BUSINESSWOMAN Marie Heffernan has been carving out her own corner of the beauty market as she makes her lifelong dream of running a beauty salon come true.
Marie, who lives on the Limerick-Kerry border, says she has always wanted to be a beautician and run her own a salon. In January this year, that dream finally came true.
The Beauty Corner offers a range of services from nails, makeup, lash and eyebrow treatments, to pedicures, waxing, and facials. The hard-working Marie carries out all the treatments in the new salon herself, and opened up to The Ensemble about her background and how she came to set up her own place.
“I always wanted to do beauty, even in school, and I will never forget a science teacher when we picked our subjects – I had her for my Junior Cert – and she said to me ‘you’re never going to be a beautician’.”
“I just sat in the class that day and I said, ‘I will! I will be a beautician and I will own my own business’.”
And so her journey began.
Determined to succeed, Marie studied beauty therapy for two years in Kerry College before beginning work in a beauty salon in Ballybunion. After this, she moved to a salon in Newcastle West before eventually deciding to take the plunge and go out on her own.
Marie drove through Athea every morning while on her way to work in the Newcastle West salon and noticed that, despite how busy the town always looked, there was no beautician operating in the area.
After spotting her gap in the market and noticing there was an old butcher’s shop available, she went to view the property and found what would be the home of her new business.
Reflecting on the process of turning a butcher’s into a beauty salon, Marie said: “Oh my God, the stress, the pressure. There were tiles on the wall, tiles on the floor. Then when everything got striped down, I was literally left with a blank canvas. There was nothing – I mean nothing – we literally had to build the rooms.”
The Beauty Corner has had a great reception from locals so far, and Marie hosted an opening party last month and invited the whole town to get off on the right foot.
Reflecting on the night, Marie said: “It was brilliant, so many people came and I had wine, I had buns with The Beauty Corner written on them, I had hot food, I had sandwiches. Everybody got to mingle and everybody got to look around the salon.”
“People that came in for a pedicure or people who just saw areas that they have been treated got a chance to venture around and actually have a look in the facial room and tan room, and they got to have a proper good feel of the salon.”
Gushing over the support from the local community, Marie said that “everyone has said this beauty salon was so needed. I’m only open three weeks and new clients that came to me week one are now back again to get their eyebrows done or get their lip wax.”
The beauty therapist admitted her fears when first opening have melted away with the support she’s received.
“I was just so worried that people would were just going to not even come to me and were going to give it a few weeks to see how it goes, whereas it wasn’t that case at all. I opened the Wednesday and so many people walked in for appointments. By Thursday I was almost fully booked and then come Friday and Saturday I was full.”
Looking to the future Marie admitted she’d love to eventually have someone working in the salon along with her, but for now is focusing on giving the best experience possible to customers in the busy salon and carving out her own path – despite what her science teacher says.