With over 10 years’ experience in the hair industry, Mother of 3 Deborah Alfa decided it was time to make the most of her expertise and create hairpieces for women who would otherwise struggle with getting the style they desired.
‘Working with ladies with a variation of hair types wanting to achieve a style they would be unable to achieve as their hair was fine or too thick, I decided to design my own pieces to accommodate these ladies for them to be able to have what they wanted on their special day.’
Deborah designs bespoke hairpieces for blushing brides who want their hair looking perfect on their special day. She also creates hair designs for all occasions and provides an array of half wigs, extensions, buns and ponytails to help create that ideal finish.
On her journey to self-employment, Deborah and her family have had to come through some testing times. She is first and foremost a mother of 3 and often finds herself working in the middle of the night as it is the only free time that she has.
‘I recognise that although I want the business to succeed I will not do it to the detriment of my children so try and do as much as I can whilst they are at school or in bed.’
However, the thing that held her back the most was her finances. With the banks unable to help, Deborah had to finance the business herself, which put a huge strain on her family’s finances and meant that the business took longer to set up. This left her feeling deflated at times and questioning the future of her business.
The mother of 3 contacted The Women’s Organisation who offered her business start-up support and a small grant to help towards her financial situation.
‘I was lucky enough to gain a grant from The Women’s Organisation of £200… I think the business advice was priceless and the on-going support is really good as I am aware that if I need advice on something I can speak to my business advisor… The support has been amazing and has helped so much… The network events (Business Club) are great as you get to meet with likeminded people and share ideas and support for each other.’
The Wirral woman began her journey 10 years ago when she first attended Wirral Metropolitan College and achieved a level 2 in hairdressing. She told us: ‘I chose hairdressing as I have always loved doing it and I had two boys and wanted a profession that I could use to work around my boys. It was a one year intensive course but I enjoyed the learning and the tutors where very supportive.’
She then went on to achieve her level three hairdressing and during this time also attended some of Wirral Met’s extra evening classes in creative colouring, creative cutting and hair up workshops to help her progress in the industry.
With the desire to further extend her knowledge, Deborah started a certificate in education in hairdressing 4 years ago, also at Wirral Met. She had a fabulous mentor that offered great support and guidance.
‘The work load was hard, I was studying till early hours of the morning just to get assignments completed. I qualified in my a1 assessors so I was able to assess the learners complete their units. During my time teacher training and getting to know some of the girls I realised I wanted to try and do more for some of these learners.’
This is when Deborah decided to do a life coaching diploma and attend high schools, speaking with young girls and getting them focused on what they want to do, as opposed to what others want them to do.
‘I was so inspired by this and focused on achieving my dream of sharing my knowledge to inspire and motivate stylists, to grow within the industry confidently, that I wrote my program. Combining my expertise of hair design, teaching and training with that of life coaching, I have created an all-round innovative salon training day.’
The workshop coaches stylists through their fears and limits, using life coaching skills to aid in overcoming all of those and break each design down into easy manageable steps. By encouraging, inspiring and motivating, the workshop develops confidence and leaves stylists assured in creating stunning hair designs.
Deborah’s advice to anyone considering starting up a business is: ‘Do thorough background research, secure a really good business plan… be flexible and patient… allow yourself time to breathe and get as much financial backing in the beginning as you can… It doesn’t happen overnight, people work at different paces and there are some great people in the world you just need to talk to them.’
If you’re planning for your special day, or have an important occasion coming up and would like a high quality hair piece to complete your look, visit www.deborahalfa.co.ukor find Deborah Alfa on Facebook / Twitter @DebsAlfa
And if like Deborah you are a woman who would like to turn something you enjoy into a business, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 / firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about the free services we can offer.
By Beckie Kinsella