SYMCA - Levelling Up

Glowing up a bright future in the beauty industry

An aspiring entrepreneur is hoping to glow up a bright future after fulfilling a lifelong dream of carving out a career in the beauty industry.

Luxe by Elissa Grace was recently opened by 22-year-old Elissa Charles. Over the past six months she has successfully secured premises on Balby’s high street which she has turned into a haven for magnificent makeovers, luscious lips and beautiful brows.

Elissa first developed an interest in the beauty industry when she was just 14 years old. Working for a local hairdresser, she gained first-hand experience of salon life, but after deciding to leave school at 16, she decided to put her dreams of forging a career in the beauty industry on hold.

After spending a couple of years working in the care industry, Elissa felt unsatisfied in her career, and she began to re-visit her passion for beauty and make-up.  In 2019, she decided to use the hard-earned money she had saved from her job to take the first steps towards following her dreams by signing up to a specialist beauty course.

The intensive training saw Elissa learn how to master eyelash and eyebrow beauty techniques including creating definition, shaping and tinting, and she began to practise her newly developed skills on friends and family. The rave reviews she received gave Elissa the confidence to give up her day job and follow her dream of working in the beauty industry and pursuing a career as a self-employed beautician.

However, with no previous experience of running her own business, it felt like a step too far. Determined to succeed, Elissa decided to reach out to Launchpad, a free-to-access business support programme designed to offer help and guidance to would-be business owners across South Yorkshire.

Working with business adviser Debbie Richardson, Elissa took part in a series of workshops, helping her to understand the skills needed to launch and run a successful business. The courses she took part in helped her to develop her plans and put them into practice, giving her the confidence to embrace social media to help her connect with new potential customers.

Since working with Launchpad, Elissa has quickly established herself as something of a social media influencer, regularly sharing transformations she has achieved for clients and resulting in an incredible 150,000 likes on her TikTok channel, as well as amassing over 7,000 followers on her company’s Instagram account.

Determined not to rest on her laurels, Elissa was also able to secure an Enterprise Chest Grant from Doncaster Council, helping her to bring new services to her business, including bridal make-up as well as offering semi-permanent eyebrows and lip treatments. Since securing the funds, Elissa has secured a second site for her business in Armthorpe, and she is hoping to follow her dreams of owning her own salon in the future.

Elissa Charles opened her beauty business after calling on help from Launchpad and secured a small grant from Business Doncaster

Elissa Charles, founder, Luxe by Elissa Grace, said:

“I always liked the idea of owning my own business and having something that I could call my own. Like a lot of people, when I left school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I often helped friends and family with their hair and make-up, and their encouragement gave me the self-belief I needed to follow my dream of running my own business.

Of course, I knew there would be a world of difference between knowing how to apply make-up for friends and family and running a business; the beauty industry is incredibly competitive, and to give my business the best possible chance, I knew I would need help, so I reached out to Launchpad for advice. 

Working with Debbie and the Launchpad team helped me to get to grips with what it takes to run a business and gave my business a solid foundation. I’ve been amazed by the response to the social videos I’ve created, and the tips I received were invaluable. The grant funding I received has allowed me to undertake additional training, allowing me to introduce new services – something that I didn’t think would be possible. Training courses can be incredibly expensive, and although I always planned to offer semi-permanent make-up the grant I received has allowed me to introduce this service more quickly, helping to generate additional revenue streams for my business. 

Running a business isn’t like any other job in the world; it can mean long hours, as well as evening and weekend work. Without the right support, it can be easy to feel out of your depth, but Debbie and the Launchpad team have always been on hand to answer any questions and kept me updated about new opportunities. For example, when Debbie told me about a small grant, she encouraged me to apply. To my surprise, I was successful, and the funding I received has helped me to undertake further training, allowing me to diversify and help me develop the skills to grow my business further.”

Debbie Richardson, Launchpad business adviser, Business Doncaster, said:

“Elissa is a very determined and driven individual, and the success she has achieved to date with her business is a testament to her hard work. From the outset, she was acutely aware that the beauty industry is incredibly competitive,  and after taking part in our workshops, she knew that to stand out from the crowd, she needed to think differently, and she began to embrace social media as a platform to showcase her skills and knowledge.

The Enterprise Chest Grant scheme was set up in 2022 by Business Doncaster primarily to encourage and assist local entrepreneurial activity. Funded by the Community Renewal Fund, a nationwide government programme supporting the national COVID-19 pandemic, the grant (up to £1000) provided welcome financial support for new start businesses. The scheme is now closed to new applicants.

The Launchpad programme was designed to equip new entrepreneurs with the practical skills needed to transform an idea into a commercial reality. For would-be business owners in Doncaster, there are currently a number of small grants available, and I would urge anyone who is thinking of launching their own business to get in touch.”

Launchpad combines regular training sessions, designed to give new and aspiring entrepreneurs the best possible start on their business journey, as well as one-to-one sessions, helping them to overcome specific challenges or problems they are facing. Financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and The Prince’s Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting their own business or looking for help to achieve business growth. For more information on the Launchpad programme and how it operates, contact the Growth Hub Gateway on 03330 00 00 39

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