It’s all looking good for Tracey Rawlinson.
The former Greenhead College student who started her career in retailing is now her own boss – running a business specialising in skin care treatments.
And she has high hopes of expanding the business, Skin Solutions, from its present location in busy Holmfirth.
Tracey, who grew up in Newsome, attended King James School at Almondbury before taking A-levels in drama, English and history at Greenhead.
She says: “I was very creative and enjoyed drama, but as a young girl I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.”
She went into retailing and progressed to departmental management roles with Morrisons and later Wilkinsons.
But at the age of 22, she took an evening course in beauty treatment at Huddersfield’s White Rose Beauty College – juggling parenting with her studies. She says: “I had to work around the children. It was hard work, but it was ‘do-able’.”
Tracey even devoted holiday breaks to training and study to increase her knowledge about skin care.
She went on to work at a number of salons, saying: “I did not dream of opening my own business to begin with.”
However, when the opportunity arose, she grasped it.
An empty property at Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, has been lovingly refurbished to provide a reception area, treatment room and spa.
“I needed to find the right place and I was looking towards the Holme Valley,” she says.
“This property became available. It was like a gift from above! It needed renovating, but we were able to get it open really quickly. We had to stand out from the competition.”
She recalls: “I was doing 15-hour shifts, doing treatments and running up and down the stairs – until I could build my staff up. After the first year, I’m now beginning to get my breath back”
Now the premises offer four large treatment rooms, a consulting room and a first floor spa area as well as a sauna and “mud” room.
“We want to attract people to come here for pampering sessions,” says Tracey. “We tend to attract ladies aged 30 and over.
“We put a skin plan together with them which sets out what they need to do for the best results to tackle premature ageing or skin conditions.
“We are designing a website which will be targeted on the customer and will include a down-to-earth help guide which provides basic information about treatments.”
Tracey says by following the carefully compiled skin plans, customers can “maintain the results” of their treatment.
Tracey still works long hours – typically 9am to 10pm. The evenings often find her typing up skin care plans for clients and tackling emails.
And she hasn’t stopped studying. “I am constantly taking courses to learn new things,” she says. “I am working with the Institute of Anti-Ageing.”
Tracey says a typical consultation involves asking the client about her background and lifestyle, adding: “Sometimes, they will tell me things they wouldn’ tell their own family.
“We use empathy and we are not judgmental. It’s about relating to the customer and building trust. The aim is to provide somewhere they can be themselves and relax.”
Skin Solutions has already attained a client experience award from salon booking system supplier Phorest Salon Software based on ratings submitted by customers.
Most of its business comes through recommendation and word-of-mouth.
Skin Solutions offers treatments using a number of recognised skin care brands, including Environ, Guinot facial products and Jane Iredale skin care make-up.
Tracey says: ”We took a risk by installing the spa, but the spa will bring different people in. I have been to several spas and I’ve sometimes beren disappointed. I’ve tried to pick up on what I thought was missing.
Tracey’s success to date could just be the start of bigger things.
“I would like to open up more Skin Solution salons,” she says. “It is certainly a model that could be franchised.
“We want Skin Solutions to become a widely-recognised name in the sector.”
Despite a busy schedule, Tracey finds time to go swimming and visit the gym, where she alsop has a personal trainer.
Taking time away from business is important for everyone, she says
“I’ve learned how to ‘shutdown’ from work’” says Tracey. “I live in the moment.
“There are times when you think you’ve had a quiet week, but the following week it’s absolutely brilliant.
“It puts you on a rollercoaster – but you can’t live like that because it only makes you anxious all the time. Yo have to step aside.
“Emotionally, you have to enjoy your life. You can’t let the business take over. You need to take a break and recharge your batteries. You only have one pair of hands and one brain.”
But she adds: “It’s important to learn form your mistakes. Don’t let your ego take over the business. Nobody likes a bighead!
“They want people who are down-to-earth. It’s a big mistake for business owners to keep on going ‘me, me, me’ You can’t be self-obsessed. You should be working for the business.”
She says: “The important thing is getting people through the door. We do that by coming up with new ideas.
“Think outside the box, change things round. If things get stale, don’t get into a pattern in terms of how you do things. Think of something to separate yourself from your competitors.”
Family: Children Abigail, 16, Charlotte,
11 and Zachary, seven
Car: Golf convertible
Holidays: Somewhere hot, somewhere cold! I’d like to see the world
First job: Selling cooked meats at Masons in Queensgate Market
Best thing about the job? The customers. I like meeting different people and I like helping people
Worst thing about the job? Sleepless nights not knowing what’s around the corner. It’s hard work and mentally challenging to run a business
Business tip: Be creative and think outside the box
Work: Skin treatment clinic
Site: Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth
Phone: W01484 605799