Single mum who left school with no GCSEs now runs six-figure business

A single mum who left school with no GCSEs has revealed how she built up a successful six-figure business and now earns more than some doctors.

Nine years ago, Gemma Winstanley didn’t have a penny to her name but she is now one of the best-known semi-permanent makeup artists in Hull.

She believes her success is down to hard work and sheer determination, reports Hull Live.

And the 36-year-old admits she hardly recognises herself from the single mum she was a few years ago who didn’t have a penny to her name.

Gemma has worked in salons since the age of 17 and after giving birth to her two children took the plunge to re-mortgage her home and open her open nail and beauty salon.

She said: "I made what some might say a naive decision to re-mortgage my house and open my own salon, with no clients, and at the time I was a single mum without a penny to my name.

"I never really gave it a thought that I could potentially lose everything if it didn’t work out, I just threw myself in and hoped for the best, but I was never going to let it fail. My personality is such that I was determined to make it work."      

In 2011 she begged and borrowed £10,000 to train in semi-permament makeup and buy the equipment – but the real turning point for her business came in 2014 when she trained in microblading.

She’s now got thousands of clients, her diary is full and her skills are recognised far and wide and customers visit her from all over the country for treatments thanks to her reputation.

"I just love what I do, it’s a hobby, not a job," said Gemma.

"Helping people feel and look better is an amazing thing to do. I absolutely love helping people feel better about themselves."

Gemma, who employs seven staff, has also now launched the city’s only semi-permanent makeup training academy – so she can share her skills with others who want to excel in the beauty field.

And despite enjoying the financial rewards of the industry, which can be more than what a doctor earns, her latest venture is not motivated by money.

She says the reason for the next step of opening the Microbeau Training Academy is the love and passion for her job which makes her want to share her skills.

The academy, in Hedon has been launched alongside friend Marie Selby, another beauty expert who is based in the south of England.

"It’s been a massive investment, but I wouldn’t let it not work, I’m really driven and passionate about what I do," said Gemma.

"I always try to do the best treatments I can, and I want to pass on my passion.

"Students come to me because they have have seen my work, they like how I work, and they want to learn my technique.

"Together we felt we could offer something not received at other training courses we’ve both been on.

"Both of us have trained with independent people and also with big companies, we liked the way a big company is ran with training material and other benefits but we also like the personal touch of independents, they’re more approachable, more personal so we wanted to give the best of both worlds.

"It can be quite a stressful thing to learn, you do have ups and downs, and what I never got from my training was that little bit of counselling, and that’s why I think were a little bit different from others."

The academy now offers courses in semi-permament eyeliner, lips and powder brows and Gemma is planning to add new treatments during the next few years. Everyone from complete beginners are trained.

And if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, Gemma is so passionate about what she does, she offers some treatments, for medical conditions free of charge.

Gemma often does areola reconstruction treatment for recovering breast cancer patients. She tattoos the nipple after women have had a maestactomy.

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