Going for Gold! County Antrim beauty therapist in running for top UK Award
As one of six finalists, County Antrim beauty therapist Nikki McKeown is delighted to be the only professional from Northern Ireland to be in the running for a top UK-wide accolade of Therapist of the Year.
The Ballymena-based therapist has been working in the industry for ten years, garnering a wide range of experience and a loyal clientele who regularly return to Nikki McKeown Beauty & Massage, based in Pennybridge in the town, and at Nikki’s home salon in Broughshane.
Nikki specialises in various massage and says she always has enjoyed such a passion for it.
“Seeing my clients leaving the salons completely relaxed, compared to how stressed they may have been prior to their treatments, is such a joy and what truly makes my job so rewarding. I love my clients dearly and always strive to do my best for them,” commented Nikki.
The local woman studied at the London Steiner Beauty Academy after successfully completing her Level 3 Beauty Therapy qualification with Northern Regional College (NRC) in Ballymena.
“At Steiner I trained even further in massage therapy, specifically in Elemis face & body massage,” Nikki said. “The academy was intense and extremely strict but that's partly what helped all of us to be what we are today. From there, I was sent straight onto the cruise ships to work in the onboard spas. What an experience too!”
It is Nikki’s passion for the profession, and her commitment to her clients, that has seen the business continue to grow, while also establishing herself as a respected therapist, and a much appreciated source of relief from many of her clients. Although days can be intense and busy, Nikki says she thrives in it and absolutely loves her job.
“Massage takes up a lot of my salon days, from Relaxing Back/Neck/Shoulder Massage, Luxe Full Body Massage, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology and of course the very popular Sports Massage. I also do a lot of Lash Lift Lashes, Eye Packs, Spray Tans and Waxing.”
Nikki continued: “During the second and third lockdowns over the last year, I was privileged to be allowed to continue to treat some of my clients who were in pain. Such clients included many of my NHS clients and staff who were in desperate need of their continued treatment, as well as other clients working on the frontline.
“This was so vital for me to be allowed to continue to support them in this way and help reduce pain and aches for them. I found the first lockdown most difficult as I knew I could potentially help many people but wasn't allowed to due to government rules.
“During the lockdowns I was extremely adamant in keeping my knowledge and training updated as much as possible, and kept myself busy with my time at home by completing several courses, including, Melanoma And Skincare Early Protection (MASCED), SHEAR HAVEN Domestic Violence (recognising this in clients who visit our salons), and ‘Preparing to Return to Work in a Covid-19 World’”.
It was during this time Nikki discovered the Professional Beauty London competition and noticed the category for ‘Therapist of the Year 2021’.
“In my opinion you should strive to achieve more, challenge yourself and be the best you can be. Often stepping out of your comfort zone is how many do this, so I applied in the hope of getting through to the final or at least being considered,” Nikki said.
“The application is not easy - it took many hours and days between work and clients to complete but I was determined to complete it, and to do so at a high standard. A few weeks later to my surprise, I received the email from PB London to say I was shortlisted.
”Over the moon is an understatement! I really am so pleased, and to realise that I am the only Northern Ireland Therapist in this category. What an honour to even get this far. There are only six of us in this category from hundreds of applicants.”
The competition final is in early September, however the winners will not be announced until 17 October this year, at the prestigious awards ceremony in London.
“I'm so excited and really look forward to it. This is most definitely out of my comfort zone, but sometimes we have to do these things in order to grow and achieve greater, even though it's super scary along the way! As always, I will strive to do my best.”
Since the salon reopened, it is no surprise that Nikki has been once again striving to offer her clients the best service and therapies. Nikki has gained training in Transverse Soft Tissue Release - a new skill which enhances her Sports Massage treatments further, using a method that helps to release tension in the muscles and restore flexibility to the affected areas.
Concluding, Nikki commented: “I believe you can never stop, and should never stop learning. I plan to achieve Level 4 and 5 Sports Massage in the future. I will always have the desire and drive to only be the best I can be, and to give my best in order to fulfill my clients needs.”
Nikki McKeown Beauty & Massage
• Opening Hours:
Tuesday | 9.30am-9.30pm
Wednesday | 9.30am-9.30pm
Thursday | 9.30am-9.30pm
Saturday | 10am-3pm
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• Contact: 07834 494 504