It may have taken a good few months to get this blog started but I’m going to let myself off the hook and blame COVID-19 for offering up too many other important issues that required my attention. But now that I have started this blog, I intend to keep it up and I have some great content planned for the coming months.
To kick-off, I want to gradually introduce you to some of the amazing female business owners across the Southhams who have been coming in to use our shared office space in Totnes over the past few months. It never ceases to amaze me just how many inspiring women live and work in the South West. Obviously, this is why I set up The Tribe in the first place but I am still shocked when women tell me what they do for a living and it is something unexpected and very interesting.
Today, I’d like you all to meet Alexis Fraser from House of Skincare, a private, by appointment only clinic in Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot.
Alexis has been using a hot desk at our coworking space in Totnes for a few weeks now and is just starting out on that exciting business journey of going it alone.
It takes immense bravery to start your own business as many of you will know, so I’m really glad that The Tribe has been able to offer some support to Alexis during this time. Starting up in a global pandemic certainly makes things more interesting.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
My name is Alexis Fraser, I’m 25 years old. I have been in the aesthetics industry for eight years and my passion from a young age has always been skincare. I remember watching my mum getting ready in the mornings, she always taught me to ‘cleanse, tone and moisturise morning and evening.’
Throughout my school years, I suffered hugely with acne, I never used to wear make-up but I felt at that point I needed to use it to cover and to mask as I couldn’t face looking in the mirror without being attracted to a ‘dot to dot map’ as it used to feel.
I started having advanced facial treatments, and that’s when the lightbulb moment clicked. I wanted to become an aesthetician, a practitioner specialising in skin and to help others to feel more confident within themselves. I didn’t want people to feel the need to hide behind makeup or even feel too embarrassed to take it off in front of friends like I used to.
I trained initially at college for two years in Beauty Therapy and then gained my first job in the industry with a reputable skin and laser clinic. It was here that I really started to gain knowledge in advanced facial treatments such as laser, and an array of professional, cosmeceutical, skincare, supplement and makeup lines.
Since then I moved onto working alongside an injector, and even went back to college, but this time as a teaching role within my department, which I enjoyed very much. I just love making others feel as passionate about the industry as I am, and it really was such a rewarding job. Up until very recently, I had two jobs, but I’d always wondered what it would be like to start my own business and to work for myself and then lockdown happened.
So how did House of Skincare come about?
I enjoyed both my jobs but personal growth was only ever going to reach so far by working for someone else. My partner runs his own business and is very supportive and had been saying to me to just take the leap and go for it! It was about a week before lockdown happened and I was on my way back from my job in Bristol when he said he had a surprise. I arrived back home to a note on the spare room that said ‘BRB building your future clinic’.
The carpet had been taken up off the floor and everything in the room had been moved out for me to fully create my vision. I know there’s never the ‘right time’ for things but this moment honestly felt right, I burst into tears at the sheer shock of how my dream was going to be made possible.
Within five days I’d set up an online business, an Instagram page, Facebook page, Youtube channel and had been put in contact with an amazing girl called Tessa from headcake creative who massively helped to bring my brand to life. She built me a bank of imagery of the products I was going to be showcasing within my online consultations and helped me get creative with my website.
I am so thankful for the help and support I’ve received during this early stage of building the business and can’t quite believe the amazing people I’ve been able to share my journey with so far.
What is your motivation for your business? Why do you do what you do?
My job is to empower self-conscious individuals to feel more confident in their own skin. I do this by recommending the use of cosmeceutical skincare and clinical strength supplements which enables you to conquer your skin’s challenges.
I wake up every day grateful that I’m making a difference to people’s confidence. I know what it’s like to wake up and loathe the reflection that you look back at. The beauty industry is huge, it’s hard to know what’s right for you and your skin type, with so many factors affecting the skin I wanted to create a platform that delivers a completely bespoke experience, eliminating confusion and replacing it with professional, results-driven advice.
With the rise in working from home and having to face zoom calls and social media what I really struggle with is the option for a ‘filter’ to be added to the screen. I want to encourage you to feel the best version of you without the need to hide behind a filter. Why? because I want you to feel confident to bare your skin and be able to start using ingredients that are right for you and not what your friend has recommended or a celebrity has endorsed or whatever is on offer at the supermarket.
Who is your ideal client? Who do you serve?
