Emma is an award winning beauty therapist with over 15 years of experience in the industry and a genuine passion for making people feel good about their skin. Set in a cosy log cabin in her garden, The Beauty Den is a relaxing space that Emma has created to offer specialised skin treatments for each individual, as well as occasion, wedding and airbrush makeup.
We had a chat with Emma to get her top skincare tips, discover why she is so passionate about beauty, and find out the story behind The Beauty Den’s success…
Tell us a little about your business…
“I set up The Beauty Den in October 2017, which concentrates on providing skin rejuvenation treatments and airbrush makeup. It really all started when I got married and had my two children because I felt like my priorities had changed - I wanted to focus on being a good mum, and working from home meant that I could do that.
“When I had the children and had a bit of a break from working, I started up my business with the light therapy and my microdermabrasion machine that I’ve had for about 10 years. I felt like there weren’t any places that focused on conditioning and really looking after people’s skin, so that’s what I wanted to do and offer people a relaxed environment as well.”
Why did you start your business? What was the inspiration behind your business?
“I felt like there was a lack of skincare services out there. When I got married 6 years ago I was getting skin peels and various treatments ahead of my wedding, but I was looking around and thought ‘there’s no one that does light therapy, or advanced chemical peels’. When I started up on my own, I knew I wanted to concentrate on those two treatments in particular because no one else was really doing them in the Aberdeen area at the time.
“I also noticed that there weren’t a lot of places that provided structured and advanced skin treatments. For brides especially, I feel like makeup and skin care go hand in hand; your makeup doesn’t sit well if you don’t have a good skin care routine. That’s why I wanted to incorporate skin care and makeup together in what I offer. Initially it was more wedding and bridal treatments that I wanted to go into, but now it’s primarily skin care that I concentrate on.”
What do you love most about your job?
“I love making people feel good. I love the fact that I always get texts from my clients the next days or a couple of days after their treatment saying ‘my skin has never felt so good!’. I love to make each person feel really good and walk out that door feeling brand new and completely different to when they walked in.
“I incorporate reiki, reflexology and crystal therapy in my treatments, so when I get to know my clients quite well, I can pick up on the energy if they’re not feeling great and do some crystal therapy on them or read their angel cards. I would say that when you come into the den, I pick up on you as a whole, see how you’re feeling, and notice your body language. I don’t think a lot of people do that in the industry, which makes me a little bit different.”
What’s your favourite treatment or product?
“I would say my Opera LED light - I absolutely love it! There are so many different lights out there but this one has been around the longest. It was made in Korea and has over 200 proven clinical studies, and it’s been approved by various different governments for its benefits on the skin - such as getting rid of acne, post wound healing, etc.
“I also love my DiamondTome microdermabrasion machine. I have the exact one that was used in the show ‘10 years younger’ and I’ve had it for about 10 years now. It’s an amazing form of the product and has been used in all the best clinics in America.”
Why are you so passionate about what you do?
“I actually fell into beauty therapy. I initially wanted to do alternative therapy but the course was full so I started doing the beauty therapy course at college and instantly fell in love. I became so passionate about the industry and what it can do for people. I think when you’re passionate about something it doesn’t feel like work.
“Right now, we’re all about mental health and looking at how people are on the inside as well as the outside. There can be so much fakeness on social media, and when people come to me saying ‘I want to look like her’, I want to remind them that it isn’t always real and you have to look after yourself as a whole, like what you’re eating, how you’re sleeping, and if you have children, then of course you’re going to have bags under your eyes!
“With me, you’ll always get a little shoulder massage, a head massage, or reflexology. I think that’s really helped my business because my clients get great skin treatments but they also feel so relaxed and taken care of which is very important.”
What’s been your biggest achievement so far?
“In the first year I opened The Beauty Den, I applied for the Best Beauty Therapist in the North East Hair and Beauty Awards, and I won it! It was definitely the cherry on the top for me.
“I feel like my life is quite hectic and sometimes I worry that I’m not there for my husband, or my kids, or my friends, so winning that award made everything feel worth it - all my hard work and the long long hours I had put in. I still feel emotional about it now, I think because I have worked in the industry for so long but this award proved that I can do it on my own and I had made the right choice starting my business. My family were really proud.”
