The Beauty Guru

How is it possible grow a brand new independent beauty salon by 150% in three years?

We caught up with Sam Marshall, owner of The Beauty Guru in Salford’s MediaCityUK, to get the low down.

When Sam first opened the doors of her own beauty salon, she did so backed by 18 years’ experience in the industry, a reputation as an outstanding practitioner, and a commitment to offering clients the very best experience.

But it was still a leap of faith. “Before opening The Beauty Guru, I had spent 18 years working in, and running, other people’s salons,” she said. “I’d picked up a lot of knowledge and experience along the way, but striking out alone felt like a big step.”

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She knew that location would be vital and converted an office unit in one of the buildings in Salford’s MediaCityUK as the ideal solution.

“It’s like an old-fashioned high street in many ways,” she explained. “There is a little community of businesses all helping each other out and a ready market of busy people looking for a mix of great service and convenience.”

There can be no doubt that such an ideal location has been a big help. However, given the business has tripled in size over three short years, there is clearly more to Sam’s success.

The answer is in Sam’s expertise and in her determination to only deliver services where she excels. “I personally don’t offer massage for instance,” she pointed out. “I can do it, but I don’t enjoy it so I prefer to offer things I excel in. I want everything we do to leave customers wowed and coming back for more.”

Putting it bluntly, she added: “Everyone should do what they really love. If you don’t love it then you won’t do an amazing job. For us we like to offer what we each individually specialise in rather than being “jack of all trades.”

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With that in mind, it’s no surprise to find The Beauty Guru has built a small army of regular customers, expanding its premises and bringing in carefully selected therapists to cope with demand.

“In the early days I did a lot of work to promote the business via Facebook and Google, but these days we’re really growing organically, through word of mouth,” Sam said. “There’s no magic formula really. It’s just a case of making every client feel amazing in a friendly, but professional environment.”

According to Sam, adding an online booking system to the business’s website has also helped her to capitalise on recommendations, as well as many clients’ need for convenience: “It’s amazing how effective it has been. Only this morning I woke up to six new bookings that had come in while I slept!”

Looking to the future, Sam has big plans, but tempers them with a desire to grow organically rather than leaving herself exposed to business debt. “Ultimately, I want a small chain of salons across the Manchester area, but I’m keeping my feet on the ground and taking it one step at a time. We’ll open a second salon in March this year and see where the next opportunity lies once that one is bedded in.”

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Sam’s advice for fledgling independent businesses owners is simple. “Do what you love, and do a great job every time. But don’t overstretch yourself with unnecessary investments early on,” she advised. “Particularly in the beauty trade it’s easy to be seduced by shiny new pieces of kit, but think carefully whether you really need it, or will use it enough to justify the spend.”

Finally, given the unique range of risks affecting beauty salons – from allergic reactions to customer complaints - Sam is very well aware of the value of beauty insurance in maintaining her success.

“Business insurance for me is about finding the correct cover for a really wide range of risks, and that hasn’t always been possible to do with one insurance policy. To have that comprehensive cover in place really gives me piece of mind. I know I am protected if something goes wrong, so I can focus on growing my business and delivering excellent customer service to every customer that walks through the door.”

You can follow the Beauty Guru in the followings:

Facebook – @Beautygurumediacity

Twitter - @the_beauty_guru

Instagram - @mediacitysalon  

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