In her teenage years, Lucy Yoxen had a strong interest in beauty therapy and had considered it as a career but after leaving school, she ended up taking a very different path
– working in IT as a graphic and web designer. Making the decision to come to City College as a mature student in 2013 to study Level 2 Beauty Therapy was Lucy’s first daunting step towards a career change but it proved to be a shrewd move.
Once she embarked on the course, with much support and encouragement from her tutors, Lucy quickly demonstrated great aptitude for the subject. With growing confidence in her skills, she progressed onto the Level 3 course in 2014 and having gained much hands-on experience of dealing with customers in the College’s City Revival training salons, Lucy felt ready to take her next big step – becoming a self-employed beauty therapist.
“In February, during the second term, I managed to secure a beauty room at Withdean Sports Complex and it was an opportunity that I couldn’t let slip through my fingers,” she recalls. “So, I launched Withdean Beauty Room and started treating clients almost immediately. It was extremely hard as I was at College two full days a week and working every hour possible to build up the business. Also, being a single mother to a three year old at the time, I certainly had my work cut out for me! Even though it was challenging, opening up the doors to my salon was incredibly rewarding and exciting. Knowing I had done this all myself, I felt so proud of my achievements and the hard work I’d put into my new career.”
While coping with the demands of her fledgling business and being a single mum, Lucy achieved her Level 3 qualification at the College which was another personal landmark: “I believed in myself and knew the skills I’d learnt at the College gave me the confidence to continue building my business. The salon’s been open for two years now, and I’m forever grateful to City College and all the tutors who helped me throughout my time there. The attention to detail and the level of training was outstanding. I wouldn’t be where I am now had it not been for my tutors and the College itself.”
But being at the College wasn’t just about achieving the all-important professional qualification – it was also about the people she met there: “My fondest memories are of my fellow students because we had so much fun together. I’ve made a lovely group of friends who I still keep in touch with and we support each other’s growing careers. We worked hard together and everyone was friendly and gave you support if and when you needed it. We also loved hanging out in the College refectory on breaks, whether we were studying or just catching up… fun times!”
As for the day-to-day realities of running her own business, what aspect does Lucy enjoy most? “The most rewarding moment I get, every single day, is making people happy,” she says. “It’s all about helping people to feel special and pampered in the relaxing and calm atmosphere that I’ve created.”
Having achieved the ambition of running her own business, Lucy now aims to expand it and is also looking into developing her own beauty product range. But what advice would she give to current students?
“Invest your time in something you really enjoy,” she says. “Once you find that, you will dedicate your time wholeheartedly, which will reap its rewards in the end. Also, work hard and never be afraid to believe in your own ability. You really can do anything if you set your mind to it!”