Many people dream of giving up their job and making the leap towards working for themselves, but never actually take that first step. For others, there has never been a doubt that they would make their own way in life.
Star Khechara always knew that 9-5 wasn’t for her, recognizing very early in life that the regularity wouldn’t suit her vibrant, creative mind. After initially training as an Aromatherapist, Star realized that her interests lay more in formulating her own skincare products for other practitioners to use.
Word quickly spread that Star was producing high quality therapeutic skincare products, and, with the help of a friend, a publishing deal was struck for Star to write her own DIY organic skincare book, The Holistic Beauty Book (2008, Green Books).
From this beginning grew a series of workshops and requests for tuition, enabling Star to turn her vocation into a real business. Star wrote course material from scratch and painstakingly built a website from which to administer it all.
However, she still lacked confidence in her abilities to turn the enterprise into a successful business. Star says, “I was in a state of really wanting to go self-employed but lacked a definite plan to move forward. I also lacked money but really felt strongly about taking any loans as I wanted to remain debt-free.”
A timely referral from the local Jobcentre to Outset Plymouth’s Business Start Up course provided Star with just the training and advice she needed, enabling her to steer her fledgling business in the right direction.
“I received plenty of support and advice from Outset,” says Star, “including valuable lessons such as reigning in my enthusiasm and starting small. The business was launched with just £10 (my domain name!) and went on to turn over £30k in the first year with very little advertising, hardly any overheads and more importantly no debts at all.”
School of Holistic Cosmetology is now a world-class international training school for organic and natural skincare formulation, with students from all over the world. Its training solutions are constantly evolving and range from short e-courses to intensive one-to-one master-classes, as well as bespoke tuition and staff training for spas, salons and small cosmetic houses. In addition, an ‘after-care’ package of mentoring helps graduates to fulfill their dreams of creating and launching their own natural skincare business.
In 2014, Star has branched in to health and beauty consultancy offering courses and one-to-one mentoring for fellow professionals. She has also acquired land so that her students can experience growing and extracting the botanicals that their skincare products are made from.
In terms of Outset, Star has nothing but praise for the support she has received. “My advisor has been monumentally supportive of me and my business, “says Star. “It’s been a lifesaver having an organization like Outset to turn to when difficulties have arisen. In fact, without this I probably would’ve got frustrated and delayed going self-employed. Outset really helped me to pull focus and do it.”