The Women’s Journal not only takes pride in highlighting the achievements of women in business, but we also believe in fostering a community where aspiring female entrepreneurs can find mentorship, resources, and inspiration to take bold steps forward in their professional journeys, ultimately empowering them to establish their own enterprises and break any existing glass ceilings. Global leader in Permanent Makeup and Aesthetics, Tracie Giles, joins our Female Founders’ Club to talk about her career and business.
What is your business and what led you to start it?
“In Knightsbridge, London, I run one of the world’s leading Permanent Makeup and Aesthetics clinics. I started as a Beauty Therapist and gained experience in my parent’s beauty clinic in North London, but I wanted to see more tangible results in beauty at that time, and Aesthetic Medicine didn’t exist yet. My search for better cosmetic results led me to attend a beauty exhibition at Olympia where I saw Permanent Makeup demonstrated by a middle eastern company. The combination of skill and artistry attracted me immediately, and I began my quest to master tattooed makeup. With the only Permanent Makeup training provider at the time, I obtained a bank loan and trained in London. There was a very primitive level of education and techniques, and I couldn’t put these knowledge into practice on anyone, so I took out yet another loan and went to America to gain more training. With the antiquated equipment at the time, Permanent Makeup was the most difficult skill to acquire. I wanted to be better and better, but it was the hardest skill to acquire. As a result of my relentless efforts at developing my skill, I established my own clinic, developed my own signature techniques, and sourced and developed the best possible equipment. Tracie Giles London was born, and the rest is history.”
What do you love about your business?
“Permanent Makeup is about more than just a physical change in someone’s appearance. The right treatment when performed to an exceptional standard can totally transform your life – and what I truly love about my business is making a real positive difference to the lives of my clients. That, and nurturing the incredible talented people that work as part of our team at Tracie Giles London.”
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
“Professionally, there are many inspirational people in my industry, and I am constantly searching for ways to learn, discover and be inspired by others. A single person cannot inspire everything in your life, so I draw inspiration from a variety of people, which I believe has led me to both my professional and personal growth.”
What are three skills that you think every woman should develop when starting out?
“Self-belief, a genuine interest and passion for what you are trying to achieve, and the readiness to put in a lot of hard work and dedication.”
What has been a mistake in your career that you’ve learnt from?
“Trying to do too much at the same time and not delegating! It’s impossible to do everything, and this will never lead to success! Delegating areas of my business that don’t come naturally to me and trusting others with the necessary experience and skillsets is important to business success. As a result, my business has flourished and I have been able to focus on the areas in which I am stronger.”
What motivates you on a daily basis?
“Taking life moment by moment. I used to be driven by my past and worry constantly about the future when I was younger. When I turned 50, I naturally began to live in the present – something I aspired to before but couldn’t. I now draw motivation from this way of thinking and living on a daily basis because it has transformed my life. Professionally, I believe it is my ability to make people happy with the aesthetic outcomes my team and I can deliver that makes me happy and drives my desire to strive for perfection.”
How have you had to adapt as a woman in business?
“I have fought publicly for many years for the beauty industry to be taken seriously, for both its economic and social benefits to our society, something that perhaps isn’t so important for industries that aren’t so heavily female-led or have a predominantly female clientele. In spite of this, I have always been supported within the industry and have never felt the need to adapt specifically as a woman in business, as the beauty industry is dominated by women to this day. There is no glass ceiling in our industry as there is in some more male-dominated industries, and we all work together and collaborate. One of the things I love about working in beauty is that the industry is becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive.”
What struggles have you had to overcome as a woman?
“Having a family and still trying to grow and run a successful company is an exhausting, incredible feat for any woman. The most exhausting and challenging part of being a mother, wife, daughter, friend, and professional is being the best we can be. You can have it all, but there is a price to pay. My most difficult challenge was finding balance in my personal and professional lives when one area might be struggling, and I’m sure it’s the same for many women.”
How do you manage work / life balance?
“Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. You may not be able to prioritise your own wants and needs when you run your own business, but you may be able to make time for what makes you happy at other times. In my experience as a businesswoman, having balance is a dynamic situation that requires constant work. There are times when I have time, and there are times when I understand that I can’t. Whenever I have time to devote to my personal life, I try to fill it with things that make me feel good and enhance my life – I try to go on healthy holidays whenever possible, and I take regular pilates and barre classes to maintain my fitness. I am not a night owl, so not getting enough sleep is detrimental to my professional performance as well.”
What would your advice be for other women in business?
“Stay flexible in your thinking, stop limiting your self, plan what you want to accomplish, and stop self-limiting beliefs. Develop resilience and have at least one good person you can rely on. You won’t be able to be the best at what you do if you don’t expect everything to go perfectly. Keep focused and be aware that nothing happens overnight – tenacity, dedication, resilience, self-belief, hard work, and forward-thinking focus are all key.”
What do you think still needs to be changed or done to help more women get into business?
“For more women to enter (or return to!) the business world, affordable, accessible childcare and shared parenting are key. It is possible for women who are interested in business and have a realistic concept with the experience to initiate it to go into business for themselves. However, some people require management, and we all have different personality types. Without a steady salary and working pretty much all the time, starting a business alone is a big risk. People should think about whether they are comfortable taking the risk of possibly making or losing money, and whether they are willing to cope with the mental and financial strain of not having a regular guaranteed salary. The economy is struggling today, but tough times never last – strong people in business can and do succeed.”
What would your three tips for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
- Make sure you know what you want
- Learn the rules
- Get a better understanding of how to use the media effectively
What is your favourite motivational quote?
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”– Estée Lauder
Where can women find out more about your business and connect with you?
“I share my journey on my website – www.traciegiles.co.uk – and social media is always a great way to connect!”