What’s your advice for someone thinking about starting a business in Aberdeen?
“It’s not easy. It’s definitely a juggle because you have to look at everything from your marketing to your competitors and make yourself that little bit different.
“My advice is to not be scared of hard work. I’ve had a salon before and I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard in my life. You have to put blood, sweat and tears into your own business, and it’s especially hard when you have a family too, but you do get the rewards when you’re prepared to work really hard. If you have a unique selling point, then go for it!
“I would also say that it’s important to put a lot of time into training and keeping yourself updated. I do believe that knowledge is power, so I always stay on top of all my advanced training courses and the best upcoming treatments. I’ve been down to London to start doing my Mesotherapy training which is really sought after at the moment. I probably don’t need to do all of that but I just love skin care and skin treatments, so whenever there’s something new, I do a lot of research and if I think it’s going to work well for my clients I say yeah let’s do it. If you keep yourself trained to a high level then you can never go wrong - that’s what keeps you ahead of the game.”
What’s been the hardest or scariest part of starting your business?
“Doing it on my own has definitely been the scariest part. I’ve been in the industry for a long time but I always had someone to go to if I needed some advice or support, either my business partner or the team at The Marcliffe. I was quite nervous when I was setting up on my own because I wasn’t going to have that, and I had to rely a lot on my experience and my instincts.
“I’m not the most confident at travelling either, so even things like driving down to Glasgow myself or going to London for training courses on my own was scary, but it has definitely given me more confidence, for sure.”
What’s been the most exciting part of running your own business?
“Probably having a variety of people come to the den everyday, getting to give them a variety of treatments and discovering new products and treatments on the market. Everything about my business is exciting for me. It could be when I get a lovely review from someone, seeing new people, going to all these training courses and getting trained by doctors and dermatologists, everything in the beauty industry excites me!”
What would be your tips for skin care during lockdown?
“Getting into a good skincare routine during lockdown will work wonders for you. Obviously, do your research to find out what would be best for your skin type, but I think the key tips for looking after your skin at home is to have a good cleansing routine, exfoliation routine and a great serum and moisturiser. Brands like The Ordinary, Medik8 (which is what I use), Ola Henriksson or Nip + Fab - they’re all great!
“It’s all about hydration during lockdown, because we’re probably not drinking enough water or going outside as much, so that natural humidity in the air isn’t giving our skin that breathable feeling. You want to get a great hydrating serum, or even the Garnier sheet hydration mask if you’re looking for something affordable. Things that contain Vitamin C are really good for lightening and brightening, as well as hydration and plumping. And remember to use an SPF with your moisturiser.
“I’m really into the jade or rose quartz face rollers as well. They’re very affordable and they really help with increasing circulation, depuffing the skin and keeping your skin hydrated. When you roll your skin with a roller, go around the face in a fan motion and that will increase circulation and muscle tone. It’s great at giving your skin a lovely glow because you’re getting rid of those old toxins under the skin and massaging them into your lymphatic system. I always keep rollers in the fridge because it’s really soothing for the skin, which is great for people with sensitive skin.
“I also think that stress is a big part of it, especially during lockdown where people maybe aren’t sleeping well, the circumstances aren’t normal and we’re feeling more stressed. Stress has a big impact on our skin so I would recommend trying some meditation or a little bit of yoga, believe it or not - all of that really helps. You have to condition all parts of your body and mind, and your skin will shine through that.”
What are your favourite local businesses right now and why?
“I absolutely love Vanity Studio - I think the girls there are so fresh and different, they’re always doing new things and they’re gorgeous to look at. They’re two lovely, determined young businesswomen and they’ve done amazingly well for themselves!
“I also love Muchacho - I think Lee has totally helped me out in Bridge of Don doing deliveries in the area during lockdown. He’s really taken the opportunity to cheer people up during this time, and I think he’s ace!
“LOLO & CO is another favourite of mine, I absolutely love her and I’ve bought a few things from there. It's so authentic for all ages.
“Also, Tom Mcpherson Boxercise - I have lost a lot of weight from going to him, he is so friendly, and punching that bag is fab for getting rid of any stress!”