We recently had the pleasure to speak with Shampa Nandi, a successful entrepreneur in the beauty industry. She earned her Level 3 Beauty Therapy Diploma and Level 4 in Microblading with us. She is now the proud owner of Nirvana Beauty, a beauty salon in Tonbridge, Kent.
Her journey is a story of determination and resilience. Shampa found herself drawn to the world of aesthetics. Driven by her passion for beauty and a dream of owning her own salon, she navigated a career change, balancing her roles as a single mother and emerging entrepreneur.
Keep on reading to find out about the steps she took to achieve success in the beauty industry and how she single-handedly built her empire.
Shampa, could you tell us about your journey into the industry and your early career experiences?
“I moved to the UK in 2011 from Bangladesh and started my career in production. I was passionate and dreamed of owning my own salon one day. I began my beauty work at a brow threading bar, and worked there for a year. I realised I needed to develop my skills further to open my own salon. Despite being a full-time worker and a single mother of two, I did a lot of research and joined LSBM to do my level two beauty therapy course.
One day, our teacher was absent and Eleonora took our class. We went for lunch together and had a conversation. I found her very friendly and felt she could give me good advice to build my career. I then decided to do my level three Beauty therapy at your school. My trainer was Sharon at that time, but I had two or three classes with Eleonora. I felt free to ask her questions. She was very friendly. I will never forget Sharon. She was a great mentor and I am proud to have been taught by her.”
n.b.: Eleonora is our Beauty and Aesthetic Training Academy school director. At the time, she was working for both us and our sister school, LSBM.
What happened next?
“I then decided to do my Level 3 beauty course at your Academy because I saw you had very positive reviews and I liked your teachers. I also did level four in microblading. I used to be self-employed, doing mobile beauty therapy and running a home-based salon. Everyone liked my work on microblading, which boosted my confidence and led me to decide to move into a shop.”
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How did you feel throughout that time?
“Balancing full-time work while attending the Academy was challenging, especially as it’s a private institution with tuition fees, unlike free council schools. Nonetheless, knowing that I needed to learn effectively and quickly, I chose part-time studies and I am now glad I did. Each Saturday, I traveled to London for classes. Meanwhile, I worked from Monday to Friday. It was difficult but necessary.”
In January 2018, Shampa made the bold move to a new town in Kent. To keep her business alive during this transition, she started a home-based salon.
“I wasn’t very familiar with Tonbridge when I decided to open my business there. I moved to this town in January 2018. Then, COVID hit, and I wasn’t able to work at any local salons. So, after the pandemic, I began offering my services from home and as a mobile provider. After noticing the increasing busyness of my home salon and the challenges of working from home with my children, I thought about opening my own salon. When I told my clients about this and asked if they would follow me, they agreed. And that’s how everything started.”
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Shampa’s hard work and dedication were beginning to pay off.
Yet, she knew she could do more.
Opening her own salon was a dream come true for Shampa. However, the journey was far from easy. The building she initially took over for the salon was not in good shape and required extensive work.
She signed the lease in December 2022 and began the difficult work of transforming the space into her dream salon. The construction work proved challenging, but Shampa remained motivated, focusing on her future plans.
“While we were doing all the building work, it was really frustrating. They left the work halfway through. I got my lease in December 2022 and then I opened my salon in May 2023. So, I had to wait for about five months. It was a really tough time for me, paying rent while the place was not ready. But in the end, I just told myself, ‘Whatever happened, happened for the best.’ So, I had to wait. And now, everything worked out in the end.”
How did you manage to stay positive and motivated?
“I planned and researched various skincare brands to incorporate into my treatment offerings. I underwent additional training with the skincare brand, Crystal Clear. I also trained with the supplement company, Advanced Nutrition Programme. To overcome challenges and keep my mind busy, I continued to study. I even traveled all the way to Liverpool to receive further training.
When I think about what motivates me, I think about myself. Some people say they do everything for their kids. But for me, I’m doing it for myself. My children are doing great. I’ve done my bit for them. Now, they are making their own careers. This makes me happy. This is my dream, and I’m doing it for me. And when you do something for yourself, everything else falls into place eventually.”
