilian and hollywood waxing).

VTCT Certificate in Hopi Ear Candles.

Threading Depilation.

Minx Nail Armour.

MYscara Semi-Permanent Mascara.

DermaCo Pro Facials and Body Treatments (6-in1 unit including microdermabrasion and micro current).

Nose Piercing with the Studex professional nose piercing system.

LVL Natural Lash Enhancement.

IPL Permanent Hair Reduction with Inspa Solutions.

High Definition Brows (formerly HD Brows).

Germaine De Capuccini Spa Body Rituals.

Germaine De Capuccini Options Facials.

Germaine De Capuccini product training.

Tranquil Sea Massage Technique with Hydrotherm.


Personal Awards

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.