This time 12 years ago I was just about to open the doors to my first limited company, Orchids Hideaway, a beauty salon on the high street & a dream coming true. I had been building Orchids Hideaway since 2003 when I started training to become a Beauty Therapist. My Dad always said I needed a ‘proper education’ so I went to University in Las Vegas (UNLV) which I made some wonderful memories and dear friends, but Communications and Spanish was not my passion. Since I was nine years old I wanted to have my own salon and be a Beauty Therapist.
My Aunt had The Elusive Butterfly, two successful salons near London and as an independent business woman was a great mentor and role model. I wanted to be financially independent and create a business that could provide for myself, a family and be part of a community.
After staying true to my word and keeping my agreement with my father, I then moved to England and embarked on my journey of education into all things beauty. I found a course near the New Forest where I had relocated to and it was great because I didn’t have to choose one subject. In the USA you have to choose one discipline - esthetician, nail technician, masseuse, but in the UK the qualifications teach you a variety of treatments - facials, nail treatments, waxing, massage, holistic treatments etc. I also took evening and weekend classes to finish my NVQ 2 and 3 in one year. I then went on to study for a second year to further my career in the industry learning more level 3 treatments. During the course I met an interesting woman named Lizzie who was Cabin Crew for British Airways and wanted to further develop her skillset in the beauty industry. Having international family and been on my first flight at six weeks old, I have always loved to travel, so it didn't take much encouragement from Lizzie to apply to be a flight attendant.
I applied for the two most prestigious long haul airlines in the UK - British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. At the time I still hadn't gained my British citizenship, so my application for BA wasn't accepted, but luckily Virgin Atlantic were open to having a North American Cabin Crew Member. I travelled around the world sight seeing and researching various spas, salons and treatments during my four years as Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew. I loved flying and had been to every destination that Virgin flew to at the time. It was a wonderful way to see the world with such an amazing mix of people! I used to visit salons and spas in each destination to experience different treatments and get ideas for Orchids Hideaway. As the economic climate started to change in 2008, Virgin were changing the amount of destinations they flew to and at the same time I saw an advertisement for a salon for sale! Another dream of mine was to open my own salon, I had been operating a treatment room out of a spare bedroom for five years and my client base was building. Flying turned into my days of rest because when I was at home my diary was filled with clients and I had a waiting list.
The time had come to spread my wings and open a salon working in beauty full time. A place had just become available in town, so that day I went to look at it and have never turned back. I have always been fervent about the beauty industry and enjoyed sharing my knowledge and passion with others. When I left Virgin Atlantic to start a new chapter, I never envisioned I would be standing here today as a Multiple Award Winning Beauty Therapist and Business Owner.
Once I had a successful salon running, I then felt it was time to inspire others to join the industry. I qualified at Greenwich University to be a teacher and taught Beauty Therapy at Southampton City College for six years. I loved teaching, but once I had two children, running a business, teaching and domestic duties became too much to juggle. I chose to restructure and sold Orchids Hideaway. I then set up my second limited company and created Orchids Retreat, a bespoke beauty salon that I run from home in a purpose build cabin. I never imaged that 8 years after taking the step to make beauty a full-time career I would be asked to enter some industry awards. I thought hey I’ve got nothing to lose I will give it my best attempt, you don’t know until you try - right?! I was lucky to win British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC) and Confederation of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (CIBTAC) 2016 Beauty Therapist of the Year and a Gold Award for my contribution to the beauty industry.
Since that life changing evening I have been fortunate to be recognised by several awarding body's for my skill set and entrepreneurial leadership. Now four years on from that I find myself recreating the new normal in an industry I’ve always been passionate about. I’ve since gone on to win numerous awards, not only as a beauty therapist but also as a business owner. I find through adversity come great things and with this pandemic and forced timeout of our daily routines, it has given me the gift of time to create another new business called Signature D, which will enable me not only to share my passion with my clients, but now to help other colleagues in industry to develop, grow and blossom. Signature D is a beauty business in a box whether it’s a career change, a life long passion, you’re new to the industry or looking for refresh an already established business. I’m here to help you design your destiny and to be your mentor.
Over the years there have been other chapters added into the Diana’s Book of Life. I now have two boys and am starting two more companies; Signature D a ’Beauty Business in a Box’ Coaching Company and Aurum D a Skincare product range. I love this industry because it is constantly developing, growing and evolving- just like us!
Our next coaching courses will start on the 6th July. Whether you’re interested in 1-2-1 or group sessions, a quarterly boost or an annual adventure. Please get in touch to show your interest www.orchidsretreat.co.uk/signature-d