Kim Stockdale has run a successful beauty salon for almost a decade while raising two children, and has launched an online business selling beauty boxes, in response to the COVID crisis.
“I’m Kimberly Stockdale, but you can call me Kim. I’m 36 years old, and I live in Leeds with my husband and two children, just a few houses down from my business partner, Tiff Fawcett. Tiff and I have been working together for 8 years, but known each other for 36 years – yes, she is my older sister! When we were young, we didn’t spend a huge amount of time together as there is a ten-year age gap, but we are making up for that now.
Before I became an entrepreneur, I was more focused on experiencing the world, choosing to live in Majorca and work in a bar once I had left school. After four years loving the beach life, I went travelling around the world for 6-months – a delayed gap year if you like. It was what I needed to start thinking a bit more seriously about the career I might pursue, and so I trained in massage, sports injury therapy, and actually went to college to study a Beauty NVQ. While all this was happening in my life, my older sister Tiff was being very sensible, training as an accountant and raising her children. However, when she had her third child Jake, she realised she wanted to have more time with her family and more flexibility, and so she also started training in the beauty industry – this time as a nail technician.
Our business really is a family endeavour, as it was our mum who found the premises for us, and suggested we start our own salon. Long story short, Tiff left the financial industry, I committed to a career, and we established Aspire Beauty & Skincare in Menston, West Yorkshire in 2012. We had seven wonderfully busy years growing the salon, and in that time we expanded both our treatment portfolio and our clientele.
However, as we all know, 2020 brought COVID, lockdown, and not one, but two closures of beauty salons. Our eighth year in business suddenly looked very different. Being entrepreneurial in spirit, and not used to twiddling our thumbs, Tiff and I took the opportunity to launch a second business, this time online. Our fantastic clients are the ones who spurred us on, requesting facial kits to use at home – and so Blonde & Brown Co was born!
Blonde & Brown Co is a beauty box business, named for Tiff and myself (I’m the blonde one), and we personally curate each beauty box using hand-picked products from other local, independent businesses. We try to source products from artisan makers where we can, always focusing on those who have also suffered during lockdown, as well as bigger well-known brands and our own Blonde & Brown range. We currently have three different types of box available – Luxury, Pamper and Skincare, and we hope that women across the country will use them to lift their mind, body and spirits in this immensely challenging year.
It’s not been without its individual challenges for us either. When you run your own business, it can be almost impossible to turn off. I have to consciously define work and home time, otherwise the businesses could take over my every waking thought! Tiff and I are also both quite creative people, and sometimes have ideas that are not particularly easy to put into practice. There have been many times we’ve looked at each other with a sigh and said “well, we are learning!”
And, as it did for most other small business owners in the country, COVID posed an enormous challenge. We feel lucky to have found a way to pivot, though home-schooling while developing a new business, including making the candles and lip balms in our own kitchen, has not always been easy!
There are so many benefits to being a ‘mumpreneur’ though. I’ve had both kids helping me to pack boxes, been able to arrange my diary around school events, and am able to completely share the responsibilities of parenting and working with my amazing husband.
Although we were very excited to open Aspire Beauty & Skincare again on December 2nd, we are just as excited to keep going with Blonde & Brown Co. The box contents change seasonally, from winter warming treats to cool and calming summer vibes, so we are going to be kept busy continually sourcing new products! We are all in need of self-care and pampering right now, and Blonde & Brown Co want to make sure that we are here to sprinkle that joy.”
You can check out the beauty boxes here: https://www.blondeandbrown.co.uk/
Follow them on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/blondeandbrownboxes
Follow them on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/blondeandbrownboxes/
And book in for a treatment at the salon here – http://www.aspiremenston.co.uk/