Complementary Therapy student wins funds for start up
Based in Ayr, Sheila specialises in complementary therapies.
Here she gives us an insight into her business, AroundTUit Complementary Therapies Ltd, where she promotes optimal health and wellbeing.
I worked for a woodland investment company for a number of years, before taking voluntary redundancy. That’s when I made the decision to retrain. I started at the Ayr campus of Ayrshire College studying NC Beauty Level 6. This is where I found my passion for massage therapies. From there, I decided to look further into a career in complementary therapy, and I moved onto the HNC & HND courses at Ayrshire College Kilwinning campus.
Ayrshire College offered me training at a high standard which was recognised by hospitality, holistic and beauty industries. It meant that I could be flexible and work as a self-employed mobile therapist and continue to learn.
As part of the course work, I was required to volunteer in the community during my HNC I took on voluntary work at East Ayrshire Carers offering holistic therapies to carers who helped keep friends and family at home in the community. The following year as part of my HND I volunteered to work with ‘Break the Silence’ who offer support to survivors of abuse aged 13yrs+.
Before starting here, I had to gain a Disclosure Scotland Certificate as I would be part of the team working with vulnerable people and only then was I able to offer holistic therapies. I enjoyed being part of the team so much that I have continued to offer holistic support.
Volunteering in the community has been extremely rewarding. It’s such a pleasure to received positive feedback from clients, and the team of professionals who support them. It inspires me to do better.
Covid-19 and the restrictions placed on trading put a stop to my mobile therapies. I could have just sat back and waited until restrictions were lifted, but I didn’t know how long that would take. The stubborn streak came out of me so I decided to gain as much information about the appropriate precautions to take in order for my business to become Covid-safe.
I also did a number of online training courses, recorded a few videos to use on my social media pages to help people reduce their stress and anxiety during lockdown. I had found the medical masks difficult to wear, so I began making and selling re-usable masks that reduced glasses fogging up and were less constrictive when breathing.
Whilst I was preparing my original business plan of being a mobile therapist, I was invited to an inspiring workshop with Lynn Kelly from Bridge 2 Business. I’m so glad I went as the sessions have been really helpful. The support I’ve received has been a really good grounding for starting up my business.
My business is all about holistic complementary therapies. The therapies I offer are often considered a pamper session, and who doesn’t love a pamper session? What makes my therapies different is that I integrate existing medical conditions and medications with the properties and benefits of the natural products I use in the therapies. This allows me to tailor the therapies to suit each individual, helping clients to relax and improve their feelings of wellbeing.
As part of the business I also offer ‘EsSCENTually For You’ workshops. It’s aimed at small groups, where clients can come and learn about properties, benefits and how to safely use essential and carrier oils. During the workshop the client will make their own unique and completely natural essential oil perfume to take home.
The Enterprising Students grant has enabled me to rent premises in Ayr so that I am now able to offer a first class service to clients and run the workshops a in a comfortable, pleasant environment. The grant has also helped me purchase equipment that might otherwise have been a luxury but has now become an essential to my work.
I’m also very conscious of reducing my carbon footprint, so all the products I use are natural and from a renewable sustainable source. It’s important to me that I use local suppliers too, from the local printer to the café across the road which supplies us with tea, coffee and cakes!
I’d like to acknowledge the fantastic support I’ve had from the beauty and complementary therapies departments at Ayrshire College and eventually would like to be able to support students by providing work placements. In a few years time I’d also like to rent more space to employ a few more specialist trained therapists enabling me to take on an apprentice. Even further in the future I’d like to see holistic complementary therapies being integrated into conventional medical care.
If you have been inspired by Sheila and would like to find out more about the Enterprising Students Fund, read more here.