A TEENAGER has taken over a beauty salon in Watlington.
Natalie Fraser, 19, is the new owner of Peppermint Lime in Shirburn Street.
She started working on reception at the salon two-and-a-half years ago while studying for a level three NVQ in beauty therapy at Abingdon College.
Six months later, she was offered a full-time job as a beauty therapist.
Now she has become the new company director following the departure of Sarah Shead, who opened the business four years ago.
Miss Fraser, from Didcot, said: “She approached me because owning a salon has always been my goal in the long run. She says she saw in me part of her and she didn’t want to just sell up — she wanted someone to carry on the name.
“It’s quite an opportunity and very exciting. It’s very surreal actually seeing everything come together, it has been like a dream.”
All four of her employees are older than her and Miss Fraser said it felt strange being their boss but added: “I had worked with them before and I know them well.”
She believes that her age will help her to devote time to the business. “It’s perfect timing because I have no ties at the moment,” she said.
“I know it is going to take a lot of work and time but I am prepared for that. I’ll be in the salon working my usual hours and doing all the admin and other work around that.”
She said she had received invaluable help from her parents, Dave and Tracy, who run their own heating and hairdressing companies respectively, and her sister, Bev, an events manager.
“I couldn’t have done it without them,” she said. “When I told them about the opportunity they said, ‘if you want to do it we are behind you’.
“They have given me tips and hints to help me and I think they have been thinking about the business as much as me.”
Her boyfriend Carl Davis is also self-employed and Miss Fraser said: “We both know what we are going through and that work is the most important thing at the moment.”
She says there will not be any major changes at the salon in the near future.
“I want to keep the foundations as they are and maybe introduce some product ranges and treatments,” said Miss Fraser. “We have got the space to expand one day and maybe open another salon elsewhere.
“The salon has got a really homely feel to it. We become friends with the clients, which is quite nice.”