Charlie’s Beauty Zone
Charlie’s Beauty Zone is a new and developing beauty therapy business based in Rotherham. Charlie offers a fantastic range of treatments including manicures, pedicures, tinting, makeup and massage.
Starting with an idea
The business was born out of Charlie’s passion for beauty therapy and her talent was clear as she achieved several therapy qualifications. She volunteered as a therapist for a number of years whilst also offering her treatments to friends and family.
Charlie has autism and when she decided to progress her interest into a career, she found that despite her obvious talent she was not able to get any opportunities.
I looked for a salon job and nobody would take me on or give me a chance because of my disability, even though I am hard working. Therefore I thought I might as well set up my own business – Charlie
Developing an enterprise
Charlie began to work with Community Catalysts and Speakup (self-advocacy service) in Rotherham to turn her passion into her own business. Harry from Community Catalysts offered Charlie help and advice to develop her idea into an enterprise.
Charlie has volunteered and been hired to offer her therapies at several NHS events across the country, continued to offer therapies from home and provided much of the makeup for Speakup’s black tie event.
She has set up a business email and a Facebook page (that boasts only 5 star reviews from customers) and created her first price list and flyers.
Growing an enterprise
Following a Community Catalysts networking event, Charlie has gone on to provide her therapies with several different carers and community groups and worked in a community salon.
Harry, our local Community Catalyst first introduced us to Charlie, as he thought that a relationship between us could be mutually beneficial. Parents/carers often find it difficult to take time out to treat themselves and many would never feel comfortable going into a Beauty Salon, as they would feel intimidated by the environment. Charlie now spends a full day once a month at the Forum premises offering beauty treatments at a very reasonable cost. The days she has spent with us have been incredibly busy with all appointments taken. Her customers have reported back that they find Charlie very easy to get along with and the fact that they can book to have treatments in an environment they are familiar with, makes a huge difference. Harry was right, working with Charlie has been incredibly beneficial to us, the Forum are looking forward to a long-term working relationship with Charlie – Andrea – Rotherham Parent Carers Forum – a local charity who support families who have children with disabilities
Another group we connected with was Crossroads Care Rotherham who do fantastic work supporting carers and the people they care for. It has proven to be a great partnership as Charlie is paid to provide a range of therapies twice a month to carers and staff.
‘Charlie has been a welcome asset to our carers group team at crossroads, she has made our carers feel very special providing hand massage and nail painting during our monthly group. Charlie helps the carers to relax, takes the time to talk to them and provides a welcome break from their caring role and a little bit of pampering which goes a long way to support their health and wellbeing’
Elizabeth Hopkinson – Project Development Manager for Crossroads Care Rotherham
Charlie continues to work with Community Catalysts and through this relationship has gone on to be part of several of our events and is working with new organisations such as a provider of supported living and Shared Lives in Rotherham.
Charlie has also been a guest speaker at a Community Catalysts event for the People Can Project. The project is all about working with people to see what their passions and skills could develop into. It was therefore fantastic that Charlie came and inspired others as she shared her experiences, the challenges and the great things she has achieved so far.
Responding to Covid-19
As with all businesses Charlie has had to respond to the unprecedented difficulties that Covid-19 has raised. She had to stop all of her therapies but this did not reduce her determination to adapt and maintain her enterprise. She went on to run weekly therapies with Speakup using virtual technology and is now paid to do this on an ongoing basis. She also continues to develop plans on future offers and a reopening event when it is safe to do so.
Charlie’s success is testament to a collaboration between Charlie, Community Catalysts, Speakup, her family and the great Rotherham organisations she works with. It is the result of her hard work and it is also a great example of what is possible when someone is supported to follow and develop their skills and passions.
‘I have had support from Annie (Speakup), Harry (Community Catalysts) and my family to do this…Charlie’s Beauty Zone has been a big success for 2 years, with the right support and determination from me I now have about 15 clients and I’m running my own business. I am proud of these achievements as it shows that autistic people can do it with the right support’.
by Harry Clarkson
Community Catalyst (Rotherham)