Sonya Annesley grew up in the tiny town of Caragabal with plans to work on the family farm, but fate led her into beauty. The inspiring working mum shares what life is like in her Engadine salon, InnerSense Beauty & Day Spa.
When was InnerSense established?
“After growing my business from home for many years, InnerSense was established. I was a single mum raising two daughters, so I ran the business from home before moving to the premises at Engadine. We have nine large treatment rooms, a reception area and two pedicure spa chairs. As a single mum, it was great to have flexibility to care for my two daughters.”
Tell us about your staff?
“We have three casual receptionists, five beauty therapists and two contract remedial massage therapists. Many of my girls have been with me for over 11 years. There is no way I could run this business without the amazing team I have – we are like family.”
What makes InnerSense unique?
“It has a welcoming, fun, caring, warm environment. We feel blessed to have clients that have been associated with us for over 30 years. Our downstairs area has our reception and is where all our waxing, laser, spray tans and pedicures treatments take place. Our upstairs is our quiet peaceful place where our clients can enjoy pampering facials and massages in a relaxing calm environment.”
“We have so many highlights as a salon and as a team. Introducing new technologies and treatments always creates excitement. In 2016 I had pursued other business opportunities, however quickly realised beauty was my first love. The salon needed a new injection and we had a rep from True Solutions pop in one day to show us Omnilux LED light therapy. One of my staff was adamant it was the way to go and we purchased it. It was a game changer. The same year we were nominated for the Sutherland Shire Small Business Awards and we were so ecstatic when we won.”
What challenges have you faced?
“Small business is hard and at times terrifying. When things are slow we will have a staff meeting and brainstorming session to see what ideas the girls have. Sometimes you have to go back to basics, like sending clients letters, offering something complimentary with a facial, sending out specials on social media or by SMS. You cannot sit back and wait for the clients to walk in the door.”
How do you focus on retail?
“Retail is the key to success. If a client has a facial, they genuinely care about their skin or have a concern. I would rather see a client have fewer facials and use great skin care morning and night. We do a lot of sampling rather than hard sell as we genuinely know once the client has tried the products, they will come back to buy them. We always try and up-sell even with an eyebrow wax. Use a concealer, suggest a tint or pop on some mascara.”
Tell us about education and training?
“I love that you never stop learning in our industry. In the past few years, our education and training have been constant after introducing new treatments such as Omnilux, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, fat cavitation and Nanopore skin needling. And our new product lines such as Elizabeth Arden PRO and HydroPeptide. True Solutions have a comprehensive training schedule both in and out of the salon. It’s a great networking opportunity to meet up with other therapists and share ideas and common goals.”
What are the future plans for InnerSense?
“I feel I have another few in this industry with plans to retire by 60. I want to continue to grow the business and be able to hand it to a younger dynamic person to continue the business. We always have our eye on new treatments and will continue do so. In this business, passion is a must. You have to genuinely want to care and pamper your clients and give them your absolute all. If this isn’t how you feel, you are in the wrong business. It’s a very giving job however we get so much in return. I love making a small difference in someone’s life.”
Retail brands stocked:
Elizabeth Arden PRO
Sid & Jac (magesium salts and spray)
Curtis Collection by Victoria (makeup)
Top 5 treatments:
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