From the Emerald Isle, to the Electric City, Niamh Bradley is bringing those lush Irish colours to downtown Peterborough.
Niamh’s nails and esthetics business, Emerald Beauty, has recently moved to a bigger location and added four new staff. Quite a feat for an Irish lass who had just moved to Peterborough & the Kawarthas – not knowing a soul – four and a half years earlier.
The esteemed esthetician from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland said they’ve been incredibly busy since moving to 139 George St. North and opening August 1st.
“I couldn’t believe the first week. We had the phone ringing off the hook,” Niamh explained from her emerald green couch at the front of her bustling business, “A lot of people have walked in asking for appointments and we’re so busy we can’t accommodate that right now. We usually book two to three weeks in advance. It’s been unbelievable.”
While it may seem like this is an overnight success story, it’s more like steady stone wall that’s been built over time.
Niamh and her fiancé Eamonn, now live out in Keene, in the township of Otonabee-South Monaghan, with their one-year-old rottweiler, Moose. But it was almost five years ago when Eamonn landed a job at McCloskey International Ltd. The couple had never been to Peterborough or even Canada for that matter. Eamonn securing a job in Peterborough & the Kawarthas was enough for them to finally take the plunge.
“He just always had it in him that he wanted to go to Canada and I was always up for living somewhere else,” she recalled. “We call this our home now. But it’s definitely scary coming from another country to somewhere you’ve never been before. That’s a big thing.”
She still remembers her first impressions of Peterborough & the Kawarthas.
“Having city on one side and country on the other. It’s not too ‘city’ but you’re also not in the middle of nowhere. That really helped me,” she explained.
Niamh had rented a small space in Ireland above a hairdresser, doing esthetics and nails on her own before the big move.
When they made the move across the Atlantic, Niamh started working for a few other salons and estheticians in Peterborough. However, she always had it in her mind to start her own thing.
It was in 2017 when Niamh heard about the Starter Company Plus program offered by the Business Advisory Centre, a division of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. She applied, and soon after was accepted into the program. She said the program was extremely helpful bringing her up to speed on running a business in Canada.
“Everything I learned there really helped me,” Niamh said. “I found out about all the rules and regulations that Canada has.”
Niamh also highlighted how important it was for her to work alongside the Business Advisory Centre’s Madeleine Hurrell, to write the first business plan for Emerald Beauty.
“I actually never had a business plan and that course that I did with PKED really opened my eyes to understand what I need to do,” she said. “Also, all the people they brought in to talk every Monday was an experience and I learned something new all the time. It really helped.”
After finishing the Starter Company Plus program, Niamh opened a cozy storefront in the Charlotte Mews, where she hired her first employee Emily. They were there for a year and a half and established a large clientele in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.
A growing demand and lack of space forced Niamh to move to her current location on George. She also had to hire two nail technicians Nikole and Abbey, and two lash technicians, Meagan and Alesha.
And they’ve been loving every minute so far.
“Being down here on George St. with Musicfest going on, that pulls a lot of people down here,” Niamh raved. “People will park around here and notice there’s a new store. Everybody’s been so welcoming, from Smitty’s and The Co-operators Insurance.”
And the support she’s received in this community to start her dream business has been so warm.
“There’s more opportunity here. More people believe in you to push ahead and do your own thing,” she said smiling. “Just the support in Peterborough is amazing. People support people here and I just love it. I think it’s a good place to grow and work. It’s one big family.”
A Bigger Purpose
While you’d expect Niamh would be enveloped in just the day-to-day operations of Emerald Beauty, she’s already thinking bigger picture.
She wants to provide her team with the opportunities her past employers provided her. She wants to pay it forward, in essence.
Niamh truly envisions herself building out some sort of educational piece to equip other aspiring estheticians in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, a few years down the line.
“I want all the girls to grow and have their own clientele, as much as I have my clientele,” she explained. “I also want to start offering educational programs to be able to teach people in what we do and love. I’ve had so many clients come in and say they want to make a career change and do esthetics.”
Seeing Niamh smile and look on towards her team, all heads down, hard at work with clients, you know she’s serious. This esthetic entrepreneur from Ireland wants to give back to the city that gave so much to her.
“I want to offer these girls my experiences and training that I’ve had in the past. That’s where I see it in the next five years.”
Emerald Beauty is open Tuesday 9am–5pm. Wednesday 9am–7pm, Thursday 9am–7pm, Friday 9am–4pm, Saturday 9am-3pm. They are closed Sundays and Mondays.
Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/Emeraldbeautyptbo/
or on Instagram @emerald_beautyptbo.