The owner of one of the first businesses launched as a result of the Teesside steelworks closure says she aims to eventually run a chain of make-up studios across the country.
Bellissimi Beauty has been launched on Yarm High Street by former recruitment consultant Simi Sanghera, who lost her job as a direct result of the SSI steelworks closing at Redcar.
Just two months after being appointed by Jo Hand Recruitment, the plant’s main recruitment agency, Simi was made redundant along with more than 1,700 others at the plant.
Rather than begin a new job search, law graduate Simi, 26, has launched her own business, inspired by previous student jobs on the cosmetics counters at Selfridges and Manchester Airport.
Although initially based in a small salon above a sandwich shop, Simi already has her sights set on a beauty empire.
“Hopefully, this is the start of something big,” said Simi, pictured (above, left) with reigning Miss Tees Valley, Ailish Shaw, who helped to launch the studio.
“I’d love to have a few studios across Teesside and further afield, maybe right across the country.
“The launch day was all a bit of a blur, it was literally non-stop, but everyone was so impressed and really positive, while we’ve already started to take plenty of bookings for Christmas.”
Although she had plans for a future in recruitment before fate played a hand, Simi isn’t surprised to find herself with a business of her own.
She said: “Running a business is kind of genetic because my family are all in business, they are predominately self-employed. Even with my Law degree and a Masters, I’ve been pulled into it.
“Others in my family run shops, newsagents, off licenses and properties, but I’m the first to launch a beauty business.”
Simi, whose father, Mick, passed away when she was just 11-years-old, said: “Dad was very entrepreneurial and is my inspiration.
“I don’t think I would have had the strength to do all this if I didn’t believe he was still around me. He has given me the fire in my belly.
“I was a real daddy’s girl and people say I’m just like him. I think he’d have thrown a party to know I’d launched my own business.”
Simi paid particular tribute to her mother, Aneeta, saying: “All of my family have been unbelievable but I want to say a big ‘Thank you’ to my mum.
“In her heart of hearts, I think she really wanted me to be a lawyer but she couldn’t be prouder now because she has seen how happy this has made me.
“My mum has sacrificed a hell of a lot for me and the family over the years, and she’s helped so much in helping me be ready for the launch, from handing out leaflets to sweeping up and cleaning the studio.”
As she was not directly employed by SSI, Simi has been unable to tap into the funds available to many former steelworkers so her business is entirely self-funded.
One of Simi’s first guests on her opening day in business was the reigning Miss Tees Valley Ailish Shaw, who was given a full makeover by Simi as she prepared for her final duty in the year-long role – handing over her crown to successor Becca Ridsdale.
Friends and family mixed with customers at the launch event that featured a champagne celebration and a raffle to raise funds for the Lacky Uppal Foundation, for children who have witnessed domestic violence.
Based on the first floor at 89A Yarm High Street, above Crofter’s Kitchen, Bellissimi provides a make-up consultancy service in partnership with skincare brand Arbonne, tailoring treatments to specific skin types.
Bellissimi also hosts pamper nights and a mobile service for weddings and other events.