Name: Dija Ayodele
Job title: Aesthetician
Time in current role: 10 years
Dija is an aesthetician and a member of the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology. Visit her website here.
Why did you decide to start your business?
Whilst at university I flirted with the odd beauty course and afterwards when I started working in banking the pull was still very strong, so I decided to pursue a career in beauty combining both my love for writing and physically treating people. I trained at the London College of Beauty and loved my course, excelling in all my modules.
I’m qualified in all aspects of beauty and make up, but I love working with skin so I’ve focused mainly on that. I also did a couple of writing courses including one at the London College of Communication to help hone my skills.
Like a lot of people in the beauty industry I’ve completed unpaid positions to gain work experience, progress and learn new skills. I once went to New York Fashion week with a make up company. I had to pay for my own flights and accommodation but I got paid in products and tools and earned valuable backstage experience. I’ve also worked on the shop floor of major department stores which taught me a lot about providing an excellent customer experience and developing my sales skills.
What are the key functions of your role?
EVERYTHING starts and stops with me. I’m responsible for making all decisions relating to my company 3107 London, including treatments, products, organising the diary and dealing with clients. As a small business owner it is also my responsibility to coordinate everything from extra manpower to meetings with retailers. I do have a team of other professionals who I work with on various projects and can call on them when needed.
Talk us through your typical working day
I generally wake up at 5am and go through my emails, social media and to-do list whilst I drink lemon water and coffee. I also proofread my clients’ Skin & Lifestyle Consultation reports and any articles I’m writing.
On exercise days I’ll go for a 45-minute run at about 7:30am. Then I have a quick shower, wake my daughter up and eat breakfast with her. She’s at home during the day with me three times a week, so on those days we go to all her activities and I’ll catch up with my work after her bedtime at 8pm. I’ll usually have a coffee with with my husband at around 11am if he’s free.
Whilst I do keep an eye on my messages throughout the day, between 4pm and 8pm I shut off all communication and have family time. I’m aware that this isn’t the way a lot of people work, but I’m so conscious of how quickly kids grow up and want to spend as much time as possible with my daughter before she starts school, so I sacrifice work time (and ultimately money!) to achieve this.
On the two days my daughter is at nursery I could be seeing clients for consultations/facials, in my office working on long-term projects, having lunch meetings in town, working on product development or sorting out website/wholesale orders. I try and wrap up by 10pm, catch up with my husband and settle in bed by 11pm. Sometimes I have evening networking events which means I don’t get to bed until midnight.
Your favourite part of the job?
I love spending time with clients and helping them on their journey to healthy skin. Seeing their progress and hearing their feedback is extremely rewarding and always pushes me to do more.
I also love when people try my 3107 London products and come back to tell me how much they love them. Or even when they tell me about product ideas that they would love to see. It makes it all worth it!
And I love going to my workshop and pottering around with oils making different products either for myself, my family, clients or retail.
…and the part you could do without?
I don’t like it when appointments aren’t fulfilled. For example when someone cancels on the day or a few hours before a meeting. Sometimes it’s completely unavoidable as life happens, but I always like to have a plan in place.
How would your staff and clients describe you in three words?
Determined, big-picture-thinker, positive.
Plans for the future?
I’ve always wanted to be able to offer more to my clients and provide a dedicated space where they can access not only 3107 London services, but also a mix of other types of treatments, products, advice and events.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
It’s bloody hard work but if your heart is truly in it, don’t give up. The highs are amazing but the lows can come as a shock, so take five minutes and breathe before getting back to work (I keep a copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho on my desk and read parts of it every day which helps fortify my mind).
– Always be politely persistent in your approach to everything. You’ll eventually get the answer you need.
– Organise to the death, especially if you’re juggling kids and family commitments. It’s easy for things to get muddled.
– Remember it’s a process. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is great business. Keep your eye on the big picture.
– Stay positive in all that you do. The next best thing to happen to you and your business is always just round the corner. LLY