16th March 2020, this was the day I took my last pre lockdown client in my salon and training academy.
That day I took the decision to close my doors, the feeling of dread just wouldn’t leave my body and we all KNEW something was coming.
Boris Johnston then told us all on the 23rd March, we MUST stay home, and that we will immediately close some businesses. I breathed a sign of relief, as much as I knew closing my doors was the right thing to do, I was being questioned by many clients and other business owners as to why I had already taken that decision.
If I’m honest, it felt right to do so, there was a lot of chat the weeks before and it just felt like there was something bigger around the corner, and well if I closed my doors, I was doing my bit, in order to get us over what they were calling the “curve”
Did I think at that time, I would be closed again for the 3rd time a full year later? Nope, did I think my business model would be impacted as much as it was? Nope, I really didn’t.
I genuinely thought that if we all sat home for a “couple of weeks” we would come out the other side and all would be well in the world, well we all know how that’s turned out.
The first few weeks, well it was actually ok, Netflix and Disney + became my best friend, and the empty bottles of wine soon overflowed the glass bin. We zoomed, we virtually partied, we dressed up for Fridays on the Sofa, and Houseparty app was a firm favourite.
And then the weeks became a month, and well a month became two… and reality started to hit home, how was I going to work? How was this going to impact me and how was I going to fill my days when I was used to 12 hour shifts in salon and then another 4 on my social media.
I was the business owner, entrepreneur, social media “guru”, accountant, customer service rep, all rolled into this one little person, and now I was sat at home with an overflowing bin of empty bottles and not much else.
I started to look at my academy, usually this was face to face, could I look to get these course online? As an accredited academy, it was important to me that my students didn’t get a lesser qualification, or a lower standard of learning, just because we weren’t face to face.
Within a few days, I had the answers I was looking for, not all my courses could be taught online, but there were a few that could be done.
And just like that, Iconic Beauty Academy became an online training provider.
I worked tirelessly to get all my manuals up to speed, every health & safety aspect ticked off and to ensure that even the smallest of details was not omitted, and realising I had numerous videos of me performing some of these courses, (lashes lifts, brows, brow lamination etc) then I had the basis for a full course.
Within a week of my lightbulb moment (and a lot more time to do things than I was used to) I was accredited, online and open for business.
2 days after that I had my first online students and well, I haven’t looked back.
As word spread, as it inadvertently does, I got busier, and soon I was booked to speak at an online conference to 2000 attendees across 20 countries. My knowledge on brows was getting noticed and I recorded my slot and nervously said thank you for the opportunity. A few days after this, I was contacted by others in the industry, could I help, could we collaborate and soon the offers were literally filling my inbox.
I started to notice my business Facebook messenger was becoming busier with students across the world, getting in touch to “pick my brains”, lots are in countries where there are no regulations, or they have had subpar courses, or they just need to build their skillset.
Then I had a brain wave, I cant possibly mentor all these techs, estis, cosmetologists, brow artists etc as Iconic Academy is really just me, so I decided to hold a one off FREE masterclass.
This was attended by around 400, I opened a private Instagram page, where I could add everyone for free, and it allowed me a platform to communicate openly with those who were authorised to be there, I could hold live workshops and it meant there was a community where everyone could see the answers to the questions that they were asking.
It was a rip roaring success, with lots of great comments and feedback, and I LOVED it, it didn’t matter that this was for free, what mattered was that these (already trained) students could learn from me, as a skill builder, and help them get better at their trade, no matter where they were in the world. I was clear, this isn’t a substitute for proper training, but a true skill builder, where you can ask some questions in an industry that traditionally not known for being very collaborative.
This soon became something I was looking forward to, and within a few months I was looking at
re-opening my salon, and this took a back seat.
As the restrictions continued to rain down on my industry, I was left with more free time and more emphasis on the training side of things, my days in salon were soon eclipsed by the training side of the business, and when lockdown 2.0 hit, well I was ready.
Fast forward to today, and I cant believe the milestones I have hit.
Over 10,000 students across 50 different countries have accessed my free masterclasses across 4 different topics. With the feedback on these and the natural progression of providing such a top class offering, I’ve onboarded many many students, on full accredited courses.
With the help of those who I have helped, I’ve been able to provide a full service to those who don’t have English as their first language with translated manuals and assistance in translating some of the more complicated languages (like Arabic)
I couldn’t be prouder!
In the face of a time in our lives that will never be repeated in our generation, I have found a niche I didn’t even know I could offer, my profile globally on some of these topics, have me booked to visit Saudi, Canada, Australia (well when we are able to travel again) and I genuinely wake up every day and count my blessings.
I cant wait to get back to normal, hug my gran, see my friends and look at how my business looks in this new world as it develops, but for me, the business part of my life wont look back at this with anger, but as the time I helped 10,000 people to better themselves. No matter their language barriers, their financial position, where they were in the world, or what they could offer back to me, it was purely to help others in a time when I couldn’t help myself.