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Awarded the Principal’s List Award, graduating from The French Beauty Academy in 2022, this high achiever is now a successful Business Owner at SK Beauty and Skin. Coming from an industry that wasn’t fulfilling her, she persevered and is now thriving in the beauty environment. Sonika is a shining example of what can be achieved through determination and resilience. 

She operates SK Beauty and Skin from home, attributing her business knowledge to the ‘Business for Beauty’ class at The French Beauty Academy, teaching her all things business, the legalities, market research and content creation. 

Her motto is to never give up and keep working hard. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in beauty therapy?

I came from a rough working industry and was looking for something new, challenging and just something I was happy doing. The beauty world was screaming at me and I thought it was time to give it a go. My partner really encouraged me to do something for myself and really supported me through my journey at The French Beauty Academy. The beauty industry is constantly evolving with new trends, techniques and products. I enjoy learning and staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in skincare and beauty treatments.

What was your main motivation for studying at the French?

I searched all over to find the right place which provided all beauty and skincare treatments and then I found myself at a career expo which had The French Beauty Academy. The moment I spoke to the student advisors, I just knew I had to give French a go. Went in for my orientation and fell in love with the Academy and the people.

What was your favourite part about studying at the French? How would you describe your experience from the day you started at orientation?

I remember my first day at orientation, I was so nervous and excited at the same time about this new change. I have always feared new changes and experiences but as soon as I entered the campus and was greeted by my student advisors and receptionist I suddenly felt so safe and relaxed. I was then escorted to the room which had some students already waiting and they automatically made me feel more at ease. I was in a fairly large cohort, meeting and getting to know them was very overwhelming but it was the best experience. I have made so many good friends throughout my time at The French and most of them shape me to be the person I am today. Throughout my time at The French, I had the opportunity to be an Ambassador, this was hands down one of my favourite part by being a part of a small team of ambitious women who focused on raising awareness and funds for our charities. Overall, the whole experience has given me a lot of confidence and has really flourished me into being someone I never knew I was.

How did the French help prepare you for life as a professional beauty therapist?

The French really prepared me to be a professional beauty therapist through educators taking their time and sharing their valuable knowledge and skills. Making time and effort to ensure that I understood every concept and method possible to achieve the perfect results. Being a practice model or client helped as well. This gave us an opportunity to feel each treatment, so that I would know what my clients will feel when I conduct the treatment. The French also gave the opportunity to go find work experience and conduct a certain amount of hours to get an idea of what our day will look like working in the industry, this really shaped me along with daily grooming of wearing our uniform, putting the hair up in a bun, red lips and looking after our personal hygiene. This has shaped me to always present myself professionally.

Did you have a favourite teacher / subject at the french? Why?

This one is a tricky question! I had so many favorite teachers, mostly I have to lean towards Brooke, Ally and Heather. They were very knowledgeable in aspects of what they taught. Very professional but also had that gentle friendly side. Ally taught me the magic of how to give that perfect brow, massage, and body treatment service! Brooke was a queen when it came to Makeup and Hair and Heather delivered the right skills for conducting all salon services.

What is the best advice you received from your study at the French?

The best advice I received was “nothing is impossible, you are capable of doing anything and everything if you give your 100%.” I still replay this over and over again if I ever have a bad day. This advice has gotten me so far and I can’t wait to achieve greater things.

What were some of the invaluable lessons or most important thing that you learnt at The French that you have been able to apply to your new career?

There were often some moments we would be free throughout our student salon services. I never wasted a moment learning anything new. I would always ask assistant educators for tips on improving treatments and they never failed to teach me. Learning new things was something that would really motivate me and then implementing those skills and making it into my style has really been a strong point for me in my business.

How easy was it for you to gain work after graduating? Tell me about your first career ‘break’?

It is fairly easy to gain work after graduating. The opportunities are quite endless, and it all starts while you are still a student. Doing work experience and applying for various salons, spas and boutiques left me with a large amount of job opportunities after graduation. I got offered a job right after I completed my work experience.

What elements of your study allowed you to obtain your new job? Were there any specific skills that you learned from your time at The French that you then highlighted in order to be hired?

Having the knowledge of beauty is the best skill to obtain. Being able to present knowledge about products and treatments is something employers look out for. My favourite thing about facials was learning about the ingredients that go into products and then being able to upsell to client’s which product is ideal for them. Knowledge is power in the beauty industry.

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How are the French graduates perceived out in the industry?

French graduates are known in the industry for exceptional levels of training, professionalism, and presentation. Throughout our time at The French we are trained to be well groomed, learn salon/spa language and manners. This is all highly important and very essential for any salon or spa. The French obtains a high reputation for all aspects.

