A Day in the Life of a Jersey Entrepreneur – Penny Downes of Pennyfeathers Beauty

10/11/2016

What makes you spring out of bed in the morning?

The sociability of my column. Knowing that I’m doing something everyday that I love, still have a passion for and makes a difference in someone’s day. I’ve been in the beauty industry since I was 16 and still love it as much as when I started and I’m 17 years into my career.

What does your normal day look like?

I’m always up early getting myself organised for the day ahead, whether that’s getting things done at home, or preparing my salon for the day. I love to ensure my day is organised so I’m prepared for whatever life throws at me. When I come home, it’s time to relax and spend time with family and friends.  I was diagnosed with a chronic illness three years ago so I am also constantly aware that I need to take care of myself, too prevent a relapse as these sometimes stop me from living my life the way I want.

How did you get to where you are today?

Apart from a lot of hard work, support from loved ones and focusing on achieving my goals. I made sure I had the tools needed to run a business. I also made sure I worked with people I liked and had the same ethos as me. We all spend a long time at work and having great people around me helps make it a fun and a trustworthy environment. Staff are the key to success in such a personal industry, I firmly believe Pennyfeathers is only as good at its team.  Being organised also helps me keep on track. I love to push myself professionally and it has really made such a positive influence on my career. Listening to my clients in addition to utilising my intuition has led me to a much more dynamic salon.

What couldn’t you live your life without?

My husband Sean, my Mum and Dad in the UK and my friends here and back home who love and support me no matter what. They have always been so understanding, great listeners and very proactive in helping me through my career.

Which outsiders (professional services, investors, mentors, family etc.) have been most important to the success of your business?

There has been plenty of outside help starting  from my neighbour who told me about the business opportunity, to my husband, parents and friends who have always believed in me. I started the salon from savings and didn’t take a loan so had business guidance from My mentor, Mel Slatterly, at what was Jersey Enterprise. Her guidance was invaluable through the my early years and the expansion in 2011. I now build my business further by Jersey Business and their help and support. Other services I use are My account managers from my in house brands, they guide me through ideas and motivation, all have been therapists but have vast business knowledge so that helps with in salon promotions.  Finally clients who come to see us have helped grow and develop the business.  their opinions, ideas and demands have made the salon what it is today. Our annual salon questionnaire always grounds me on what too work on, as listening is the key to a good business.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?

I’ve faced 3 major challenges through my career which have all paid off. My first being my move from Essex to start a new life in Jersey. My second was then leaving the great salon job that brought me here. I left there without a job to go to as I thought about changing career, this was a gamble that then presented itself as a new challenge when I was offered the opportunity of starting my own salon from scratch. The risk that paid off luckily. Finally the third challenge is living with Crohn’s disease and the influence it has on life both professionally and personally. It’s a huge challenge when running a business but through educating as many people as I can about it and running regular fundraising events in salon the awareness of the disease is heightened and people become more understanding.

What advice would you give to your younger self before embarking on your business journey?

There’s Lots and lots and whether I would of taken it is another question!

Always take risks, nothing is set in stone and can be adapted. Keep focused without taking advantage of others and have faith in your intuition. Be organised and get your work-life balance right and everything else will fall into place.

Website Pennyfeathers Beauty

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