A beauty therapist has been able to give a stylish make-over to her business thanks to a timely grant from Conwy Rural Business Support.
Although her skills are already well honed by her years of experience, she believes it is vital that to keep up to date with all the latest beauty techniques so that her business stays at the cutting edge of customer trends.
So that’s why Haf recently applied for a Tailored Training Grant from Conwy Rural Business Support, the organisation which works within Conwy Council’s Rural Development Plan to sponsor entrepreneurship and businesses in the area.
The grant, which provides up to £1,000 for established enterprises to acquire vital training to boost their business potential, is part funded through the Rural Development Plan which is financed by the EU and the Welsh Government.
It has already covered the cost of a special training course for Haf at which she learned how to apply the latest eyelash extensions, currently the must-have beauty accessory for style-conscious ladies.
And it could provide more cash for her if she opts for training in any further new advances she wishes to introduce at her busy salon, which she opened with the aid of an earlier grant from Conwy Rural Business Support.
As she explained, being able to bring Beauty Bliss to her hometown of Llanwrst fulfilled a long-standing ambition for Haf.
After leaving a local school, she underwent a three-year training course in beauty therapy at Coleg Llandrillo’s Rhos-on-Sea campus, leaving with her NVQ qualifications.
Her first job as a beauty therapist was at the swish Bodysgallen Hall and Spa in Llandudno where, within just six months her potential was realised when she was promoted to senior therapist.
After 11 highly successful years at the hotel, Haf took a break from the beauty business to have her son Tomos, who now 18 months old, before deciding to return to work by setting up her own salon.
She said: “Although I enjoyed working at the hotel very much I always dreamed about coming back to Llanwrst, where I was born and brought up and still live, and opening a salon.
“I heard that there were grants available from Conwy Rural Business Support to help small businesses such as mine with initial set-up costs. I successfully applied for one of these and it helped me to get Beauty Bliss open last May.
“I’ve been really busy since then offering the full range of therapy services, such as manicures, pedicures, spray tanning in the booth I have, waxing, massages and facials.
“However, I had started to be asked by some of my customers if I also did eyelash extensions, which are the very latest thing. I hadn’t ever done those before, so I decided I must get some special training for it.
“I went back to Conwy Rural Business Support and they arranged for me to get a Tailored Training Grant. This covered the cost of a one-day course in doing eyelash extensions held in Llandudno just recently.
“Now I’m fully competent to do them and I’ll be launching this new service at the salon in the spring. The eyelash extensions are now very popular with ladies attending special occasions such as weddings and parties and going away on their holidays.
“Although the salon was already doing very well – I have appointments booked well into the new year – this new skill I have gained is very important as it helps to keep my business up with all the latest trends.
“I’m very grateful to Conwy Rural Business Support for arranging for me to be given the grant, which has certainly helped me a lot. The application process was very straightforward and if I needed any help with filling in the forms there was always someone there for me on the other end of the phone.”
Anna Openshaw, project manager for Conwy Rural Business Support, said Haf was the perfect example of how useful the Tailored Training Grant can be to a small business.
She explained: “The grant, which we have just relaunched, has that name because it is tailored to the recipient’s individual requirements.
“It helps to pay up to 75 per cent towards the cost of bespoke training and is available for any individual or business living or working in rural Conwy up to a maximum of about £1,000, with the exception of agriculture for which there are separate grants which are covered by Farming Connect.
“The Tailored Training Grant also complements Dyfodol that’s administered by Coleg Llandrillo Menai. It is unique because it is only available in the rural areas of Conwy where we find people have to work that bit harder to attract business.
“The aim is to help make businesses more productive and individuals more employable.
“The grant is available for any businesses, such as hairdressers, general retailers, those working in catering or providing some kind of service to the public.
“In Haf’s case the grant helped her stay ahead of developments in beauty therapy, which is vital to ensuring the success of her salon and we are delighted we were able to help.
“The same grant will also help towards the cost of any other training she thinks is necessary to assist her with growing her business.”
Haf added that if Beauty Bliss continues to enjoy the same level of customer support it has had since opening in the summer she might consider taking on extra staff, including at least one qualified beauty therapist sometime in 2014.
For more information about the grant contact Anna Openshaw or Hedd Williams either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ringing 01492 577835.