Something for the weekend, Sir?

Financial Times – Michelle Davis and Sarah Duguid

My beauty salon in Bournemouth used to be next to six office blocks. I was always kept busy with women from Bupa or the Norwich Union popping out of work for half an hour to get their nails painted or their legs waxed. But when the University of Bournemouth bought all six buildings to turn into student accommodation, I lost a lot of my clients overnight. My business went into freefall.

Then one day, a guy came in and asked if we ?did? men. At that point, I would have done anyone. He asked for electrolysis, a treatment for permanent hair removal that costs ₤100 a time. I asked him if he had any friends that might also want treatments and he invited me along to a meeting.

It turned out to be a weekly meeting of transvestite men. As they drank wine and chatted, I did their hair and nails and taught them how to apply make-up. My network grew. I began to get more male clients in the salon and eventually I began to go on weekends with them. I would dress them up, give demonstrations and do beauty treatments on them. Through my new clients, in just 18 months my ₤39,000 overdraft had shrunk to ₤19,000. I was making more money than ever.