Natasha Donaldson opened Pure Envy in 2014 and didn’t look back. Starting with a single room in a renovated old cottage in Hamilton, Victoria, less than two years later she has three rooms, four staff, and the bragging rights of receiving the very first Australian Bioelements Salon of the Year award.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I came back from maternity leave after my son had just turned one and found working for someone else and being a mum very stressful, so I decided to open Pure Envy so I could work my own hours and organise those hours around sleep times and baby sitters.
I also wanted to control which clients I looked after – my regulars who loved coming to me and I loved looking after them.
What beauty industry experience did you have?
Before opening Pure Envy I had managed a local salon for eight years and before that I worked and managed a salon in Geelong for eight years. I completed my diploma of beauty in Melbourne 19 years ago.
How is Pure Envy different to other salons?
We attend lots of education sessions, so our knowledge is impeccable. We constantly change our décor and our rooms are spotless. We also treat our clients like friends which makes them feel comfortable in the salon.
Why did you decide to partner with Bioelements?
When I first opened I didn’t offer facials but my regulars kept requesting them. I came across the Bioelements line in Professional Beauty magazine so after researching four different brands I enquired and Jai [Harvey-Yin, founder of distributor Absolute Spa] replied straight away, which I loved.
The first facials I performed on clients were amazing. In fact one of my first paying clients got off the bed after a facial, looked and felt her skin and gave me a big hug – she was so happy.
How do you approach staff education and training?
We regularly travel to Melbourne, which is about three and a half hours away, to attend training. Pure Envy covers wages and accommodation for the training and most of the time the increase in sales and enthusiasm cover the costs. It’s also a great team bonding trip.
What advice would you give to other salon owners?
Really appreciate your staff. If you have great staff let them know how much they mean to you. It doesn’t always have to be cash, a simple text message at the end of a hard day goes a long way. Great staff means you don’t have to work as hard.
Have you seen any changes in the industry during your career?
I have definitely seen big changes with an increase in medi procedures…I think the industry is heading towards more advanced treatments; it won’t be long until beauty therapists will be injecting Botox. This is scary as we have little regulation in our industry. At the moment there are too many rogue traders who are not qualified and are not providing safe and regulated treatments.
And finally, what’s your best beauty tip?
My best beauty tip is to have regular salon treatments. You just can’t get the same results using at home products.