How Mother Of Two Young Children Started Her Own Beauty Salon in Bristol
Alina arrived in the UK in 2006, in search of opportunities. She spent five years observing how a beauty salon is run from the inside, before taking the big jump, from employee to entrepreneur.
The big jump
Alina knew she was ready. She was used to the challenges of motherhood, with daughters Iga, two and a half years old and Kayah, only six months old, but she wanted to take it up a notch! She says: “Why would I keep working for someone when I can have more satisfaction growing something from scratch?”
Starting a business has many similarities with raising children. It is a full-on job. It is hard, it makes you the happiest you have ever been and makes you cry of exhaustion, but it is so rewarding. And at the heart of it all, is love and passion.
Of course, it took a lot of courage for Alina to start on her own rather than going back to working for someone else after her maternity leave.
She asked herself: “Should I be brave?” And the answer was a full-blown YES.
A decision backed by family
Saying YES to this new challenge in 2012 was easier with support from Alina’s family. It was actually Alina’s husband, Peter, who came up with the name for the business: “He is an agriculture engineer running his own business. He doesn’t know much about beauty but he knows how the business world works.”
When Alina brought the idea up with her mum, she responded: “There is never a good time! Do you think your girls will need you less when they are 7 or 8 years old?”
Peter also pushed her to take risks. She laughs: “If you don’t make risky decisions, you don’t get anything, he said! He is definitely the braver half of our couple!”
Alina with her husband Peter and daughters Kayah and Iga on family holiday
It was a scary decision for a young mum but Alina felt confident with the support of her family, who were backing her 100%.
And Peter was right! Taking risks paid off. Alina says: “It was such a great feeling when before we opened; people were already knocking on the door and asking when we would start taking appointments!”
A second family
Alina wanted her salon to reflect her strong family views. She says: “We are not a corporation. We are real people who help real people. Our clients can always talk to us.”
Alina is very proud of her 300 something glowing reviews on Google, Treatwell and Facebook. But she is also quite humble: “We might make a mistake once in a while, but we always learn from it. Like I said, we are humans, and this is how it works! We all learn from each other. This is why feedback from our customers is so important to us.”
A lot of her clients have been regulars to the MoB since she opened the salon in 2012. After four years of running the salon on Cotham Hill, Alina decided to open a second salon on St Michaels Hill in Bristol.
Talking about family, Alina’s daughters have known their mum as a business woman for as long as they can remember. Alina says: “It is very normal for them”. They are now 6 and 8 years old and do get curious about where mommy works. Alina remembers one evening when she brought them to her Bristol salon after hours: “They ran straight to the manicure table and wanted their nails painted! All the chairs are on wheels, so they were jumping up and wheeling themselves around!”
It is really important for Alina that her staff not only deliver 5-star treatments, but also forge relationships with the people of Bristol. She talks about being blessed with fantastic members of staff, but this is more down to her positive work ethics than to luck: “I really invest in my staff through training. I want each of them to be completely confident before they deliver a new treatment with a paying customer. They practise on locals who enjoy a free treatment!” And that makes complete sense; a confident beautician makes for a comfortable and relaxed client. There is no guess work with Alina and this is how she ensures that her clients are really well looked after.
Kelly, Gosia, Suzanna, Dorota, Laima as well as recent recruits Giulia and Angelika all work across both salons. Alina says:
“It is a second family to me. Even when I am not working with clients, I am in the salon everyday but Sundays.” But Alina has also learned to switch off. “My time with my daughters and Peter is really important. I trust my staff 100% so I know that the salon is fine when I am not there.”
Alina with her Ministry Of Beauty girls
Alina gets a lot of satisfaction from delivering top customer service and creating jobs in Bristol: “It is great knowing that by employing people, I help them pay their bills and their mortgage! It is a big responsibility but it’s really rewarding”.
When talking about the future, Alina would like to see Cotham Hill salon growing. She imagines more rooms, more high-tech equipment and wider range of treatments. She adds: “But my number one priority is to keep clients and my staff happy!”