Describe a day in the life of you on a working day?

Every day before I start my day, I check my schedule and organise my day according to the treatments and times. I always make sure that my room is nice and tidy for all my clients and for myself. I normally then conduct my treatments, create content and when done with clients I ensure I clean my space. If there is time left, I will then do some marketing work.

Why is it so exciting to work in the beauty industry right now?

The beauty industry is constantly evolving, with new trends, products, and technologies emerging regularly. This dynamism creates a sense of excitement and keeps us professionals on our toes. The beauty industry also offers a wide range of career paths and specialisations. Whether you’re interested in makeup artistry, hairstyling, skincare, fragrance, product development, or marketing, there are numerous avenues to explore. This is what I love about the beauty industry!


If you are thinking about it, don’t be afraid to take on this journey. There is a lot of support and endless opportunities out there in the Beauty Industry after graduating. It is a journey you will remember forever and the amazing things you learn about yourself are more life changing. Do not fear the change and the uncertainties, it is truly worth it at the end. The experiences and memories that you will create will be the best.

What are your goals for the next few years? Do you have an ultimate career ambition?

I plan to strongly focus and grow my business and to get recognised in the industry. My ultimate career ambition is to open a salon or spa that features all advancement treatments like laser, dermal therapy, skin injections and much more.


Scent: Si Eau De Parfum by Giorgio Armani
Lipstick: Velvet Teddy MAC 
Book: Think Like A Monk – By Jay Shetty 
Blog: Susan Yara
Best Kept Secret: Beauty truly comes from within. 


City: New York City
Beauty Muse: Have to go into my ethnicity and say Priyanka Chopra. She’s an absolute goddess.
Drink: Cappuccino or a nice dirty chai
Song: “Unstoppable” by Sia (Always keeps me going) 
Quote: “True beauty is not found in the mirror, but in the radiance that shines from within.”

"Don't be afraid to take on this journey."

- Sonika Kumar

Why did you decide to start your own business? Can you tell us a bit about your journey?

I decided to start my own business before I entered The French. The previous jobs and the industry I was in did not make me happy and I was constantly frustrated. I was encouraged by my partner and my family to start something for myself because they saw great leadership and persistence in me. This made me more motivated, then I stopped everything and focused on entering the Beauty Industry and industry which is always evolving with endless opportunities. Once starting my journey at The French I obtained all the knowledge and not long after graduating I started my home business.

What were the first few steps you took to set up the business?

Market research and finding out what home based salons are around me. Analyzing what they offer and pricing was more important so that I could work around those services and pricing. Networking with educators, business owners, beauty warehouses and gaining partnerships was very important.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when starting your business, and how did you overcome them?

Building a loyal customer base is vital for the success of a beauty business. It requires nurturing strong relationships with clients, providing personalised experiences, and consistently delivering exceptional services. Building trust and loyalty takes time and effort.

A lot of advertising, reaching out to people in the neighborhood and family friends  built a strong clientele base. Another challenge,  The beauty industry is driven by ever-changing trends, styles, and customer preferences. Keeping up with these trends and offering relevant services can be demanding. I need to invest in continuous education and training, stay updated on the latest techniques and products, and adapt their offerings to meet customer demands.

What is a decision or perhaps a mistake you've made that has led to a very valuable lesson in running or starting a business?

Starting up, I decided to offer a lot of services from the get-go. I sometimes wish I started slow and built upon that. Having all services featured in the beginning is great however it can be a little costly if it results in low demand. Start off with a few services and then ask your clients what they would like to see added in your service list.

What did you learn during your time at The French that helped prepare you when starting your business or during the course of your business journey?

I was very fortunate enough to have business for beauty. Within this class I was able to learn the right way to market for beauty, how to create content and how to market research and then learn the right legal procedures and policies needed to conduct a business. It made my start to the business journey so much easier.

What are your plans for the future of your business, and where do you see yourself in five years?

I plan to operate my business from home until I move into a central location for all my clients and then operate from a small studio or boutique. Continue to grow and educate myself in the business industry and would also like to start educating students and help them achieve their goals and dreams.

If you had just 1 piece of advice for our Frenchies who are wanting to start their own business, what would it be?

Remember, starting a business is a journey that requires dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to learn and adapt. By embracing a growth mindset, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the challenges, seize opportunities, and achieve long-term success. Never give up!

another piece of advice from sonika

Never give up. There will be some difficult times but push through and remember the reason why you started. Find people who you look up to or friends or past students from The French Beauty Academy who have started their business and reach out to them for help. We are in this together. I am always there for anyone and everyone.

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