Beauty Therapist to Business Owner by the age of 24. Southend’s first fully Vegan Salon.

I am a beauty therapist by trade but I see myself as a self-care activist, wanted to spread relaxation, self-worth and peace into people’s lives and the world. I started out as a business owner in 2014 at the age of 24. I had never actually owned a business before but I had been self-employed practically my whole working life apart from the odd spa jobs but I had always wanted my own salon.

I just landed on my feet, being in the right place at the right time, I was working for a beauty therapist for around 9 months, who had been running her business over 10 years and she wanted to down size. She didn’t want the responsibility of having staff members any more as she needed to focus on her young family. I was worried about what I would do next and she offered me a proposition I couldn’t refuse. This woman gifted me with the permission to take the clients I had built up, rent a section of her shop, that would have its own front door and that’s where The Beauty Shop Essex was created and I have never looked back.

Starting out with a business like that, it doesn’t really give you much time to think about your brand or what direction as a business you will be going. I had the experience and the tools of being a beauty therapist but not a business owner. I have tried a lot of different angles in my business while finding my feet, not only growing on a professional level but being so young when I started, I was also discovering who I really was and my own style, this has shaped my business to where it is today after many faces it has taken on and I am really proud to the place we have got. This motivates me, I look back and see how far I have come, The Beauty Shop Essex now has an amazing clientele, we take on work experience girls to shape the way they think about the industry and I have actually got to the stage where I have a staff member who I give a living too as well as myself. How amazing is that, I am contributing in a positive way to local people’s lives. My passion of a self-care activist is truly being fulfilled.

As a business, after so many shape changes and finding an ethos that I truly believed in and wanted to express out, our main focus is giving that time and self-worth to people whether they arrive for an eyebrow wax or a massage they leave feeling positive, loved and confident. Recently in my life I have become more and more conscious of my foot print on the world, the amount of plastic produced and used, the cruelty to animals and just how we are starting to destroy our planet so on a personal level I started to make the transition to vegan and more self-conscious of my own foot print on the planet. Being a business owner I realised I wasn’t just an individual contributing to this, my foot print as an influencer was much larger. As an influencer I decided to take action and I felt I was being a hypocrite to myself by condemning animal cruelty for food in my personal life but using products in my business life that did contribute towards animal cruelty if I didn’t. It was just expressing its not ok to eat animals but we can use them for vain. Literally using animals’ deaths for vanity, which really isn’t okay. This is where my journey to create vegan salon began.

I started to research into different professional suppliers, some that made vegan alternatives on purpose and some that had not. I was a lot of fun trial different products from skin care to waxing, at this stage I am still searching and testing some products but I am nearly there on making my salon fully vegan friendly and also a side line of having maternity options for most treatment. After I have my vegan treatments fully sorted I will start to analysis in further depth about waste disposable and eco-friendly alternative. The Beauty Shop is making really exciting changes and ripples at the moment.

In the salon at the moment the most popular treatment from our veganmenu is our skin resurfacing treatment.  We use Organic and cruelty free skincare that is packed full with antioxidants and essential fatty acids – some of these include Organically Epic’s Eco by Sonya products.  When your skin is faced with the colder months, you may feel your skin getting alot dryer.  This is because you are going into the cold and back into warm central heating, making it difficult for your skin to adapt, resulting is loss of moisture.  To help your skin during the colder months it is really important to introduce hydrating products.  Remember to exfoliate the dead skin cells before apply a more hydrating product like the coconut body milk from the Eco by Sonya range.  Otherwise you will just be patting down dead skin cells and creating a dull complexion.

Once The Beauty Shop has got to a stage where all our treatment menu is to perfection and we are known for doing vegan treatments giving our clients a truly luxurious experience, while still staying kind to the world around us, I hope to expand by opening more salons like this and hopefully creating a trend for other salons to follow.

Courtney x

Find Courtney Smith and the Beauty Shop at the below – go on… book yourself in for one of her gorgeous cruelty free treatments:



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