Many people don’t know which career path they want to take when they leave school, but entrepreneurial flair came at an early age for one young north-east woman.
At the age of just 14, Lucy Tuck had a light-bulb moment and decided that one day she would own her own business and name it Definition.
Now, aged 25, she has done just that and is the proud owner of Definition Skin Laser Clinic, located in Aberdeen’s west end.
The young businesswoman built up her client base from scratch and has overcome many hurdles, including location challenges, in one instance changing premises with only 12 hours notice, to make her business a success.
The young businesswoman’s dream of having her own business was in fact muddied in the water early on, when she was in her final six months of her college degree.
Lucy was dealt a blow when she was diagnosed with acute Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which causes numbness and pain in hands, and was forced to undergo surgery to have both hands decompressed.
Lucy said: “I had no use of my hands for two weeks after the operation and required full time care. There was a danger that I wasn’t going to be able to complete my studies.
“But I went back to college just two and a half weeks after my operation and put my head down and just persevered, despite being uncomfortable and managed to gain my qualifications.”
After finishing college Lucy went on to work in an established Spa just outside Aberdeen, but was forced to leave after her hands were unable to cope with the long days of massaging.
Determined not to give up on her love for the industry, Lucy then secured a role in an independent salon, where she gained invaluable experience for the next two and a half years.
But instead of resting on her laurels, Lucy was determined to follow-through the vision of becoming a business owner.
She took the brave step of leaving what she loved and moved into a sales and marketing role. However, just a few months later, the company ceased trading.
Despite Lucy having only a total of £3,000 in the bank, no client base and no premises, she decided to take a gamble on her future and follow her life-long ambition.
In November 2009, Definition opened its doors for business, operating from a small treatment room within a salon in Aberdeen.
However, Lucy was faced with yet another bump in the road just one month later when she was informed that she could no longer have the use of the treatment room she leased and was handed 12 hours notice.
“It was a very difficult situation to be in and at that point it crossed my mind to just close the business and just seek alternative employment.
“But instead I sought a solution. I contacted my adviser at Business Gateway and a room at Admiral Court, which was an office development, was suggested to me. I took the lease for 12 months and within 48 hours, I was ready for business again.”
Lucy upped her game plan, and devised a marketing strategy to raise her brand awareness, attending network events and worked hard to gain client loyalty.
It paid off, because a year later, Lucy had a steady client base and could move to a premier location within the city.
Overheads doubled and Lucy couldn’t afford tradesmen to transform the premises, so after hours were spent painting, decorating and building flat-pack furniture.
Lucy also rented out the second room on a daily basis as way of increasing her overall revenue.
But her hard work started to pay off and in 2011 she applied and won Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust Young Entrepreneur Award, and was a finalist for the Scottish national awards.
Her business went from strength to strength and in 2013, Lucy took another leap of faith and employed her first full time member of staff.
She said: “It was daunting as it demanded that I increase my clientele to ensure that time was filled up. However, with persistence the move paid off, and its turned out to be one of the best things I ever did.”
Business was ticking along nicely for Lucy until in November 2014 she was diagnosed with a Teratoma Tumour on her ovary and required immediate surgery.
In only three weeks, Lucy advertised, interviewed and appointed a second full-time member of staff to cover her while she had an operation and while in recovery, devised another marketing plan to help maintain her new employee, recognising that it was an opportunity to grow her business overall.
Lucy said: “Setting up a business in my 20s has had its ups and downs. When my friends were going out and socialising, I was working long hours.
“It is now nearly six years since I first opened and after years of having no holidays and countless sleepless nights, I have finally learned how to have a work-life balance. Running a business is definitely a challenging task, but it has made me a strong business woman and I am determined to grow my business in the future.”
Lucy’s sheer determination to make her business work is beginning to pay dividends.
She was recently crowned the winner in The ‘Spirit of Enterprise’ category in the Elevator Awards 2015, which are organised by Elevator, along with headline sponsors RBS – Ahead For Business.
Lucy said: “I’m really proud to have won the Spirit of Enterprise category in the Elevator Awards. I’ve worked incredibly hard to build up my business, its brand and its reputation and winning has helped to affirm that taking a gamble to becoming a business owner was the right move.”