Why did you set up in Whitstable?
Having found a new career in Reflexology my business actually started in my back garden. But in 2003 I was presented with an opportunity to open a salon in the heart of Whitstable, which at the time had no other beauty salons. Move on 16 years and we are proud to be the Spa on the High Street. More recently I have opened a second salon in Canterbury.
What do you love about your business and working here?
I love what I do, I have a really good team, we care about people and how they feel. We are like a little community, some of our clients feel like family. A few of our older clients that have been coming in for years make us want to adopt them as our Nan! We have built relationships with people during our time here and if we haven’t seen them in a while, we will call to make sure they are okay. Providing relaxing treatments and making people feel good about themselves makes you feel like you are doing something that will make a positive difference to them. We also find out a lot about people in our work, they open up and share some amazing stories. We are very privileged to meet some inspiring people.
Why did you choose to work in this business in particular?
I was always wanted to be a nurse to help people but I wasn’t academic, so I completed a secretarial course and started working in a local estate agency. The need for helping people never went away though and in 1999, after starting a family, I qualified as a practitioner in reflexology and started working from home. I then met my ex-business partner, she did beauty, so we collaborated and worked together, opening the salon. I then added beauty to my training. This was never my plan in life but feel very appreciative of what I’ve got and what I’ve achieved. I’m still delighted when the phone rings for a treatment booking.
Is there anything special about your business and what makes you different
We look after the whole person holistically, rather than a short-term fix. It is not about walking through the door and just having an eyebrow wax, it’s about the calming atmosphere, the comfy couch and having “me” time. I work intuitively, with my gut instinct and after 16 years I’ve learnt to trust this. As I mentioned earlier, everything we do comes from a holistic approach so we only work with products that are in line with this. All our skincare-based treatments; facials and massage use ELEMIS and we love our Youngblood makeup range for their brand ethos. They have also just launched a Vegan range of make-up brushes
Who inspired you?
I meet so many inspirational people in this job, both clients and other business owners, talking and sharing their life’s experiences helps to build my own confidence and inspire me. I work with the Whitsparkle Group which is made up of some very dynamic and inspirational ladies. I love working within the community and started a WhatsApp group for the traders in town to keep each other up to date with any issues etc we all face, making them aware of anything that’s important for us all.
How do you take your coffee?
I don’t drink coffee, love the smell and hate the taste. (Diet Coke), Water or wine is my preferred drink.
What do your customers say about you?
I’d like to think they would say they get more than just their treatment. Sometimes it is almost like a counselling session. Also, we have a great team here. My manageress has been with me for 16 years and I hope that customers say that we make them want to come back.
Why do you think shopping local is important?
Shopping local is so important for the community and human beings like to feel like they have a community around them and are involved. If we kill the high streets, we are killing the future. If there is no high street, where will I walk to when I am retired? What about the person who lives for their pension day to say hello to people and have a good reason to get out? We will isolate people if the high street isn’t supported.
What has been your proudest moment or biggest achievement?
My three boys. Getting them out into the big wide world to be as sensible as possible!
What’s your best-selling treatment?
Our eyebrow waxing. My best one is my reflexology which is my real passion.
Which other shops in Whitstable or Tankerton would you recommend to your customers?Loads! If I was to pick a top three, Indie is my favourite shop which has just launched, George’s is a great treasure trove and Taking the Plunge is a beautiful gift shop. For lunch in Whitstable I’d send people to Tea and Times or Thai Orchid. For Tankerton, I would say the Polkadot card shop is lovely and the Bears Trading for lunch with the Tankerton arms for a good pint.
Editor’s Note: Janine Knell is the perfect example of a ‘people-person’ and I can see how her customers have been coming back to her after 16 years!
Why did you set up in Whitstable?