Life-changing surgery gave Washington woman the confidence boost to start up in business - serving the likes of Rod Stewart and Jordan Pickford

From not wanting to leave the house to working with Rod Stewart, a businesswoman has told how life-changing surgery put her on an amazing new career path.

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 12:09 pm
Zig Zags Alterations owner Sharon Johnstone
Zig Zags Alterations owner Sharon Johnstone

Sharon Johnston, 55, was born with a cleft lip and palate, meaning upper face never developed properly.

As a result she was subject to bullying, which had a big knock on her confidence, and she says severely affected her for 41 years of her life.

The defect left Sharon with a distorted nose, something she was told by surgeons could never be repaired.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Shop owner Sharon has plenty of work

Then, in 2005, she found a doctor who was willing and able to help, and she underwent to surgeries which she says changed her life.

“Before my surgery I wasn’t confident and didn’t go places much on my own. People would say things about my nose. Some people laughed and made fun of me. Some called me names. Some would stare,” she said.

“The surgery made a massive difference to my confidence. It wasn’t until I saw myself before and after that it really changed.”

The results gave Sharon an instant confidence boost, which saw her become a successful businesswoman.

Measuring up: Sharon hard at work

“I literally came home that day and said I’m going self employed and registered the same week,” she said.

Sharon registered her business, Zig Zags Alterations, and with her new-found confidence saw the start up go from strength to strength.

After starting from her conservatory in 2006, Sharon has since moved to a 2,600sq ft premises in Washington, tripling her outgoings and carrying out work for the likes of England and former Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford, singer Rod Stewart, and the late American producer and television personality David Gest.

She said: “I used to take in Jordan Pickford’s football tops. And when he’s home he always comes in with his alterations.

“I’ve recently been told we are the biggest alteration shop in Britain, as in the amount of items we do on the same premises.

“I’m coming into my 14th year. I work 6 days per week and I’m hoping to create more jobs and teach people my skills.”