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Business & Economy

Young entrepreneur turns her hobby into booming business

A young entrepreneur who started her beauty business in her mum’s spare bedroom has proven such a success she’s not only opened her own salon but also her own training academy.

Award-winning lash artist Ellie Farrell from Washington learned her trade as a hobby while working in the motor industry – getting started by treating family and friends to eyelash extensions.

Her side-line quickly became her passion, with Ellie winning a coveted award in the Professional Beauty North Championships and launching her own mobile business. She soon realised she could afford to leave her job to focus on her business fulltime, setting up a treatment room at her mum’s home and running training courses at hired venues.

Now, the 23-year-old has ticked off another business goal – securing her own premises at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) in Sunderland where she has launched Elle Lash Specialist and Training Academy.

Her courses are attracting students from across the North, she continues to offer beauty treatments to a growing customer base, and now acts as a brand ambassador for the best-selling lash brand in the UK after being selected as one of only 10 therapists in the country to be awarded the position.

Ellie said: “My ambition is to raise standards in the industry because unfortunately there are some people out there who get started after a quick half-day course. Lash treatments take a lot of skill, precision and patience and it’s very important technicians are properly trained before they work near people’s eyes.

“It’s really satisfying to know that I’m contributing to helping a whole new generation of lash artists to start out with the best possible education.

“I want to grow this into a bustling salon with a range of self-employed lash artists, as well as the academy where I aim to host workshops and industry events.”

Ellie developed her own course content and sought industry accreditation before launching her new business base. Her courses are proving popular with beauty therapists who want to learn a new skill as well as newcomers to the industry who are looking for a change in career or to develop a part-time business to supplement their main job.

With the help of the property services team at the BIC, Ellie has customised her ground floor unit at the Wearfield business park into an Instagram-worthy salon and education centre, complete with a view of the River Wear and Northern Spire Bridge.

Ellie said: “I still can’t quite believe this is all mine. I’ve worked really hard over the past five years to get to this point and it’s a brilliant feeling to look around and see what I’ve achieved.

“The BIC have played a big part in making this happen and I couldn’t be happier with the location and the support I’ve had. I’d looked at various other places around the city but I knew as soon as I walked in here and felt the friendly community vibe that this was the place I wanted to be.

“The staff, space and facilities are spot-on and it’s very reassuring to know that there is a whole team to help with business support when I need it.”

Donna Surtees, Centre Manager at the BIC, said: “It’s great to welcome Ellie to the BIC’s thriving community and to further increase the diversity of companies on our busy business park.

“The BIC’s sole purpose is to help to support and grow businesses just like Ellie’s and we do everything we can to help make moving into your own premises as easy as possible. We’re looking forward to working with Ellie as she develops her training academy and continues to achieve her goals.”