Summer Pettengale received a £2,000 SWEF grant to help her open a beauty studio and training academy in Devizes. She explains how the grant gave her confidence and the extra support she needed.

“I worked at Tesco and moved into recruitment before following my dream of working in the beauty industry. Once I had qualified I took on clients in my kitchen before renting a chair at a salon. But I was always planning my own salon. I found a premises in Devizes and put all my savings into getting it ready. I had given birth to Leo a few months before opening and being on maternity leave allowed me to plan it.

“I heard about SWEF from one of the girls I work with and I’m so glad I applied. The grant helped me buy a lot of gel polishes because nails was my focus at first and that stock was my base, my start. I also used the grant to take some extra courses so that I would be able to teach it at some point. Not only has the grant helped me, it means I can also help others. It was really helpful because the courses meant I branched out and did that extra research that I might not have been able to afford otherwise.

“The whole application process was really straightforward. I had already thought a lot about my business but I had a Teams meeting with Nick and Giles from SWEF to talk through my plan. They wanted to know how I was going to fund the salon, what I would do if I didn’t get the grant and how the grant would benefit me. They also wanted to know more about me and the business and where I see myself going.

“I was so pleased when I was told my application was successful. I was invited on to a Teams call with other recipients, which was really helpful too and I’d recommend it. You learn about other businesses locally and share what has been a struggle, things like which booking app to use or which accounting software. It’s all so useful and you do feel supported.

“I called my salon Flourish because that’s what I want people to do. I have told the girls I work with I will completely understand if they ever want to open their own salon. I want to work with ambitious people. The salon is doing really well and I’m enjoying it, I am so grateful to have had this help at the start. I’m already thinking about where I am going with the business and where my next salon will be.”

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