Inclusive and affirming beauty spaces: Alternative Aesthetics

A while ago, I mentioned on my Instagram that I’d be doing a series on small business owners. My aim: highlighting women of colour and marginalised groups who were trying to create and carve out spaces for communities using their skillsets. This blog/site has evolved to be a helpful resource to those who share similar mindsets and I really just write about whatever I want. It’s meant to be an authentic space to chat about adulthood and find out more about things you may be in interested in.

My previous series focused on creatives who had launched new ideas during the pandemic – from self-care products to online archives and even beading practices, I thought it would be interesting to see how we’re all trying to still spark creativity during these unprecedented (ew) times.

Anyways, as said before, I am in hot gorl 30. Which really is just me realising that I am single, have my life somewhat together and want to have fun. I also just want to take care of myself and part of that, has been indulging in beauty appointments. I have a 22 things to do in 2022 list and getting lash extensions was on there. My friend recommended her friend and I am a new woman. I do not know what my life was like pre-lash extensions. It became clear that Alternative Aesthetics was the kind of place I wanted to come and get my treatments done at. One of my main goals in life is to support Black and brown businesses where I can, and share their work so that others know about it too.

I thought it would be cool to chat to business owner, Carla Peake, about their business, being a beautician of colour and why Alternative Aesthetics will always be a inclusive beauty space for all.

What propelled you to get into the beauty/aesthetics industry?

I started off working in the tattoo industry for many years. I began as front desk staff and worked my way up to branch manager. However, I realised that there wasn’t much growth for me in the industry unless I started tattooing or running my own studio.

During my time in the tattoo industry, it was suggested that I try my hand at microblading. I was apprehensive at first, because I didn’t think I’d be any good but I had nothing to lose by trying.

When I started my training, I realised how much I wanted to do this and what it meant to be in this space. I wanted to be successful, so that I could open doors for more POC beauticians. Ideally, we could begin to break the mould of how we perceive “professional” beauty therapists.

Tattooing eyebrows is daunting. Ultimately, you’re tattooing someone’s face and there’s not much wiggle room for any errors. However, I feel like it’s the gravity of what I’m doing keeps me on my toes, helps me stay grounded in the moment and the experience with my clients.

I studied psychology because I felt this innate need to help or provide help for others, right? By being in this industry, I find myself still being able to help people in a more hands on/practical way.

Carla Peake

Beauty is often seen as a frivolous exercise, but it can really transform how people feel. Any memorable moments as a small business owner?

In my experience working in this industry, there have been so many instances where the transformation has been so profound for the client. It’s often brought them to tears and changed their perspective on their appearance. The experience makes them feel so much happier in their skin and those memories are some of the best parts of my job.

There are also the moments where clients come to me after years of searching for a brow tech because they haven’t seen a tech work on anyone like them ie: skin type, ethnicity, brow type.

However, recently I’ve experienced something that I never thought would happen. I had two clients feel so grateful for what I did for them and their brows that they started their journey into the industry. 
Inspiring other POC and Queer women to enter the beauty industry is beyond anything I could have imagined.

It’s for this exact reason that I love my job. I make my studio and business accessible for everyone and try to be as diverse as possible with my clients. 

You’re vocal about being open to all and a safe space for diverse clientele. How has that impacted your brand and business for the better?

As mentioned briefly, I was always uncomfortable in other spa/beauty studio environments. I also knew that I couldn’t be the only one that felt “out of place”?

So, with that in mind I made it my mission to be a safe space for “alternative” people.

It’s truly been a defining element of my brand and for my clientele. It has brought in clients who otherwise would not come in and treated themselves.

Something as simple as an All welcome on my Instagram bio opened up a whole new demographic that I was not previously reaching. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner but here we are!
I work with people from all walks of life and I’m genuinely a better person for it.

Finally, how can people support you and get in touch to book your services?

To get in touch with me, please send a WhatsApp message to 065 040 7387. You can also visit my Instagram or website for a catalogue of my work and for more information on the treatments I offer.

Finally, there are a few ways to support your local beautician – and most options don’t require you to spend any money.

Hope this was helpful,

x A

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