Mumpreneur Profile: Liz of Unreal

Liz of UnrealI formed the Company in May 2009, having spent a year planning the launch and getting the design and formulations on the products right.

I’m 51 years old, live in Wells, Somerset with my partner John, daughter Laura (21) and son Stuart (16).

My previous working background was in HGV’s working for Lex Transfleet for 12 years.  I worked my way up from Administration Manager to Regional Contracts Maintenance Manager, responsible for over 30 engineers, and a £12 million budget.  One day I could be in Cornwall for 8.00 in the morning and Reading later that afternoon.  All this with my kids at the ages of 2 and 7 and an impending divorce.

Unreal_logo_RGBThe whole work/life balance just got too much for me and when the opportunity came up to take redundancy I jumped at it.  My employer was very generous and they retained me for consultancy work in the first year.  I had about 4 years off and enjoyed spending the time with the kids but I knew I had to get back to earning some money.  Doing what was the biggest stumbling block for me.  I knew I didn’t want to go back to working for someone else though. 

I got into this business thru having yet another disastrous airbrush fake tan.  I’m very pale, and never go brown only bright red in the sun.  My Gran died of skin cancer so sunbeds never had an attraction for me.  The problem then with airbrush tans was I came out looking very orange and patchy.  The solution just didn’t suit my skin type.  I researched on the internet and asked a lot of questions and basically taught myself about the ingredients and the chemistry that went into the products.  I found myself some equipment and taught myself – mainly from US internet sites how to spray.  I didn’t at this point even think about producing my own product I was simply trying to find a good one to use.  I found a product in Australia which seemed to suit me best and imported it myself.  I also sold it in the UK to others

My biggest challenge was not doing everything myself and also get enough volume sales to keep the business going.  I had joined 4Networking and was doing breakfast meetings ¾ times a week.  I met a lot of self employed people who were all very highly skilled.  From this pool of people I have used a Graphic designer, printer, telephone answering service, PR company, Marketing expert, accountant and freelance sales people.

I’ve mainly promoted my brand through PR, networking and online forums. 

As my children have got older they don’t need me around so much and my daughter is getting involved more and more in the business as she’s studying for a degree in Marketing and Business at Leicester Uni.  She’s helping more and more with the marketing aspects and getting us profiled by doing events at nightclubs etc., she also does a great job of organising the professional trade shows and it’s great to get a younger view point.

I’ve funded the business myself from savings and an overdraft facility. 

My advice to anyone wanting to start a business for themselves is to get networking be this online or going to breakfast meetings.  It’s hard working from home on your own and the support you get from mixing with other like minded people is untold.  You need to get out there, gain confidence and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Most people are very generous with their knowledge and are eager to help.

We offer a start up kit for anyone wishing to start their own spray tanning business.  It comes complete with manual, machine, pop up tent, enough solution to do enough spray tans to pay for the kit.  Spray tan parties are becoming the new “girls’ night in”.  They work along the same lines of any party plan business.  You just need a hostess and her friends to come along and have a spray tan.  We can offer Family Friendly Working readers a £50.00 discount off the normal starter kit price of £395.00 + VAT.

Website at www.unreal.me.uk

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