When she finally got her salon up and running, it was a moment of triumph.
Despite all the challenges, Shampa stayed positive and saw her dream come to life. All of this, while managing her responsibilities as a single mother. In May 2023, her salon was open for business, ready to welcome clients with a comforting atmosphere and a range of beauty and aesthetics treatments.
How were the first few months in business?
“Summer, September, and August were busy, but December was the busiest due to the festive season. Typically, I operate five days a week, but in December I was open all seven days, even on Christmas Eve.”
How did you manage all this with your kids?
“My kids are grown up now. My daughter even assists me occasionally, especially at the reception. Customers really appreciate her.”
Does your daughter have a passion for the business?
“She wants to start her own business, not necessarily in this field. However, this experience is giving her confidence. I’ve always seen myself as a businesswoman before being an aesthetician. I am showing her that she can be independent. She is learning about owning a business. It can sometimes be stressful and requires hard work, but it’s rewarding because it’s for yourself.”
How did you market your salon?
“Truthfully, I haven’t done extensive marketing for my salon. Most of my clients come from word of mouth, and my use of social media for promotion is limited, primarily to posting before and after photos of my treatments. I manage all my social media activity, but I hired a professional to build my website. I believe that a well-designed and visually appealing website is crucial for a business. Even with my limited social media usage, word-of-mouth referrals have brought me a substantial number of clients. The positive reviews and feedback I’ve received have been incredibly encouraging.”
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The Atmosphere at Nirvana Beauty Tonbridge
Shampa’s salon offers a variety of beauty treatments including facials, electrotherapy, massage, and microblading. But what sets her salon apart is the personal touch she adds to every service she provides.
Shampa’s salon, Nirvana Beauty, is more than just a beauty salon. It’s a sanctuary. A place where clients can escape the daily grind and indulge in treatments that rejuvenate not just the body, but also the mind.
Nirvana Beauty is designed to create a calm and quiet atmosphere where clients can relax and let the professional treatments work their magic. Every corner of the salon is infused with Shampa’s personal touch, making it a unique and soothing space.
She only offers treatments that she has tried and liked herself. This approach ensures that her clients receive only the best and most effective treatments. She also mentioned the value of honesty and building trust with clients. Despite her language barrier, she has always been able to connect with her clients because of her genuine approach.
Moreover, Shampa believes in the holistic practice of beauty and wellness. That’s why she aims to provide treatments that not only beautify the skin but also soothe the mind, offering her clients a peaceful and rejuvenating experience.
Shampa’s Future Plans for Her Salon
Shampa’s plans for her salon are as ambitious as her journey. She dreams of opening another salon, especially in East London, where she has many clients. She believes that success lies in always pushing the envelope, always dreaming bigger.
She’s also keen on expanding the range of treatments she offers at her salon. She plans to introduce more holistic treatments that not only beautify the skin but also soothe the mind, enhancing the overall well-being of her clients.
She also plans to take further training courses like Mesotherapy and PRP. In addition, Shampa wishes to focus more on aesthetic and intensive treatments while her staff will manage the basic beauty services.
Story of Shampa’s Journey to Success
What is the key to Shampa’s success? In her own words, it’s “honesty, hard work, and passion.” Shampa affirms that to succeed in the beauty industry – or any industry – you need to love what you do. Don’t be afraid to put in the hard work. Also, never give up, even on the hardest days.
From a single mum and full-time worker to a successful salon owner, Shampa’s story is an inspiring testament to resilience, determination, and the pursuit of passion. She faced the challenges head-on, juggled multiple responsibilities, and broke the barriers to owning her dream business. Her business, Nirvana Beauty, is not just a beauty salon; it’s a symbol of her inspiring journey.
Shampa’s story is an inspiration to everyone. It serves as a reminder to single mothers, full-time workers, dreamers, and entrepreneurs that no dream is too big. With passion, determination, and a bit of grit, it’s possible to overcome the odds and realise your dreams.
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