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Victoria Toye is the proud owner of The Darling Room, a successful beauty salon in Hamilton that has been in business for almost 10 years. Graduating in 2005, Victoria was one of the very first students to study at the Elite Hamilton campus when it first opened.
A farm girl at heart, Victoria started her working life as an office assistant after moving from Raglan to Hamilton aged 18. It was an off the cuff conversation at work one day that helped her decide she was going to study beauty therapy.
“I loved makeup, nails and massage and I would do these on my mum from an early age, especially massage! I remember one day talking to some colleagues at my work and one of them said ‘you should go and study beauty therapy’. A few weeks later, I was enrolled.”
Victoria now has three therapists working at the clinic which lets her focus more on the running of the business, rather than the hands-on, client focused work. Like any successful venture, there have been challenges along the way.
"One of the challenges I think is making beauty therapy profitable as there are so many people selling cheap services that it can be difficult really charging for what you know you are worth.”
In Victoria's case the successes far outweigh the challenges and she has very high praise for her three staff (all of whom are Elite graduates) and for her training at Elite.
“I got so much support from the tutors and principal during my study. They could see the therapists that really had a passion and were selfless with their time. Elite and Donna (Hamilton Campus Manager) also helped me when I wanted to expand and take on staff.”
Her advice for budding therapists is to focus not only on the beauty side of the job, but also on the therapy.
“Each day you have to give of yourself to others. You need to make each treatment special no matter how big or small. Giving of yourself like that is not for everyone but it is so, so rewarding and your clients become some of your closest friends. Find a salon that fits you and your beliefs. That will grow you as a therapist.”