Irish Women in Business: Michele Burke of Michele Burke Nails At 53 Main Street Dundrum
For the latest in our series of features focusing on Irish Women in Business, we’re talking to Michele Burke who recently opened a salon on Main Street, Dundrum.
Michele tells us all about how she got involved with nails and beauty, what it takes to start up a business and her hopes for the future.
How did you get interested in this area?
My passion for nails began twelve years ago with a course in acrylic enhancements at Creative Academy. I graduated from Senior College Dun Laoghaire with two diplomas; one in beauty therapy and one in spa therapy.
In 2011, I became a CND Shellac Education Ambassador and continued to study, earning a place as an educator for Hand and Nail Harmony in 2013 and most recently with Exposed spray tan in 2014. I represent these brands educating in Wicklow, Wexford and Carlow on behalf of Creative Academy – so I’ve come full circle.
Why did you decide to go into business?
I had been self-employed since 2009, renting space in salons. That was never enough for me - I always wanted my own premises, my own door. I wanted a fun, creative space my clients would love to visit and feel pampered after every appointment.
Did you ever expect the business to be so successful?
Yes! Once you start your own business there's no going back. You have to move forward and keep trying to grow bigger and better.
What were your goals for the business when you started out?
My goals have changed over time - they have to. As an entrepreneur you can see the potential growth in everything you do and once you hit one target you always have another to achieve.
How did you get to this point?
By believing in myself, putting myself out there and working hard. Also having positive people around me really helps.
How have you found building up a business from scratch?
It's been a slow and steady process but I'm grateful for that - it makes me appreciate where I am even more. I think I have a good work/life balance. You are never completely switched off when it comes to your own business but I have great support network in my family, friends and boyfriend. I wouldn't be where I am without them.
Can you take us through a typical day in your life?
There are some things that are the same every day; booking appointments, keeping our salon sparkling, managing our social media channels and of course making our clients even more fabulous with nails and tan! Those aside, there are lots of different things every day and that’s down to our clients.
We share laughs, tears and personal chats. We are a part of their lives and them ours. We are also lucky enough to have some top Irish celebrities visit us regularly which adds extra excitement – beautifying them for events or working with them on photo-shoots.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Probably the account management side of running the business. Being predominantly creative means balancing the books isn't the most inspiring of monthly tasks, but definitely one of the most important!
What makes your business unique?
What makes us unique is our sense of business community. At 53 Main Street you find a trio of beauty experts under one roof working harmoniously - a one stop shop. Alongside Michele Burke Nails I have one of Ireland’s top make-up artists Michelle Montgomery and Kim Ryan the waxing genius of WaxWorx Dundrum.
What is the best thing about what you do?
Working in this industry means you have the opportunity to make women look good and more importantly feel good about themselves.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
To myself: "You're not a quitter, you can do it!"
What advice would you give people hoping to start their own business?
Always go with your gut instinct - if it feels right it’s for a reason. I also think surrounding yourself with successful positive women is paramount in this industry; women have the opportunity to empower each other - and that’s pretty special!
Do you find it challenging to be a woman in business?
No. I believe I'm in business because I'm a woman. I work in a predominantly female industry and I'm surrounded by strong, independent, successful women on a daily basis. It's inspiring.
What comes next for you?
Who knows? Having my own salon and team has been such an incredible achievement I can only hope to grow both!