When carrying out treatments and getting to know new clients, there is probably one question I get asked the most - "Did you always want to be a beauty therapist?"
Well the simple answer is: No.
And to be perfectly honest, it had never entered my mind for one second. Actually I always wanted to be a teacher; probably of art or music, as these were my favourite subjects at school, or maybe even English...I was always pretty good at English, too.
I was going to teach in a Secondary School (ha) and although I never had any ambition to go to University, I was always going to go simply because to be a teacher, I had no choice.
So although I wouldn't say I hated school (I did meet my husband there after all!), I was certainly ready to move on when it came to choosing which A-Levels to do.
And so the decision making of which college to go to commenced. I had guessed I would end up at Abingdon & Witney College as this was much closer, but I wanted to see for myself which college I preferred.
The first open day I went to was Oxford and Cherwell Valley College. I went with a couple of male friends (one of which would end up becoming my husband), and who should I bump into first thing but a female friend of mine that I had known for a very long time.
Initially just stopping for a chat, my friend was waiting to talk to someone about the Beauty Therapy course they offered. And listening in, I began to think that this course sounded a LOT more interesting than A-Levels...
Nevertheless, I carried on looking around the college - but the seed had been sewn. And to be honest, I wasn't overly keen on the college anyway. Plus I hadn't had the chance to see the salon, as everything was set up in the main hall.
So when the time came to nosey around Abingdon College at their open day, I went with the same 2 male friends and dragged them straight to the Beauty Department, where I met Sian - the head of the department. And after some lengthy discussions with her, I realised that yes - this was what I wanted to do.
The only question was: What would my parents think?
I have 3 older sisters - one of which went to University (3 times, in the end!), the other 2 both doing A-Levels (or so I thought at the time - one did a B-tech in childcare). And to be honest, until that point of bumping into my friend at Oxford College, I hadn't even realised you could do this kind of thing at College....in my mind, College was for A-Levels.
So one day I carefully broached the subject with my Mum, wondering what she might say...
"If that is what you want to do, then of course that is fine!" Oh! Great! The only condition was that I really had to work hard at the course - it was pretty damn expensive to do, as there was a LOT of kit to buy. Plus the uniform. Plus the books. And of course normal fees for exams etc..
But I vowed that I would, and hoped that I would enjoy the course as much as I thought I would. And so ended my 'teaching career'.
The funny thing is that, although I always had support from my family and close friends, there were quite a few people who tried to put me off doing the course - school teachers thought it wasn't good enough (I was lucky to get pretty decent GCSE grades, without really revising), my employer at the time had the same view and even some friends thought it was a bad idea. A lot of people thought beauty therapy was an easy option, a course to just sit around all day and paint nails (and although this was never the reason I took the course, even I was surprised at the amount of theory involved - it's actually a pretty hard course to do!). I even remember Sian - the head of the department who I had met at the open day - asking me in my interview "Are you sure you really want to do this?" She could see I had good grades which were well above what was required. But I was adamant - I knew I would enjoy it, and I would prove everyone wrong.
When the kit arrived through the post, it was so exciting - a HUGE box of goodies, although most of which I had NO idea what they were for, and the ugliest uniform you could imagine (actually I lie - we were pretty lucky compared to the years before us) - but I was so proud to wear it anyway! And even better was that 2 of my best friends were taking the course with me. I couldn't have been more excited.
And (luckily!) I quickly learned that I really did in fact LOVE the course, and it soon became apparent that this was EXACTLY what I wanted to do.
And so that was that. A bit of a whim really - but definitely a risk worth taking and something that I will now do for the rest of my working life. It is not only my job, but my career, my passion and my life. I simply love the industry, and am determined to succeed and be the best therapist and business woman I can be. I am still learning as I go along, and I will never be satisfied - there is always something more I want to do...
And didn't I prove them wrong!