I set up Podology as a podiatry clinic in 2005 after working in the NHS and privately for other podiatry clinics out of hours and on weekends. At that point I felt I wanted to do things my own way. I’d worked in the NHS where the culture was to only treat the problem, it was always time pressured and I was not able to give the full podiatry treatment that I’d been taught to do. I felt like I was short changing my patients and it didn’t sit well with me. I’d picked up valuable skills working in the private sector, from very experienced podiatrists. I was encouraged to provide long lasting and thorough treatments with the patient at the centre of care. I also had my own ideas about how I wanted my clinic to be. I wanted the clinical environment to be modern and professional but also friendly so clients felt comfortable.
I took over the little church shop as they were moving to larger premises down the road. My family helped with renovating the premises and I began to make new friends in the podiatry supplies field, many of whom remain close friends today. Any client that has been with us from the start will tell you, the first clinic was basic. It had tongue and groove on the walls. The toilet was separate, we were on the shaded side of the street and there was one heater, one small treatment room and a reception area without a receptionist! We had 5 happy years at 22 Milton Street, I got married and had two children in this time by which stage we had outgrown our humble beginnings and were looking for more space.
The opportunity to move came through our friend Elaine from Chocolini’s who discreetly told me they were moving premises and gave me the details of the landlady. We took ownership of 37 Milton Street on the 25th May 2010. From this date – my vision began to transpire – my dream podiatry and beauty clinic. Since then we’ve extended up and also gone down into the cellar. We added lots more fabulous treatments, always top class brands that you would expect in a city location not in our small town. Podology is now set over three floors with 5 treatment rooms and dual manicure area.
Each treatment and brand has been researched and carefully picked to suit our ethos. We are committed to ensuring standards are maintained through regular staff training and all of our procedures and protocols are documented and regularly updated. As podiatrists we are HCPC registered and follow standards set by our Governing body The Royal College of Podiatrists. As the beauty industry is sadly unregulated, we are fortunate to be able to apply our medical standards across to the beauty side of the business. For example – all of our manicure instruments are decontaminated, placed in pouches and sterilised in our autoclave to 134 degrees Celsius! It is very important to us that all our treatments are carried out to a clinical standard; that is exactly what sets us apart! Our podiatrists and beauty therapists are highly trained and skilled practitioners – and they are encouraged to impart their knowledge with you – our clients.
Trust is hugely important to me, indeed, it’s at the core of everything we do at Pod HQ. I understand that we offer personal services, and as such, trust is vital. Being reliable and trustworthy, and operating to the highest of standards, are essential to any business.
After 16 years in business I look back and wonder what I would have told my younger self, in fact I often wonder how I dared to start a business at such a young age and grow it the way that I have. The truth is I’ve learned some very hard lessons along the way but I’ve also met some fabulous people and had some very strong people who have supported me and influenced my life in a very positive way. I have always tried to give some of that back too. Building a team of people that have the same passion and drive has been fundamental to our success. We’ve had a number of staff along the years that have come on the journey and then stepped off when the time was right for them and I will always be truly grateful for some of the memories and fun times we’ve had. Anyone who has worked at Podology knows that we are grafters! We make it seamless for the client but behind the scenes there are a lot of jobs being done to ensure the daily operations run smoothly.
This is where I get a little uncomfortable – but it’s important to recognise some of your successes. We had many years of reaching the Professional Beauty finals in London and Scratch magazine awards. I’ve had the privilege to speak at the Professional Beauty show in Manchester – on the delivery of excellent pedicures and standards of sterilisation in beauty treatments. We got picked by Theo Paphitis on his Small Business Sunday Twitter and attended his business conference in Birmingham. I was invited by DLT to develop a pedicure brand ‘Prende’ and got to work with natural beauty guru – Jane Scrivner. This has been one of the proudest moments in my career so far and was one of the most amazing experiences. Researching and choosing ingredients, developing products and associated protocols and procedures for treatments – I am so proud of the success of Prende. I still delight in the Prende cleansing balm every day I use it! I’ve helped other start up businesses by sharing my knowledge and being a mentor to podiatry and beauty businesses – which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
We are committed to investing in staff training, equipment and in the clinic generally. In 2020 when the pandemic hit I was in total shock at the potential impact it would have on the business. We needed to focus and work hard at ensuring our survival. After a few days of soul searching and talking to our key people I made a decision – it was time to harness those entrepreneurial skills and spirit and realign our business plan. It was time to change things up, I’d become disillusioned with the skincare brand we had been with for 11 years. The British brand had been taken over by a multinational company, they were flooding the internet with sales that weren’t passed on to salons like ours and we couldn’t keep up with new product lines and there was a huge drop in salon support for events and marketing. They had disappeared at this critical time, our brand ambassador was furloughed and they wanted their small outstanding invoice paid. We settled the bill and ended our contract with them. We introduced ALL SKIN MED cosmeceutical range and Jane Scrivner natural skin care. We launched Endymed Radiofrequency non surgical treatments as we knew our clients wanted more in the way of anti ageing and results driven treatments. We sold our BIOTEC machine and upgraded it with Hydro2 facial machine and also added computerised skin analysis with 3D Visage to really give that clinical edge and allow us to delve deeply into your skin, so that we can really give the solution to your individual problems.
After 11 weeks of enforced closure – podiatry was allowed to restart. It was amazing to be open and provide essential medical treatments. It allowed us to tick over and keep a presence on the high street. I realised how important we were to people. Some of our elderly people not only needed the medical care but they needed kindness and a listening ear and we all felt emotional at being able to provide this for people. This leads me to –
Our clients are the star of the show! We are proud to provide excellent services to you and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your support and kindness over the years and particularly this last year during the pandemic. Podology is a special place for staff and customers alike and its down to your loyalty and recommendations to friends and family that we are what we are today. We are excited for the future and getting back to the new normal.