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Celebrate - 18 Years On....

Friday, 30 September 2016  |  Admin

Amy Hammond

Esqué Owner/Salon Director


1.    1.
publicly acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event)
with a social gathering or enjoyable activity.
So, a long time ago (but not in a galaxy far far away!) Esqué was born out of a desire to offer excellent beauty treatments in lovely surroundings.  I remember the weeks leading up to the salon opening, the excitement and the blissful naivety of the journey ahead.  The long hours, assisted by my wonderful family, of very un-glamourous and un-beautiful chores to ensure that everything was ready and lovingly prepared to welcome our clients into a world of care and relaxation.  At the end of our opening day my sister handed me a card (I still have it now) that said ‘Congratulations on your New Baby’.  I didn’t realise how appropriate that card was until now and with the approach of Esque’s 18thbirthday – I look back and realise that this really does feel like a coming of age for my ‘baby’. 
I may not have actual children (unless you count 3 fur babies who purr a lot), but with observation, I think that having a business has many similarities to being a parent.
There’s the excitement to start with and the anticipation of the unknown – you have something new and amazing to mould and care for with absolutely no instruction book but a lot of great ideas and determination! The first few years are spent learning, adapting and finding your feet and with growth comes change. 
After three years, our tiny flock of Esqué Angels had outgrown the start up premises and, with the help of the bank manager, we made a bold move to Bedford Street and more space than we really knew what to do with! ... More unglamorous days of dust, dirt and broken nails ensued and at the same time we began the recruitment and training process of what was to be a much larger team while still running the original site.  I don’t think I’ve ever kept so may plates spinning!!!  Once again – friends and family were the pillars of support I needed and relied upon to get us through the ‘teething’ stage.  We finally moved from 2 small treatment rooms in a small premises on Regent Grove to Bedford Street and two floors of therapy rooms, a function room (which we used for training and events), a cutting edge, fully automated tanning suite (think Ross from friends  but without the complications!) and my sister, Sally, came on board as MD.
More space meant that we could look after more lovely clients and, really, our clients (you lovely lot who are reading this) are the number one reason why we do what we do.  We made sure that we brought in the best from the beauty world, being careful to avoid beauty fads but being on the ball with what was new so that our clients could depend on us to cater to their wants and needs. The next few years flew by and we enjoyed nurturing some lovely team members – some are still with us, some have moved abroad, some have left to have families and one vibrant soul was, very sadly, taken too early from this world.  The emotional rollercoaster of life is ever present in this business as it is so personal and intimate and it is a true privilege that our clients share many of their most special moments, feelings and memories with us.  If walls could talk, our treatment rooms would have you spellbound with stories!
We have continued to grow and change over the years.  A small fire in the tanning suite, one Sunday, resulted in a salon full of firemen (every cloud ...) and we had to quickly make some unplanned changes to our set up to ensure that we could still provide tanning treatments!  A little later on we had the opportunity of taking on the ground floor retail area which was another big leap, financially. With the shop frontage came greater awareness of the salon for people who had walked past us for years but had no idea that we existed.  We entered and won the British Beauty Award for Best Regional Salon in the West Midlands in 2005, 2006 and 2007.  We were especially proud to achieve the British Beauty Award for National Salon of the year in 2006, against some very tough competition, and we won the British Beauty Award for Best Retail Salon in 2008 before the awards, sadly, ceased to run.   
Some big changes behind the scenes saw my sister and business partner, Sally, leave to start her beautiful family and a new business partnership began with Gurdip to ensure the smooth running of the business (there’s an awful lot of very dull paperwork to manage as well as the important decisions to make!).  In 2011 The British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) started their salon awards and we entered and very proudly won National Salon of the Year, enjoying a lovely awards ceremony with the team at Kensington Roof Gardens, along with the pink flamingoes!  That same year, Esqué transitioned into being a teenager and although it didn’t bring us any moody ‘it’s so unfair’ moments, it did experiment with it’s interior ‘style’, working with trend features and colours whilst always ensuring that the treatment rooms could function practically.  In more recent years we have opted for a more elegant yet relaxed style thanks to a collaboration with the team at the local Farrow & Ball on Regent St. 
Although I had reduced my therapy hours over the years, I finally hung up my waxing spatula on New Years eve of 2014 to focus on the running of the business.  With over 1200 retail and professional stock items to juggle, 15 staff members to support  and the ever increasing compliance expectations, it really is a full time job but  I love that I still get to see so many clients, new and old, on a weekly basis ... there s never a dull moment!
I couldn’t write this blog without mentioning my lovely mum, Nikki, who has been a huge part of Esqué over the years and many of you may have met her on reception.  We retired her last year, with sadness,  as she is now managing a rather rare auto immune condition which has caused many challenges and resulted in a severe deterioration in her hearing.  If Esqué is my baby, I guess that makes her ‘Grandma’ which is rather fitting as she has shown the business nothing but love and devotion and is missed greatly by staff and clients.
... And now is now.  I cannot believe where the years have gone as it seems like only yesterday that I was finishing college. EIGHTEEN! ... wow ... I guess the only thing with a business is that it’s not heading off to university!  As parenthood will change your life, so has Esqué changed mine.  It has taught me something new every day, made me laugh, made me cry, supported me, needed me, grown me as an individual and changed me for the better.  So it’s time to celebrate this month as ‘my baby’ turns 18.  We hope you will join us at our open evening on 17th October and may I personally raise a glass to my wonderful team, our fabulous clients, especially those of you who have been with us from day one (you know who you are!) and ... to Esqué xxx
Amy x