Beautician made redundant from Sunderland's Debenhams sets up shop at home - and customers are loving the experience
A beautician made redundant when Debenhams folded says she’s delighted by the support for her new home venture.
Elle Applegarth was among the thousands of staff across the country to lose their jobs when the chain collapsed at the end of last year. While the Debenhams website was bought by Boohoo in a £55 million rescue deal, its 118 stores were all closed ending a 242-year history of trading.
As one of the largest units in the Bridges it was a huge blow to the city centre, as well as its staff, many of whom had worked there for years.
Elle used to do make-up and waxing at the popular Benefit counter and, after being on furlough due to the pandemic, was told in December she was being made redundant.
It was a crushing blow, but she decided to utilise her skills to open an at home salon where’s she been able to continue to treat her old Debenhams clients while also attracting a new client base.
From her apartment at Royal Courts off Durham Road, she offers make up, facials, gel nails, waxing, lashes, brows and spray tans.
She’s actually been able to broaden the treatments offered at Debenhams and says people are enjoying the more relaxed environment of home treatments.
"Some people still don’t want to be in busy salons, so they really like being able to come here,” she explained.
Speaking about being one of the 12,000 who lost their jobs when the national chain closed, she said: “I was crying a lot when it happened, especially as I didn’t get to say goodbye to people.
"It was scary at first but being at home has really worked, people like that more one-on-one experience. There’s visitor parking at the apartment block too, so they don’t need to worry about city centre parking.
"There are differences and we do a lot more cleansing of make ups and equipment now for sanitisation, which we didn’t have to do before the pandemic. I’ve been doing lots of wedding and prom make-ups recently and it’s been lovely to be back treating people again. I love being able to do their make up for something special.”
To book a treatment with Elle you can contact her through Instagram @elleapplegarthbeauty