Nicole Stubbs opened up her breezy beauty salon, Tribe Natural Beauty, at Sydney’s Bronte beach earlier this year. Professional Beauty talks to her about being a sole practitioner, staying motivated – and working with the best beauty experts in the world.
You have your own salon now, what is it like working on your own?
“It’s funny – I never really feel like I’m working on my own,” says Nicole Stubbs. “I have such beautiful clients, that it feels like I have friends coming and going all day long. On a business level, it’s a lot to juggle. I find time management is key!”
How do you stay motivated as a one-person salon?
“Having just opened my first business, the motivation levels are at an all-time high,” says Stubbs. “The success of the place being entirely on me is very motivating. I also think it’s really important to keep your finger on the pulse in the beauty industry too – working alone can put you at risk for looking too inward. I like to try new treatments and salons, even if it’s just for a massage, to see what clients would be experiencing elsewhere, to keep an eye on trends that are happening and that sort of thing. Plus, you always pick up on something valuable.”
What are the positives of having your own salon?
“There are so many!” says Stubbs. “A standout so far has definitely been creating a beautiful space. I am by the beach in Bronte so I got to create a real sanctuary that I love spending time in. I also got to design a treatment menu and select products that I personally love and truly believe in.”
As an owner/operator, you need to keep healthy and not get sick! How do you do this?
“I have always loved to exercise and live in Tamarama so tend to start my day running the Bondi to Bronte track, cycling or swimming at Icebergs in Bondi,” says Stubbs. “It’s such a good start and sets you up for the day. The lovely ladies at Orchard St down the road have also made me up some great herbal tonics to keep me in check.”
Your treatment menu includes the multi-tasking Power Hour treatment – where did the idea for this come from and what does it involve?
“Like most women, my girlfriends are time-poor. They were coming to me wanting the works but had no time to luxuriate in a long appointment, or come in a bunch of times for different things,” says Nicole Stubbs. “So I found a way to give them glowing skin, as well as beautifully manicured brows and nails, all in the one session. I am so addicted to the glow you get from LED treatments so this one includes time under the light, after a cleanse and exfoliation of the skin, a brow tidy and a file/buff and polish of the nails, all for $145 and all in 60 minutes.”
What do you find your clients are asking for most?
“Most of my clients just want to look healthy and radiant, to feel pulled together and polished,” says Stubbs. “Whether that’s a really natural brow shape, a lash tint, a manicure or a facial; it’s quite evenly split so far. Perhaps because I’m such a believer in it, I love that more people are appreciating the benefits of the LED treatments. The results are so amazing.”
Treatment-wise, what do you love doing most?
“I really love them all equally!” says Stubbs. “I love the instant lift of a lash and brow tint, painting the latest trends on nails, or giving someone a nurturing, relaxing facial and helping them achieve beautiful, glowing skin which makes them feel good.”
What products/technology do you use?
“I currently stock MV Organics, O Cosmedics, PAINT, Dazzle Dry and Vinylux nail varnishes. I also have the PhotonSmart LED light therapy machine which has both the Blue and Red LED light,” says Stubbs.
In terms of your treatment menu, how have you tailored it to work for your salon?
“I have tailored the treatment menu to focus on quality beauty therapy,” says Stubbs. “There’s so much to offer in the beauty industry at the moment, so many products making all sorts of promises, that I wanted Tribe Natural Beauty to be the kind of place that women could come regularly as part of their regimen and receive great quality care. I decided not to offer gels for the nails because I’ve found there’s always some damage that comes with it. All of my polish brands are 5-free formula because there are high-performance products now available and low-tox is always a better choice. I called it Tribe Natural Beauty because I wanted to attract a tribe of like minded people wanting to share in the experience of a beautiful space and quality treatments by the beach.”
You have worked all over the world in some incredible places. Can you tell me a bit about this?
“I’ve been a beauty therapist for just over 12 years,” says Stubbs. “I spent many of them working at the SPACE NK Spa in Notting Hill in London performing Eve Lom facials and as a personal beauty therapists on board luxury super yachts cruising the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. If you can perform perfect manicures on the deck of a boat bobbing in the middle of the ocean, doing one on land is easy!”
What has been the biggest challenge opening up your own salon?
“I think having the courage to back yourself and know you can do it,” says Stubbs. “It’s daunting at first but I’m surrounded by an amazing family and group of friends who have encouraged me to have faith in myself and my skills, and that’s been really empowering.”
What has been your most memorable career moment so far?
“Being trained by Eve Lom in her specific facial technique is up there,” says Stubbs. “She is such a pioneer, so innovative and has an amazing touch! I have definitely carried on using her technique throughout my career. And then, of course, the opening of my own space. Having clients come for the first time, and then come back is the best compliment I can get.”