My ideal client is anyone wanting to make positive changes to their skin, from the teenager who battles with a skin condition and is smart enough to steer away from clean and clear through to busy professionals who need a solid regime to keep them on track with their lifestyle. Overall, I serve committed individuals who are ready to conquer their skin’s challenges.
My bespoke experience starts with a virtual consultation, this enables me to provide a tailored home care plan for you with recommendations from my cosmeceutical skincare and supplement ranges so that you can prepare your skin at home.
I also offer professional in-clinic treatments which enhance what you’re doing at home. The great thing is throughout the pandemic clients have been continuously preparing their skin with products at home via my recommendations so they will now get the most out of an in-clinic treatment when we’re allowed to eventually open for those treatments. Facial results only last when the home care is suitable for the client. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training first, right?
What is your favourite part of your job?
I have two! Sorry to be greedy. My first favourite is when I hand my client’s the mirror at the end of their treatment. I once did this to someone and they cried tears of happiness as they couldn’t believe that it was their skin staring back at them. I love creating a safe haven for my clients to feel comfortable and unwind, an escape from daily life, touching all the senses and creating a really special journey for them.
My second favourite part is receiving the progress pictures. I encourage my clients to take regular photos to demonstrate progress as it allows them to identify certain aspects of their lifestyle that may be affecting their skin and most importantly to highlight the results.
What are your main business challenges?
My current business challenge is that I haven’t fully been given the go-ahead to open all of my treatment menu up. I wanted to specialise in skin and face treatments mainly. However, due to government guidelines during this pandemic, I’m patiently waiting for a review on the 15th of August, so keep your fingers and toes crossed for me.
I am still able to offer virtual skin consultations to allow clients to start their skincare journey and prepare for treatments to come. I stock a range of cosmeceutical skincare as well as nutraceutical supplements which are not found online or on the high street because they are medical grade and have to be recommended by a professional. Ultimately, they treat the skin at a deeper level and can make incredible differences to the skin, and we all want those, right?
What is your long term goal for your business?
I’d like to be able to connect with other holistic services and create an academy of the elite. I have big plans in my head but I know things will happen when they’re meant to. I always say to myself baby steps!
I have these brainwave ideas and get so excited about them. I’m an ambitious person and when I want to achieve something I’ll work hard to make it happen. I’ve had to think quickly about forcing my business online and so I will continue to develop these services so that I am still able to offer alternatives to my face-to-face treatments, with the way things are going we’d be the first businesses to close and the last to reopen if there is a second wave so I have to be prepared.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given about working for yourself?
This may sound funny but it was to buy a whiteboard. Working from home and on your own can be difficult when you haven’t got to answer to anyone. Essentially, time is what you make of it and it’s the difference between being productive and not. So, every Sunday I write a list of tasks on my whiteboard, I then number them with how important they are to get done as follows:
1) needs to be done today
2) needs to be done but not today
3) important but doesn’t need to be done by me
4) not important but has to be done by me
By the end of the week, it makes me more likely to achieve tasks and makes me so much more pro-active with my time.
Why did you decide to try out coworking at The Tribe and how have you found it?
My friend Tessa from headcake was going for the day and asked if I’d like to join her as she knows how working from home was making me feel a little caged to say the least during a pandemic!
We were both working on my website at the time and it made sense to get the job done more efficiently. I was so pleased that she told me about the Tribe because as my clinic is home-based and works were being carried out, tradesmen in and out, it wasn’t exactly the most ideal headspace that I needed to have.
I’ve since made use of the Tribe for Zoom meetings with clients and have been able to create blogs, my online shop content, and much more that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve in such a short space of time at home. It’s such a warm, friendly environment and has a real sense of girl power which I just love.
Huge thanks to Alexis for telling us all about her new business venture and for offering such a generous discount to all the ladies who currently use The Tribe.
If you are looking for a coworking space in the Kingsbridge, Newton Abbot, Totnes or Dartmouth areas, please do get in touch and I will happily show you around our shared office space.
And while you’re here, perhaps you would like to sign up to our newsletter so you can find out about our upcoming events for female business owners in and around Totnes.
Stacey Sheppard is the founder of The Tribe, a small community-driven coworking space in Totnes that caters to creative, growth-oriented female entrepreneurs by providing an inspiring working environment designed to foster collaboration, connection and community.