Amanda’s career started in Government working in a role that left her unsatisfied. Picking up weekend work as a hair and makeup artist, this allowed her to still pursue her love for beauty and she later discovered her passion was skin!
Amanda’s time at The French Beauty Academy ‘saved’ her and she gives credit to The French educators for her knowledge and skills. Amanda is a highly motivated, determined women who manages mum-life and business with equal dedication. Her business, La Dar allows her the freedom to work flexibly, enabling more time out of the clinic and with her baby.
I worked in Government as a Safety Auditor, and I wasn’t happy in my job. I was also pursuing a career as a hair and makeup artist and did that as a side hustle. Whilst working as a HMUA I noticed it was hard to create a beautiful flawless look if the client had not been taking care of their skin. I would end up doing a lot of skin prep on the day of their events. At the end of the day, I really wanted to empower people to look beautiful and feel confident in their skin without covering it with too much makeup. I also wanted to have more confidence around being able to do manicures on set.
I had looked around at a few schools when researching to do manicure and facial courses but didn’t pursue anything. When I decided to go to The French I was going through a tough time in my life. I received a run of the mill marketing text from The French to say that the Government changes were about to take effect and it was our last chance to enroll before the change. In that moment it felt like the right path to take, a couple of days later I was at The French Orientation Day. In hindsight I didn’t have a ‘main motivator’ to study at The French, but The French saved me, and I think it’s amazing how one random marketing text completely changed my life.
Orientation Day I was all over the shop, I didn’t really know what I was doing! I clearly didn’t pay close attention to the emails sent because I turned up in normal clothes and everyone else was in black lol! So, I started at The French a little confused and lost – I was almost 30 years old, you’d think I’d have it together!
I was nervous going to campus as a flexi-girl (online and offline student) for the first time. In fact, since Orientation Day, I hadn’t been onto campus for 8 months! It wasn’t until I got a call asking if I was going to come to class that I booked in for my first prac and course. My nerves were completely gone once I arrived as I quickly realised my class was filled with people of all ages! I was scared I was going to be the oldest there. My peers were so nice, friendly and were the reason I fell in love with The French.
My first week back I had a model come in for a student salon treatment and this is where everything changed for me. I started my consultation and asked my client questions whilst assessing her skin. I asked her if she wore sunscreen and she told me she wore it every day, she then mentioned her brother had a sunspot on his arm and she was urging him for weeks to go and get it checked. After months her brother got the spot checked and the results stated it was a melanoma. Sadly, he passed away a few weeks later. I continued the women’s treatments and tried my best to make her feel as special and loved as possible. I spoke with Tenielle (an educator at the time) and learnt that what I was doing in treatments was changing and impacting someone’s life – I wasn’t just performing a service, but I was given the honor of someone else’s time, to take care of them.
Throughout the rest of my time studying, I took this experience with me. Turns out I hated doing manicures and fell in love with massage and facials instead!
I fell in love with the people at The French (one of the therapists I studied with at The French is now my Salon Coordinator). I fell in love with what I could do for someone else. I went in thinking I was just going to learn one thing and just add it to my repertoire, and I came out with more confidence, ambition, direction, and a newfound passion that I had no idea I had or was going to have.
It gave me the foundation skillset and knowledge to go on and continue my studies and also start my business.
Tenielle for Facials and Lisa for Massage. Tenielle was amazing because she was so thorough, and it was all about the detail with her. From how you position your Maggi lamp in the room to how you put a face mask on a client so they can have the ultimate experience.
Lisa was great when it came to massage. She had what I call “The Touch”, something you cannot teach, and it is something I seemed to have had as well (I believe my mum passed it on to me as she studied beauty therapy and never pursued a career, but massage was her specialty and what she was good at). If you paid attention and listened closely to the things Lisa said, especially when it came to how she put oil on the skin and how she transitioned between moves, it benefitted you as a therapist.
Between Tenielle and Lisa I believe they gave me the foundations for what set me apart as a therapist because of the detail, transitions, and flow that I use in between movements and modalities. They both taught me that a massage or facial isn’t just a service, it’s an experience.
