By Corrie Jacobs, Beauty Therapist
I am a South African woman with an incredible passion for beauty and wellness. Despite my obsession with aesthetic treatments and methods, I didn’t begin any formal training until I was 37. Short courses eventually led me to become a full-time student at Elizabeth Beauty School in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. My enthusiasm for the booming health and skin care therapy field blossomed under the guidance of their great tutors.
Even at 41 years of age I was eager to learn so much more, so enrolled in Steiner’s six-star therapist training programme. It was so inspirational that I joined their team and was privileged to visit over 150 cities around the world as a Steiner beauty consultant.
This really instilled in me a love for travel. It was so exciting to learn about new places and cultures, plus I met some wonderful people who shared my genuine devotion to the industry.
Wishing to set sail on my own, I took on consulting projects with a spa in the Mauritius and later joined a cruise ship company operating among the magnificent Greek Islands.
Throughout this exciting period I also maintained my “happy place”, my own Yophy Beauty Salon in Port Elizabeth. It was more of a business about bringing joy to people, rather than delivering income to me. I just enjoyed sharing my knowledge and expertise with others. I often free-lanced at other spas in South Africa to broaden my experience and get fresh perspectives on spa operations.
WHY I CHOSE TO STUDY SPA AND SALON MANAGEMENT
During my many years working with different spas and salons, both overseas and in my home country, I can honestly say that 90% of the managers were not capable as they lacked proper training. Often they were senior therapists who were promoted to managerial levels even though they had little or no basic business skills. As a result, these companies did not reach their full potential, some eventually failing.
As barriers to enter the beauty salon industry are very low, ambitious therapists also often open their own small business. Although some of these spas and salons prosper, many are still frequently managed haphazardly, resulting in sub-standard client treatments, no formal mechanisms to assess key factors to long term success, and poor administration of employees that results in low morale and a high turnover rate. I was shocked to see how badly and unfairly staff were treated because of sloppy human resources policies. I really wondered how they could retain staff in such pathetic work environments. Did they realize how expensive it is to recruit and train new staff compared to the minimal cost to retain their current staff that are performing well? After all, clients will not return without great customer service in all operational aspects.
I was also stunned to see how many had no mission or vision statements, nor had completed any market research. These are fundamental to start and grow any business, much less one such as a salon that relies heavily on quality service and loyal clientele.
These observations got me thinking about my own situation and ambitions. I thought with all my experience and aim to open a finishing school, why don’t I undertake a spa management course. Yet, the only options in South Africa were on-line courses and I preferred a classroom learning experience with a teacher who could answer all of my practical questions right away.
THE BISA EXPERIENCE
After a lot of research, I decided on the VTCT Diploma in Spa and Salon Management taught at Bali BISA. I flew to Bali with my daughter, Liara who joined me in the course. Even though we both worked really hard, we were also able to appreciate all the wonderful aspects of Bali’s unique culture and stunning scenery.
Penny Ellis, the founder of Bali BISA, was our lecturer and what a fountain of knowledge she was. Her enthusiasm for excellence was contagious. Her ability to transfer her expansive experience through classroom teaching with competency and clarity were impressive. Also, the textbook materials and homework assignments were of the highest standard. They were laid out in a logical fashion with plenty of examples, so easy to follow for Liara and myself.
Penny encouraged me to also complete BISA’s own Spa Consultant certification programme and the CIBTAC diploma in Spa and Salon Management. I accepted both challenges with determination. I really enjoyed the research required to complete the CIBTAC portfolio of evidence as by then my confidence in being a competent Spa Manager, Consultant or Owner was quickly growing. I returned to Bali to be interviewed by the CIBTAC Examiner who also had flown half way around the world from Ireland to meet me. And, yes, I passed with exceptionally high marks.
The content of the three courses provided me with clear and proficient guidelines to rectify the management shortcomings witnessed while I was a consultant and free lance therapist. My training gave me outstanding guidelines for essential market and competitor analysis, as well as how to set short and long term goals, and then convert these into budgets and forecasts for proper financial management. It also enhanced my people skills, both internally and externally.
THE HOME STRETCH TO ACHIEVING MY DREAM
My husband and I recently moved to New Zealand where I am working again as a Beauty Therapist. The qualifications as a Spa / Salon Manager and Consultant obtained at Bali BISA assisted me to secure a great job in New Zealand to set me on the road to reaching my dream of one day again owning my own salon and most importantly running a small finishing school for beauty therapists.
Many thanks to Penny and the delightful Bali BISA team for pushing me along to make my dreams come true.
If you too are interested in furthering your career of business, check out the options here.