Belfast Telegraph

Beauty of Angels flying with more than wing and a prayer

By Stephen McVey

Shaunean McCabe always harboured an ambition to run her own business. And in March last year the 22-year-old Lurgan woman opened The Beauty of Angels.

However, making it happen in an already crowded marketplace was not an easy process. Funding did not materialise and the fear of failure, when abandoning the comfort of a steady pay packet, was prominent in her mind.

In the Lurgan area alone, there are approximately 16 beauty salons. With such a high density, in a small catchment area, the market is highly competitive.

Shaunean got her business up and running and confronted her worries about going solo. A sustainable business model was accomplished, thanks to a loan from her family. Beauty treatments are a luxury that, in times of financial hardship, falls down in the list of people's priorities. Shaunean has found this out for herself over the past 10 months.

"With the current climate it is getting harder for people thinking about starting up their own business, especially in the beauty sector. With people's pay packets being stretched, they are shying away from spending cash on a trip to get their nails done."

Local salons take solace in the knowledge that they provide a unique service that does not fit with the supermarket environment. Rumours of supermarket salons began as early as February 2011. Online forums such as on the website for beauty professionals, www.salongeek.com, became animated with debates amongst fellow beauticians.

Shaunean is concerned about the competition of a supermarket chain - Tesco has announced it has opened in-store salons - despite confidence in the quality of the service she provides.

A beauty professional from Northern Ireland left an uplifting comment for her fellow beauticians: "People love to be made to feel special and as salon owners I think that passion, enthusiasm and belief that we transfer to customers will be challenging for Tesco to replicate.

"Don't forget we have advantages too!"

In The Beauty of Angels, the relationship Shaunean has with her clients, keeps them coming back.

She said: "I feel it is the one-to-one atmosphere that helps people to relax and unwind: A little haven away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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