LEARNING CURVE | Everything is Just Peachy for Nelson Mandela Bay beauty therapist
Lockdown inspires social media-savvy Hayley Gow to establish her own Walmer salon
Gqeberha beauty therapist Hayley Gow took a leap of faith during the Covid-19 lockdown to open her own beauty salon, Just Peachy.
Gow has been in the beauty industry for more than 10 years and in 2020 decided it was time to venture into her own business.
With the support of her husband, Dean, and her two children, Gow says she enjoys running her own salon and treating all her clients like VIPs.
Please share some background on yourself and how the business was started?
Just Peachy developed as an idea during lockdown, when we were all stuck at home and unable to see clients.
The motivation was to go on my own so I could bring in more money to try to cover the funds I had lost during Covid-19.
The bonus of going on my own was that I was able to tailor-make my salon into my perfect space.
What is your core service?
Just Peachy is all about beauty.
We do a lot of nails, but we also offer beauty package treatments, as well as grooming, special occasion makeup, massage and lashes.
What makes your business different?
Just Peachy is unique because it is a boutique salon, offering exceptional one-on-one service where you feel the sense of comfort from home, but are still surrounded by amazing style.
A big part of my company identity is my social media management.
Being in the beauty industry there is so much competition.
Just Peachy had to stand out from the crowd to gain momentum, and a year down the line I am super proud of my little peach!
If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start?
Just do it!
I know the feeling of being in limbo and having to take that first step.
It is beyond scary, but by taking your first step you are closer to achieving your goal.
What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?
Load-shedding is a biggy for us — luckily, I have invested in an inverter.
It can sometimes be tricky to always meet clients’ expectations, and we do try our best, but at the end of the day we are also humans.
Obviously, going on your own, you need a bit of savings behind you to get off the ground.
Coming out of lockdown my finances were pretty thin; however, with determination and a lot of help from my nearest and dearest, my dream became a reality.
I think most people in the service world would agree that last-minute cancellations are an issue for us, especially because I do not request deposits.
What is the best advice anyone gave you on success?
Success is not determined by the chances we take but rather the choices we make.
This has stuck with me and it is so true!
How do you measure or define success in your business?
I think that we still have our doors open post-Covid lockdown is beyond amazing.
But seeing your business being referred by clients is one of the best measurements for success — it definitely means we are doing something right.
What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?
Always making each client feel special and their treatment personalised in some way — I always try to remember something about my clients just to give them that VIP feeling.
What kind of advertising do you do?
Social Media is my biggest advertising tool.
I feel it really works with my clients.
What is your company’s vision?
I’d love to expand into the teaching sector.
I have run a few workshops for preteens on the importance of facial cleansing, but maybe bumping that up a notch ... Watch this space!
What is your target market?
My clients are so diverse, but anyone who wants some pampering and beauty treatments can knock on my door.
What have some of your highlights been in running your business?
I find myself feeling overwhelmed by the support from my clients.
The relationships built over the years are amazing, starting with the first leg wax at 13 years old, doing matric makeup and then wedding makeup for the same clients.
It is incredible.
How important are social media and an online presence for your business?
Social media is the easiest way to your business out there.
I am lucky enough to have a team who run things in the background, and they do graphics and content.
They are incredible.
How many people do you employ?
I am a one-man band, but I do reach out to like-minded therapists who treat their clients like I love to treat mine, so we do couples treatments at Just Peachy.
How did you acquire funding for the business?
I asked my husband. I promise to pay him back but I never do!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your business journey so far?
Some people move on and it is not necessarily a reflection on you.
I used to take things so personally.
What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like Gqeberha?
I love a “small town” because everyone knows everyone, and you are basically getting the support from friends or through friends.
I am lucky enough to have had most of my clients for the last 10 years.
What do you say are the three key traits of a successful entrepreneur?
Hard work, being humble and taking advice from others.
What are the key traits of a successful employer?
In this industry it’s loyalty, hard work and a love for the industry.
What do you wish people knew about your industry?
We actually study to do this.
Most of us who have been in the game do it for the love of it.
It is hard work physically and mentally.
There is more than one meaning to being your therapist.
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