Louise Thomas-Minns is a skin therapist and owner of U and Your Skin www.uandyourskin.co.uk in Bridewell Alley Norwich and London. Fiona Muller talked to her about her job and her fascination with other people’s skin health.
Why is it a good profession to get into?
I like working with people and love the challenge of nurturing people’s skin back to health. I started work as a Saturday girl in a beauty salon when I was 16 and became interested in skin because of my own skin problems with acne. I think that having a skin problem myself made me realise how debilitating it can be for self-esteem and made me want to help people to overcome it.
It is a growing industry as people are more conscious than ever of their appearance. Throughout the recession I have maintained and grown my client base and am now looking to recruit more skin therapists.
What does the work involve?
There is no such thing as an average working day. I am currently run off my feet, working from 9pm–7.30pm, five days a week. I don’t work in the Skin Lounge the other two days, but when you have your own business it is really hard to turn off.
I don’t have quiet times; unlike a beauty salon the work is not seasonal. If people have an issue with their skin it is usually a condition that has to be treated over a period of time rather than just during the summer months.
I went straight from school to GreatYarmouthCollege where I did NVQ Level 3 in Beauty Therapy and my CIDESCO qualification. I then worked as a full-time beauty therapist and salon manager. I also worked for skin care brands as an account manager and taught beauty therapy. Opening the Skin Lounge has made my dreams a reality and I am really happy with where I am now in my career.
What are the positives/negatives of this profession?
The best thing about this job is getting results with people’s skin. I love to see people’s confidence develop as their skin condition improves.
I am really lucky to work in a profession that I love and am excited to see my brand grow and develop. I am also lucky to have really supportive clients and friends who keep me going.
I guess the most negative thing about the job is the hours. I have a heavy workload and a bad work life balance at the moment, but that will change over time!
Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?
I opened the first Skin Lounge in Norfolk and have seen the business develop and grow. I am now looking for additional skin therapists to join me, so I guess there is demand for more people in Norwich.
What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?
I would look for an NVQ Level 3 in Beauty Therapy, or an equivalent, initially, but would also look for someone who is passionate about skin health. You need to have an interest in skin to work in this industry as well as a positive happy attitude. In addition, I would be looking for someone with good people skills and who is a great communicator.
Industry experience is always a bonus but is not necessarily essential.