An Interview with Donna Hipkiss
Today I interviewed Donna Hipkiss of “Turn Back Time” Anti-aging & Inch Loss. It was fascinating to get an insight into her business, services and what drives her. I’d got my list of questions at the ready but what I found was I didn’t need them as the conversation flowed so easily and Donna naturally answered my questions in conversation.
It’s clear that Donna is passionate about her business and that all her client’s get a personal service from her. She has a varied background starting off working at a bank for 10 years of her career. When I asked her what motivated her to leave she told me she loved her job but she would listen to her older colleagues moaning each day about the same old thing like how soon they had until retirement and she thought there had to be more than that. Giving up a career she’d had since 16 was a brave step but to Donna it felt right. She went on to explain her next job was at Jaguar within their marketing department, but she dropped money to take the position and found she couldn’t survive on that income. Her first self-employed role was in promotions. It’s clear Donna doesn’t shy away from hard work and she quickly went from having no work to being full. She recognises that this was mainly down to word of mouth referrals. Her business grew and herself and business partner at the time Alison soon had a promotion agency that was employing a team of 20. Although Donna loved being self-employed and having her own business soon the stress of having other people work for you started to play havoc with her work/life balance. Donna then worked with a property company to grow their networking meetings and successfully took them from 6 meetings to 36 meetings around the UK. The job was stressful and repetitive and although very good at it didn’t enjoy it in the end as much as she’d hoped.
It was in 2012 Donna was asked to be a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding. Imagine Donna’s disappointment when she tried her dress on 6 weeks before the wedding and she couldn’t fit into her dress. She needed to lose a few inches! Although she was determined to do it those around her were unsure and ordered her a bigger dress! It was at that time she came across an advert for non-surgical liposuction. She booked some sessions and she found by attending the sessions she became interested in this machine and would go home and do some research on it. She had amazing results in the 6 weeks leading up to the wedding. The bigger dress brought for her had been a size 16 but this had to be taken in to a size 14. It was on the day of the wedding someone encouraged her to try on the original size 12 dress, it was then she’d realised that in 6 weeks with the aid of the non-surgical lipo machine, healthy diet, exercise and focus she’d dropped over a dress size!
Of course this fascinated Donna even more especially with her own wedding coming up. What I got from my conversation with Donna was that the research and training was key to her and she spent a long time researching these machines and techniques before going into business. She decided on a Lynton machine (top UK manufacturers of equipment for the skin and supply to the NHS framework) and was trained by specialist doctors in how to use them. She explained anyone can buy a machine and operate but Donna wanted to go the extra mile and “do things properly” so she did an NVQ level 3 in Beauty at the Debbie Foster School of Beauty, who taught her on a one to one basis.
It’s quite clear thanks to Donnas drive and motivation to research, learn and do things properly that she is an expert in her field. I could have listened to her for hours and in-fact have so much interesting content for this blog it’s hard to know what to include and what to leave out!
Donna’s business is located in an old post office house that she’s converted into a salon, just 2 minutes from Merry Hill centre and she operates with two machines now. She makes it clear that these are not just beauty machines but come from medical backgrounds and gives me the relevant studies and information to back up what she’s telling me. She really has amazed me at the knowledge she possesses in this field. As she talks about her business, her wedding and how she got started she makes it clear she has a supportive husband and feels very lucky to have that, noting that not every woman who wants to run a business gets support from their nearest and dearest. She speaks highly of his support of her and her business and plans for the future, even when times were tough and they were financially insecure.
I think this is what made me smile to myself when she answered my next question “What are your plans for the future?” When I ask people that question it’s often the start of big goals and dreams, expansions, franchises etc. But that wasn’t Donna’s answer, she was very humble and whilst still having dreams and goals to achieve, they were along the lines of making sure her husband knows that he she is grateful to him and his support, and to create more time with him and have that work/life balance to share time with him. She wants to stay busy with regular clients but makes it clear customer service is important to her and doesn’t want to create a “conveyor belt” of customers, she always wants to offer a personal service. In the long-term she has started several new projects and that fits hand in hand with what she does now and is determined to use all these to build a new local community for helping people with fitness, nutrition and looking younger for longer.