Emma Duff – Pretty Pamper

Getting the balance right between having a career and raising a family is tough. For Emma Duff, the decision to take a career break from beauty therapy to start a family left her in a demanding situation: “I took a break to have my two lovely children, but I found it very difficult to get a job doing what I enjoyed whilst juggling childcare and running the family home.”

After working in several jobs, Emma was finally made redundant which gave her the push to get back in to the industry she loved. She had recently noticed that, as a busy mother of two, it was not easy to get to a beauty salon and for a full-time worker, getting an appointment after 6pm was often a problem.

Emma realised that there was a gap in the market she could exploit, providing a mobile service that gave customers evening appointments in the comfort of their homes: “I always wanted to be my own boss. I thought now was the time to give it a go, when no-one else would give me a chance.”

Emma heard about the Outset Huntingdonshire programme, funded by Huntingdonshire District Council, through a friend and attended an Information session. She was appointed a business advisor who followed up with a series of one-to-one coaching sessions that provided her with advice and guidance on her business idea. Emma said of the sessions: “Without Outset, I would have had to do a lot more research myself and as a busy mum of two, I may not have got round to this as quickly, if it all. The support is fantastic – I know if I have any questions or concerns, I can email my advisor and she will be there to help me.”

Since then, Emma has created adverts and marketing materials, written a business plan and has now established a successful beauty therapy business, Pretty Pamper, that offers both mobile and in-house services in Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire and specialises in two week gel manicures. Speaking about her experiences as a new business starter, Emma said: “It’s great! It gives me the flexibility to work around looking after my children and earning a living in a job I love.”