It’s been a busy few months for Cliona Sweeney.
Having expanded her Beautique nail bar into the city with a new base at the uber cool Kopper Hair Salon, she’s added the latest skin treatments to her arsenal of tricks designed to make her clients look and feel like celebs.
In between running a thriving business and jetting to Paris Men’s Fashion Week to assist Marian Newman (arguably the most notable name in nails) for Maison Margiela and Alexander Mc Queen, Cliona also found time to pick up the gong for Best Established Business in South Cork at the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, natch.
So this just happened! Assisting the gorgeous @sophiastylianou_ at the Waldorf this morning for the spectacular @paulcostelloeofficial show. Hair: @cossakkas @labelmuk Make up: @lisapotterdixon @benefit_ire Nails: Lead artist @sophiastylianou_ @nailsbymets @kerrismae @moroccanroseindulgentbeauty @bhambnails @beautique_cork @izbeautyldn Skin: @theskinnerdire and the nerdettes . . #lfw #londonfashion #paulcostelloe #irish #irishdesigner #waldorf #fashionnails #photography #fashionweek #fashion #nails #makeup #benefitcosmetics #labelmuk
This is how she’s WORKING IT…
I’m in the business of making women feel beautiful.
I’m a multi award-winning Gelish master educator, beauty therapist and session nail artist and I have been in the beauty business for 18 years. I opened Beautique five years ago as a training academy and then I opened a nail bar at Kopper Hair in Glanmire. We just recently relocated to the city where the owner of Kopper, Sabrina Hill opened an amazing hair salon and I launched Beautique Beauty, where I have two nail bars, four treatment rooms and two fantastic employees; Jessica who specialises in brows, waxing and facials and Claire who is the queen of lashes.
Funnily enough the recession inspired me to open my own business. Unemployment was so high and women were looking for new career paths or were given the opportunity to retrain so the demand for beauty courses was huge.
We saw an opportunity to expand and incorporate both hair and beauty under one roof. Everyone is busy and free time is usually a luxury. Having spoken to clients, we discovered they loved the idea of being able to have everything done in one place. They enjoy the convenience of getting a facial and then having a blow-dry straight afterwards. We also do a huge amount of weddings so it’s brilliant to be able to look after a bridal party from start to finish.
In the beginning I was a busy fool. I said yes to everything , which you have to when you’re starting out, but I spread myself too thin. Now I have learned to use my time wisely. However, I believe the only bad mistakes you make are ones you don’t learn from, everything is a learning curve.
Nails are my first love but I get such a buzz out of doing facial treatments and seeing the difference in a client’s skin. We have just introduced a new micro-needling treatment that uses LED light technology and the results are incredible.
My advice to another entrepreneur in this industry? Be unique. Just focus on your business and not what everyone else is doing around you. Be prepared to work hard.
When I first started I sponsored a fabulous Cork blogger for her nails. In return I would get great images of my work and regular mentions on social media. I have a good relationship with a few local social media influencers so we work together a lot.
My work wardrobe is black and more black. I have a uniform when I’m in the salon but when I’m teaching I usually wear something a bit smarter. I shop online as I don’t have much free time, Zara and Topshop are usually my go-to.
The people of Cork are amazingly supportive. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing and loyal clientele.
Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learned so much through the good and the bad. It is how my business and I have evolved.
I am a huge believer in networking. I’m an educator for Gelish so I train at any salon taking on the brand in the Cork, Kerry and Waterford. I offer a huge amount of support to other salons so there is a mutual respect there. I also work at the professional beauty shows in Dublin, where I would meet a lot of other salon owners.
I’m learning to switch off. I work six or seven days a week so I don’t have much down time but when I am off I spend it with my husband and two kids.
The natural ‘un done’ look is still sweeping the catwalks. Nude nails are not going anywhere soon. Skin care is huge at the moment and most clients are tending to treat their skin rather than covering it up with heavy make-up.
What’s next? Well… I just did Paris Men’s Fashion Week, assisting Marian Newman for Maison Margiela and Alexander Mc Queen. I’m heading to London this week again and I’m assisting on some amazing shows. Milan is also on the cards so 2018 is looking pretty busy so far.