Undeniably COVID has seen much despair and disruption to many people’s lives. A number of my clients have lost loved ones in the most tragic of ways where trauma has been experienced alongside grief. Others have had their income significantly reduced through the enforced closures and some, their businesses, sadly haven’t survived. However, for me there have been some positives that in the broader scheme of things that have seen me come out on top – I have survived and am now read to thrive!

This Time Last Year

 

It is three years this month since I took the courageous step of starting my own business. Initially I joined a franchise as never having run my own business before I thought that would somewhat de-risk the investment. After having scrutinised the figures provided by the franchisor with my accountant we agreed that it would be a good option, together with the fact that the franchisor had a planned national expansion of 40 stores within my first year of business. Unfortunately, the franchise never really got off the ground and didn’t realise the expansion nor achieve the figures presented to me.

In addition to the franchise not delivering on its plans and financial return, the shop that I leased was in a centre that had $13M spent on renovations with a commitment to growth for people and places in the local community. The renovations failed and three of the five new tenants had shut within nine months of trading, well before COVID was even a word. Two other tenants had also been locked out, no doubt due to rent issues, and whilst there is a commercial element to everything, the community didn’t see it that way. So, after our first long lockdown in 2020, foot traffic (which had already been low) dropped by a further 30%.

My saving graces however have been that I was fortunate to be released from the franchise agreement which allowed me to rebrand my business, a skin clinic, in a way that I thought was more suited to the market I serve. In addition, after having months of discussions with the landlord (since December 2019) I was also able to negotiate a very favourable surrender agreement from my retail lease.

Had either of these events not occurred then I may be telling a different story today. Both of these, coupled with the payment relief received from the Federal and State Governments during the lockdowns has meant that I have been able to relocate my business to a more suitable location, reduce operational costs and rebrand my business.

I remember once when I was working at Coles, the then Managing Director, John Durkin, described the retail environment at the time as “only being able to see headwinds that we had to navigate through”. I always remembered this analogy of a wind blowing directly in front, opposing moving forward.

In July 2020 I thought about the headwinds that I was facing and decided to retrain and become a qualified esthetician so I could have the same expert knowledge on skin and be qualified to perform all the treatments I provide in my clinic. Due to COVID, this qualification has taken me longer than anticipated however I’m please to say, this month I graduate and now, in addition to my Bachelor of Business, I have a Diploma of Beauty. I’ve discovered a passion that I love so much that next year I’m continuing my studies and will be commencing my Bachelor in Dermal Science Degree– you’re never too old for learning (even thought I was the oldest in the class and often mistaken for a teacher!). My good friend and mentored, Michelle Gibbings, taught me, always look for the opportunity.

Whilst there is still lots of work to do, I’m as excited today as I was three years ago when I started this new flight path. There is still much to do but the trajectory is positive!

My genius zone is working with people around my age who want to establish better skin health routines and improve on the appearance of their skin. That being said, my customers are a diverse bunch of all age groups, genders with different skin and different needs. So, if you’re in the market for something new, a fresh approach to skin health that doesn’t involve all the associated beauty hype, come say hello and see how I can help or following me on Facebook or Instagram @skindevour.

Christine xx
Skindevour