I often wonder if I could go back in time and talk to the person I was when I started my career, what I’d say? These days I’d probably refer that person to Twitter and tell them to use the hashtag #Wednesdaywisdom to find out more!
Joking aside, it can sometimes be hard to find inspiration when you’re the newest mummy blogger or business on the block and it feels like there’s no one you can bounce ideas off.
That’s why I attended my second networking event with the Northumberland Mumpreneurs at the Willow Farm pub event in Northumberland yesterday.
Having had only an hour’s sleep the night before thanks to my little night-owl, I ordered the biggest, strongest coffee I’ve ever had the pleasure to sip in my life.
As I looked around the table at the other mummies, a logo on a uniform caught my eye. It read ‘Beautopia North’.
Now being a midlife mummy, it’s my dream to look as good as I can for as long as possible. It’s the reason I gave up alcohol, although I wish I could say the same for chocolate.
So when I saw a beauty expert among our smaller than usual gathering (the Easter hols were upon us), I immediately made a beeline to talk to her.
Mum of two Becky Maddison, 34, has had a passion for beauty and skincare from a young age. She grew up reading all the latest magazines, watching others being made up and was totally immersed in that world. She gravitated towards make-up and loved nothing more than doing makeovers on family and friends to make them feel good.
“I used to put make-up on all my friends and family and funky nail art designs, when nail art wasn’t anywhere near as popular as it is today. It was my hobby and I longed to take it further.”
Sadly as many people do when they leave school, Becky’s career took a different path. Instead of following her heart, she went on to study IT/clerical and sales rather than pursue her dream in the beauty industry. While she did really well as a saleswoman, she missed the feel-good factor of making others happy.
In 2013 she knew she had to do something, so on a whim and a prayer, moved from the village of Farsley in Leeds to pursue her dream in Newcastle.
“Anyone who knows me, knows how crazy this was for me and the risks I took. I left my flat, job, daughter’s school, family, friends and moved us up north where we knew few people. It was scary to be going it alone,” said Becky.
“I remember telling myself: I can make this work. I WILL make this work.”
Once she’d settled in Newcastle and started to meet new friends, Becky then took the opportunity to get back to her passion of becoming a beauty therapist. She studied with Nail Harmony and qualified as a Nail Technician in 2014.
“I’ve been furthering my nail skills since then and last year I qualified for my PHDs in Acrylic Nails and Gelish Design. I also completed other design courses with Brillbird.”
Becky was thrilled when her nail art started to pick up pace and was featured in a leading nail art magazine called ‘Scratch’.
Two years later however the mum’s world changed again when she had her second child. She made the decision to go mobile doing nail art.
“It was at this point that I realised the demand to do other beauty treatments. I loved beauty products, so I took further courses which enabled me to become an ultimate lash technician with Nouveau. The problem was that travelling to and from clients became quite time-consuming. There was so much setting up, packing up and travel time to take into consideration.”
It was a client who initially suggested that Becky could work from home.
She added: “I’ve been mobile for a couple of years now, but I have decided to turn what I love into a professional business in a salon. I have a lovely set-up in my kitchen/diner, but I have bigger ambitions and would like to create a more tranquil salon experience for my clients away from the family home.”
“My clients and the local community have been so supportive so far, offering me advice and tips. I feel like I now have the push I need to pursue my dream. It’s time to expand my horizons.”
As well as having a logo designed, signage on her car, Becky has also invested in her website – www.beautopianorth.co.uk
She said: “I’ve devoted a lot of time, hard work, dedication and persistance to get Beautopia North off the ground. It’s now a brand that is recognised across Facebook and beyond and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far.
“What I’d like now is to take the business further and that’s why I’ve turned to the support from the Northumberland Mumpreneurs who I know can help me.”
As a new mum over 40, I’m all for makeovers and just generally being pampered so I lingered next to Becky at our meeting for quite a while in the hope of gleaning some of her beauty wisdom.
It comes as no surprise that I’d already heard about Becky’s Beautopia North through the Facebook grapevine. Her posts are awash with people seeking her beauty advice. She’s also generous to provide it too. I love her honesty.
Her growth strategy now is to expand her business using the home environment as a base. She’d like to build a salon in her garden in order to provide a clear line between her family life and work.
“Once the salon is built, I would then like to try my hand at teaching. This will allow me to hold make-up classes/seminars in my salon for students. It will also allow me to employ someone to work alongside me.
“It’s going to take a lot of work, inside and out, some love and elbow-grease…but once completed, I will be able to offer teaching and local spa pamper days at a more affordable price to the local community. This means lower operating costs and the ability to target clients and times most likely to see sales.”
I love a good makeover, so I’m sure Becky and I will cross paths soon so I can indulge in a spot of pampering myself.
In the meantime, if you own a business or think you might be able to offer advice, funding or sponsorship for Becky to help her fulfill her dream, then contact her by phone 07731 404 316 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becky is looking for the support of local businesses to support her venture to keep people in the local community rather than going to larger corporate spas. In return she will offer staff pamper days and the possibility of advertising space on her vehicle.
I left the mumpreneurs feeling extra motivated myself having met more lovely ladies from a whole host of businesses, including Becky from Beautopia North, Gillian of Gillian Cross Photography and Kelly Oliver Dougall from Cygnet Careers.