In this month's inspirational people blog we have spoken to Mandy Ware who told us all about her background within the beauty industry, her ambitions within her profession and indeed what/who has inspired her:
Studying my profession
I studied in both Surrey and London and am qualified with a IHBT (1980), Reflexology and Aromatherapy ITEC, and IMA in make-up artistry.
When studying, I really enjoyed the practical side, i.e., meeting and helping people, but what I found particularly hard was the written side since I am slightly dyslexic, but not enough to warrant verbal exams (spell check is my best friend!). I was however very determined to pass the written exams and worked hard to do so. Consequently, although not achieving the top grades in the class, I achieved student of the year which I believe was for the sheer effort I put in to achieve the grades I was awarded.
My career to date
Having studied initially in Surrey, I moved to continue my studies in London, also working in Salons and spas in Central London where I went on to run 2 salons. I then moved back to run salons in Surrey, eventually becoming a self-employed mobile therapist and then a therapist on Cruise Ships. Eventually I ended up here in Portugal working on a freelance basis for a couple of salons. I do this as I still enjoy the therapy side of my profession….but my new passion is make-up!
After gaining the essential professional make-up qualification I started being asked to do a couple of weddings and then via word-of-mouth more and more. Consequently this part of my career has blossomed.
I just love being part of someone's big day. It's a massive responsibility and I take that very seriously. Emotions run high and you as the make-up artist have to be able to fit in, especially not ‘flapping’ when everyone else is. Most importantly, when doing make-up you must deliver your best work every time and as if it's a final exam.
I adore learning and that will only stop the minute my desire to learn stops.....if that happens it is time to do something else. So personally I would like to expand the photographic side and catwalk side of my profession.
However being a make-up artist is not all glamour - you are the first person on set, to prepare and set up, and the last to leave. Your case weighs a ton and you have to take care of your make-up brushes and make-up, specifically in Portugal keeping it cool in high temperatures on location can melt and ruin the products.
What I believe makes a great therapist
To me, what makes a good therapist is a person who is genuinely interested in people and thinks of them before themselves. Call it a nursing instinct without the blood and dressings! A good interest in human biology is essential as well as a wealth of knowledge in skin conditions and diseases.
I also believe a good therapist also cares about your own appearance (but no in an obsessive way) – you are after all a walking advert!
Overall, I have had the pleasure of visiting many salons and spas whereby the good ones, to me, are apparent by the clear excellence of their staff who have the above qualities.
When it comes to products, I have no one range that I favour, but like to think that I choose the best for the condition and from a variety of different companies. Nevertheless I do like Elemis, Liz Earle, Aromatherapy Associates, and a range that a friend of mine has developed over here using organic oils called Pura.
Regarding treatments, nobody can dismiss the value of relaxation, the benefit of a facial or body massage. But the revelation of sound waves and laser for the regeneration of the skin, to me, is the next big growth area within the industry. Fads will come and go but I have had the ethos of only doing and selling what I believe in.
Beauty therapy is a great profession, hard work both physically and mentally, but so rewarding! Some of my best friends were and still are my clients. Not only has my profession given me the fortunate position to travel the world but it has also allowed me to meet some awesome people!
My personal inspirational people
Many people have inspired me - a gentleman who passed away at 92 a few years ago called Mr Donald Rees, my dear friend Sam Spilanne (AKA mrs attention to detail!), Verna Kinder (a lady who has an enormous heart and sharp business acumen) and last but not least my father, Mr Malcolm Elson, who showed me that hard work, compassion, determination, and reading a situation will get you a very long way .......my journey continues thanks to my dad!