In 1991, Neelam Jethi opened Aspens Beauty & Laser Clinic. Since then, Aspens has gone from strength to strength, offering a full range of beauty treatments as well as one-to-one tuition for beauty students.
We spoke to Neelam about her interest in beauty, opening her own business, teaching and much more besides!
When did you first become interested in beauty care?
When I was 15 years old, I came to England. My uncle had a beauty clinic and beauty college. In my spare time I used to go to the clinic and college and watch the beauty treatments. I found it interesting how the beauty therapist created makeup looks and advised clients how to look after their skin, body and nails. Since I was child my mum told me I was a very caring person who enjoyed helping other people. I felt that beauty was for me. I decided to do the beauty therapy course in 1981.
After my qualification I worked as a beauty therapist. Some time if the teacher was sick, I was asked to teach the class and I loved it. I really enjoyed the teaching so I decided to do a Teaching Diploma. That way I was able to teach and work as a beauty therapist too. I loved and enjoy it so much. I was glad I made the right decision.
Starting your own salon must have been a big undertaking. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I decided to move to Ireland in 1985 because I had a lot of Irish clients and loved them. When I told them I was thinking of starting my own business, it was just my dream at that stage. In Ireland, my husband and I worked very hard to save our money to open the business. In 1991 we opened the beauty clinic. It was a big step to open without any support. I was very positive and full of confidence. That’s why the company has been running successfully from 1991.
When did you decide to start teaching?
After I had been running the beauty clinic for one year I thought, “I have a teaching qualification.” I had a big desire to share my knowledge with people who had a passion for beauty industry. So I decided to open the beauty college. That way I was able to teach students and build up their confidence. I rang the examining board to say I was interested in opening a beauty college. They asked me to send copies of all my diplomas. After that I was invited for an interview. Once I got approval, I opened the beauty college in 1992. It was my first year and it was very successful. My examiner and I were very impressed with the students 100% pass rate.
Can you tell us a bit about what students can expect when they sign up to do an Aspens course?
The student and their parents will expect so much from the college and teacher. I feel if we give 100% to the student to build up their abilities and confidence they will be satisfied. In the beginning in London, I decided that if I was going to teach, I would give the best tuition. Some students can be slow to learn, be shy or have no confidence. I decided to help students who need extra support to build up their confidence. This is one of the most important aspects for a student to get a good job.
What do you think makes your courses different or unique?
My courses are different from other because I give one-to-one tuition and there is no extra charge. I do not wait for group of students. Quality of teaching is my passion. I do not give a student a certificate until I am happy that they have full confidence to work on client. If the student require extra days there is also no charge.
Treatments like threading and individual eyelashes have become very popular in the last few years. Can you tell us a bit about how beauty care has changed since you have been in the industry?
There are lots of changes and new techniques in the beauty industry since 1985. People like new things – new clothes, new places, new beauty treatments, such as mink or Russian eyelashes, semi permanent make-up and threading. It’s great as it keep everybody busy! I was the first to bring threading to Ireland in 1995, since I was teaching threading courses all over in Ireland. In the last few years, almost everyone knows about threading. It lasts longer, is gentle on the skin and gives you a better shaped eyebrow. There is no allergic reaction because we only use cotton thread.
How often do even experienced beauticians need to learn new treatments?
Experienced beauty therapist need to learn new treatments whenever they hit the market and they need to upgrade their skills as soon as they can. It does not matter how long we are qualified – every day we have to upgrade our skills. This is very important. There is no end to learning.
What do you think are the most important qualities a beautician needs to bring to the job?
The most important qualities a beautician needs to bring to the job:
1. Love your job, whatever the treatment is you have to do.
2. Professionalism, appearance, and good manners are very important. You should also care about the client, and have a sweet and calming voice.
3. Give 100% of professional service to the customer. You leave your own problems outside the door.
What is your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of the job is taking care of my customers and my students. It also enjoy upgrading and upskilling. It is very important to add new skin care and new treatments as well as explore new things, new ideas and new products.