Name and Position in Company
Retail Matters : Safia's Story
Posted by Ellandi on 31st Oct 2017
Safia Khalid – Managing Director Safia’s Barber & Safia’s Beauty Bar
Can you tell us what your role entails?
One element of my role is to ensure that my team and my business meet the standards that I expect. It is also my responsibility to look for new possible business locations and opportunities. I have had help with this part of my role from Space to Trade, who have supported me and my growing business financially and logistically.
How did you end up working in retail?
I was a single mum with two young children and had a choice. I could depend on the state to support me and my family or take a risk and start my beauty business and become an entrepreneur. I chose the latter and despite many challenges I have loved doing so every day since.
A brief journey to my current position
I began in a market selling bags on a stall. But, I always had a passion for beauty and decided to pursue it. I opened my first beauty unit in Gravesend Market and today we have 14 beauty and barber locations from Kent to Birmingham. I have learned that failing or getting it wrong on occasion is a part of the journey of becoming a success.
List of locations and businesses
• Safia’s Beauty opened February 2009 at Gravesend Indoor Market
• Safia’s Beauty Bar opened September 2009 at Ashford Designer Outlet
• Safia’s Beauty Bar March 2010 at Thamesgate Centre in Gravesend
• Safia’s Beauty Bar opened January 2012 at The Pentagon Shopping Centre in Chatham (Ellandi Scheme)
• Safia’s Beauty Bar opened in January 2013 at New Road, Gravesend
• Safia’s Beauty Bar opened in May 2014 at The Vancouver Quarter in Kings Lynn
• Safia’s Barber’s opened in October 2014 at Fareham Shopping Centre
• Safia’s Barber’s opened in May 2015 at The Pentagon in Chatham (Ellandi Scheme)
• Safia’s Beauty Bar opened in June 2015 at Westgate Shopping Centre in Stevenage
• Safia’s Beauty Bar opened in September 2016 at Dockside Shopping Centre in Chatham (Ellandi Scheme)
• Safia’s Barber opened in February 2016 at The Orchards Shopping Centre in Dartford (Ellandi Scheme)
• Safia’s Beauty Bar opened in May 2017 at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre Birmingham (Ellandi Scheme)
• Safia’s Barber opened in September 2017 at The Priory in Dartford (Ellandi Scheme)
• Safia’s Beauty Bar opened their first retail unit in The Priory in September 2017 (Ellandi Scheme)
What have been the highlights?
There have been so many highlights along the way. My first unit in Ashford was a turning point as was my first with Ellandi in Kent. I have a number of businesses with them and they have been very supportive of my growth. Also my first barber unit in Fareham was again a shift in another direction but with some fantastic support from Space to trade it’s been a wonderful success. Being nominated for and winning an Opal Award in the Mall Retail (New To Market, Less than One Year Trading) category, was a huge achievement and I couldn’t have done that without the continued success of Space to trade.
What has been most surprising?
The people. I have met so many incredible people in the industry who have been a key part of my success. Offering support and guidance Paul Clifford of Space to trade has been my mentor for almost five years and his advice has been invaluable.
Were there any challenges?
There have been a number of challenges, ranging from finding the right technicians to serve our customers to unit design. The greatest challenge is being patient, it’s too easy to become despondent when business is slow or something goes wrong (and it will) but believe in your dream, stick with it and it will happen. It did for me.
Best thing about retail people may not know
Without a doubt, it’s that no two days are the same. Its fast paced and exciting. You will meet people from all walks of life and you will develop transferable skills; particularly in communication, which will prove invaluable.
Advice to anyone thinking about a career in retail but not sure where to start:
Decide on a sector, be it General Merchandise, F&B or in my case beauty. Then perhaps take a part-time role and see for yourself but take every opportunity to learn.