Towards the end of my studies, I had my final prac in the student spa and I invited Sherelle French to come and get a treatment from me. I gave her a full body Swedish massage and a classic facial. At the end she congratulated me and told me that it was one of the best massages she’s ever had and the best facial massage she had ever had. She then asked who taught me and I said Lisa and Tenielle and she sent them both an email saying how impressed she was with her treatment (I only know because they later shared it with me). I attribute my success to both these teachers because when you get a compliment like that from someone like Sherelle French then you know you must be on to something. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Lisa and Tenielle, they made me a better therapist and even though I am a Dermal Clinician now, I am sought after for my relaxation and advanced facial massage treatments.
I wouldn’t say there was one piece of advice that stood out for me. It was mainly my experience at The French overall.
Excluding the techniques and the skills that my teachers gave me, it’s learning that what I am doing is more than just a treatment, its more than just massaging someone’s face, its more than fixing someone’s acne or correcting a skin condition. What I learnt is that I am making an impact on someone’s life, I am making someone feel special, loved, relaxed, more confident, and beautiful.
I also learnt to love myself and work on my own mental health more. The program was called Service Excellence. I learnt how important mindset is and to be honest I still do a lot of mindset work today.
I had work as a makeup artist and worked on set, but after graduating I had a passion to start my own business and so I did. When I started my business, I only did Swedish Massage one day a week (on a Sunday), working around my full-time work schedule in the Government while also doing weddings on a Saturday.
When I really pursued my work in the industry outside of the HMUA work I did, I was my own boss, but my massage skillset I took from The French was a huge part in the makings of my business.
The French graduates are highly regarded and employable in the industry.
Now I am trying to navigate being a boss, a therapist, and a new mum all at the same time. Since becoming a new mum I have taken on more of a leadership role so my day to day has changed. Some days I am working on clients, others will be staff training days, staff meetings, admin work, which includes a lot of marketing, financials, product meetings and research.
This industry is so diverse. You can be a therapist, working with different technologies, do editorial work, become an educator, own your own business, be a researcher, develop products…. the list goes on. The world is your oyster in the beauty industry, you have so many opportunities, you are not just locked down to one job.
Don’t go in with expectations. Don’t go in thinking that the stereotype of being a beauty therapist is just doing treatments. Keep an open mind and you will open a door for yourself to endless opportunities.
To expand and grow my business to also include more wellness and nutrition practices as I am currently studying a degree in Clinical Nutrition. More international educational training. I would also love to open a second clinic and hire more staff.
Because I wasn’t happy in my government job, and I wanted to have a more creative job as my side hustle to balance it out.
My side hustle then led me to a point where I was able to leave my full-time job. This did take years of hard work because I didn’t want to leave my job until I knew I could replace my wage with my beauty business. The Covid pandemic made the industry too unstable to just jump and take the risk, I had to be more strategic with my exit to then go on to grow my business to where it is today.
I got a business mentor and she helped me set up my business initially and has guided me to continue to grow these last few years. With her I was able to leave my full-time job at the Government, work full time in my business, hire staff, open in a commercial premises and be able to take time off for mat leave. I believe having a business mentor is crucial if you want to succeed in business.
There is no one challenge that is bigger than another. As a business owner you face challenges daily, as business is always up and down. You have good days and bad days. The biggest obstacle as a business owner is our fears, what scares us and intimidates us, what stops us from taking a risk or doing something outside of our comfort zones – it’s really our own mindsets, which is why personal development and self-improvement are so important as a business owner and the growth of a business.
Not placing importance on cashflow and budgeting. Despite how good you are at what you do, if you don’t know your numbers well it can cause serious issues. Last Christmas I over ordered on stock and ended up with a huge bill which took me months to pay off. It’s all about right place and right time and I’ve learnt that as much as I want to bring in a particular device or product, I can only do so when the numbers indicate it’s the right time to do so…. otherwise, you end up setting yourself up for a lot of stress and potential failure.
Just start, don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Just start, start small and then grow from there.
I have a saying….
You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce does, it’s up to you how you use them!
Scent: Anything with Vanilla
Lipstick: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk
Book: Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King
Best Kept Secret: What you are working on. Surprise everyone once it’s done!
Business Inspo’: Dr Clara Hurst (my biggest inspo’ in general)
Drink: Anything non-alcoholic at the moment as I have a new baby but otherwise a vodka lime and soda or nice pinot noir
Song: I love Latin music as I am also a salsa dancer so any type of Latin music
Select your desired option below to share a direct link to this page.
Your friends or family will thank you later.