One of the challenges for many of us is the ability to juggle the commitments of work and family. It’s a challenge that, for a lot of business owners, is a key driver in starting a business venture or becoming self-employed – and it was certainly the case for Sir Thomas White Loan Charity business loan borrower, Mumtaz Ahmed.
Stuck in a banking job that she started to resent due to the need to spend more time looking after her family, Mumtaz utilised the skills she had acquired working in banking and coupled them with previous training in beauty to start Clearskin Hair Beauty Laser; her own beauty salon specialising in laser hair removal.
“I was working for a bank, but I just didn’t have the flexibility with my children,” explained Mumtaz. “I couldn’t attend a school play. My mum was also very ill, so I needed to be able to take time off to look after her. I went from being Employee of the Month to genuinely not enjoying what I was doing. I came to a point where I couldn’t do it anymore. It wasn’t working for my lifestyle. I’d previously completed a beauty qualification a while back – but it wasn’t something I thought I’d go into, because I wasn’t a particularly authoritative person at the time. Working in a bank helped with that massively, so when I went back to it, I had developed all of these customer service skills which are so important in beauty.”
Due to the nature of the industry, keeping up with the latest trends are key, however it was also important to Mumtaz that the services that were being offered by her business were as profitable as possible. She identified laser hair removal – and with the help of an interest-free loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, was able to buy the necessary equipment.
“When starting out, I knew that I didn’t want to be focused on eyebrows and threading, because it was relatively menial money,” Mumtaz explained. “Having worked as a customer adviser in a bank, it would be less money to focus on those services, so I looked at the target market and hair removal was trending. There was a big market, it would provide good money and I could get into the market at the right time. The only problem was: I didn’t have the funds.
“The initial loan enabled me to buy the laser machine which was critical to my business plan and unique product. Everything else was put in by myself.
After initially renting space to work within hair salons, Mumtaz later made the decision to move to her own premises. Transforming her garage into a beauty salon, she is now where she wants to be. However, the impact of COVID-19 meant that facial treatments were put on hold. When lockdown ended and restrictions started to ease, Mumtaz discovered the £5,000 grants that were being delivered by The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity and moved quickly to apply so that she could offer more services than before.
“With the grant from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, I have been able to introduce micro needling, which is something that is popular and trending, and is especially good with receding hair,” Mumtaz revealed. “That’s something that, previously, people were travelling abroad to have done and was very expensive. Now I can offer the micro needling, which provides a service that complements the laser treatments that are my most profitable services.
“I’m really thankful to The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity,” she continued. “Without the charity, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I moved to a bigger house, I have my own salon, I’m content…it’s changed my life.
“Working in other jobs for the hours I do, I’d never be able to earn the money I do. There have been difficult times, of course, but being able to meet my customers is wonderful. They’re all lovely and I’ve established a business where my customers aren’t necessarily those that follow me on Instagram. They’re real people and I’ve become so close to some of them. I’m so glad I chose this profession.”
Now looking ahead to the future, the experience that Mumtaz has accumulated over the past year in particular has been beneficial in many ways.
“I’m excited about the future,” she admitted. “I’ve become such a confident therapist and I’ve started to block out the noise and influence of external parties on social media. I’m in my own lane, updating my business the way I want – rather than how I feel others would want me to. Funnily enough, in doing that, I have influencers asking me if they can come for a treatment, rather than me asking an influencer! That’s boosted my confidence and it’s made me realise that I am my business’ own USP (unique selling point).
“Moving forward, I’d like to take somebody on,” Mumtaz added. “I’ve taken courses in hairdressing, so now we have a hairdresser’s chair and a beauty chair – and it would be good to have somebody working with me. I’m determined not to become complacent and I’ll keep training and evolving, but right now – I’m in a great place personally and professionally.”
Alternatively, please CLICK HERE to find out more about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loans