Susan’s Story

Susan Routledge consultantI was brought up in a household surrounded by business, so I guess it’s no surprise I’ve ended up loving business as much as I do. My home town is the small, ex steel industry town of Consett in Durham, and although I have travelled extensively, I have always returned to my roots.

My parents owned businesses in both retail fashion and property, but I always knew from a very early age that I wanted to work in the beauty industry. When I was growing up I don’t think anyone ever escaped from visiting my home without one of my infamous make-overs – usually tangled back-combed hair and as much bright make-up as I could inflict on my models (victims!!), willing or not!

I left school at 16 and immediately went on to study hair and beauty therapy on a four year course whilst working in a small local beauty salon. Back then you couldn’t train in hair and beauty without working in a salon as well. The ratio of hair salons to beauty salons was about fifty hair salons to every one beauty salon.

During my final year I was lucky enough to be chosen to go and work at Ragdale Hall Hydro. At this time Ragdale was classed as a health farm. Working at Ragdale really opened my eyes, and I came away knowing that that one day I wanted to have my own salon. And not just any salon, I wanted to offer all of the top fabulous treatments I had seen and been trained in at Ragdale.

When I was ready to put this dream into action the banks were reluctant to back me as my business plan involved introducing ‘big town’ luxury treatments to my small hometown of Consett. So my first business was in hairdressing. I built up a really great business, but after working in it for some time I unfortunately developed contact dermatitis. As I had no real business training I didn’t realise the worth of the business and I naïvely gave it away.

After working in a couple of other jobs the lure of the beauty sector was irresistible and I started a mobile salon business, travelling to clients’ homes for the first year. I still held on to my original dream I had harbored since my time in Ragdale Hall, and after a year of mobile therapy I felt I was ready to go for it. I just needed backing.

Finishing Touch Clinic Consett

Finishing Touch Clinic 1988

I managed to secure a loan from Shell Oil through Project North East and the rest is history. Finishing Touch Health & Beauty Clinic is now, over 25 years later, still based in Consett and is the largest Beauty Salon in the north of England, with numerous National Awards under its belt.

I’ve also developed a Medical Aesthetic Business and offered advanced skincare training from another company along with a portfolio of commercial and residential properties and all from my home town which is 14 miles from the nearest city.

I loved my businesses so much, and I had such a great lifestyle, which meant that settling down and marriage never seemed to be a priority. I didn’t buy a home until I was 30, and previous to that I had ploughed any profits back into my business ventures. At the age of 33 I met my wonderful husband Stephen, who is so supportive and tolerant of the stream of business ideas constantly running around my head.

Stephen and I love travelling, and we have visited some amazing places worldwide. I do always manage to have a few business books tucked away in my suitcase 😉

To concentrate on trying for a family I changed gear from working IN my businesses to working ON my businesses. After an unsuccessful roller coaster ride trying different avenues to have our family, we sadly had to give up trying, and settled instead for our 2 cats, Millie & Diesel.

One good thing did come out of this unfortunate time – I discovered that my businesses ran better with me working on them rather than working in them. I now love the life we have made for ourselves and I have the most amazing network of entrepreneurs I can call my friends. I have had the opportunity to learn the most effective business strategies from the world’s best business minds.

I just love what I do, and I love helping other business owners get the lifestyle they deserve from their businesses, and to be confident to take the right steps.

My dad was a very hard working man. All the time I was growing up I witnessed him working ridiculous hours, often away from his family. His goal was to work this hard so he could retire early at the age of 55. This was when he was going to enjoy the benefits of his years of sacrifice, those years of spending irreplaceable time away from his family. My father died suddenly at the age of 50. I was 20 years old at the time.

A business really needs to be something you control. It should not be running your life, as life can be far too short.

You can contact Susan Routledge via the contact form here>>



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