For many of our borrowers starting a new business, it’s industry experience and knowledge that provides a key platform for success. After all, your product or service is what your business is built on. However, when experience and opportunity collide, more often than not, it’s a perfect match.
That was the case for Sophie Haynes, who applied for one of our interest-free loans in 2016. Over the course of the start of her career within the beauty industry, Sophie had worked in various areas. However, when mobile working, an opportunity presented itself which was too good for Sophie to ignore.
“At the start of my career within the industry, I was lucky enough to explore so many different avenues,” she explained.
“From working in salons and a beauty academy, to later beauty halls in department stores, I then worked aboard a P&O cruise liner which sailed the South Pacific. When I returned to land, I started doing a little mobile work whilst working as a make-up ambassador for an American brand. During that time, a quaint Grade 2-listed building came onto the market in Melton Mowbray. That gave me the inspiration to open my own beauty salon in my hometown.”
In 2013 on the ground floor of the building, Sophie Élise Beauty Salon opened its doors for the first time, but after three years of trading, Sophie was keen to expand on what the salon offered. In 2016, with help from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity and our interest-free business loans, Sophie transformed the two floors above the beauty salon into a day spa.
“Since expanding, we are able to offer both traditional beauty treatments for individual clients, such as nails and waxing, along with more luxurious treatments like body scrubs and wraps for small groups. The spa also offers full private access with a cosy relaxation room, shower facilities, sauna, unlimited tea and coffee, an outdoor courtyard and an option to enjoy afternoon tea, which is catered for by Miss B’s Tea Room.
“I found out about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity through Melton Borough Council,” Sophie continued. “Initially, the cost to convert the two floors from a residential flat to a suitable commercial space was a huge challenge, especially being in my early 20s with a new business I’d not long taken the plunge to go full time into. It was a daunting prospect to take out a bank loan with interest to pay and repayments to begin immediately. Finding out about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity gave me the opportunity to take the leap with less pressure financially.”
Fast-forward to 2022 and Sophie Élise Beauty Salon & Day Spa has just celebrated six years from the opening of the day spa, with the charity’s financial support covering the cost of renovations, equipment required and stock ahead of the spa’s initial launch.
“The application let me sit down and create a professional business plan,” admitted Sophie. “The questions were thorough, but in no way overwhelming, as I’ve experienced with forms since. Everyone I have met through the charity has been nothing but supportive since. It’s full of amazing people.”
Today, Sophie Élise Beauty Salon & Day Spa continues to grow, with over 2,000 clients on the booking system and an expanding team. The business has also won a number of awards, including Best Day Spa presented by the British Hair & Beauty Awards (East Midlands) and Muddy Stiletto Awards (Leicestershire and Rutland).
“Moving forward, I want us to continue to support and give opportunities to other people and small businesses,” said Sophie. “We work with so many amazing local businesses for an array of services to cover things such as marketing, botox events and clinics, afternoon tea and even tarot card evenings.
“My next goal would be to create small extensions for someone to start something new for themselves, which complements what we do!
“I’m honestly so pleased I requested an application form from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity,” insisted Sophie.
“What is it they say? ‘What have you got to lose?’ If you’re looking for a loan, this is not only one of the most generous out there, but also one of the most supportive.”
To find out more about Sophie Élise Beauty Salon & Day Spa, please visit https://www.sophieelisebeauty.com/ or follow @SophieEliseBeauty on social media.
Alternatively, please click here to find out more about our interest-free business loans.