A Nottingham waxing and specialist beauty salon celebrating its 10th anniversary has lauded the potential of Nottingham but warns that it needs to up its game to attract more customers to spend money in the city.
nkd ( ) waxing on Pelham Street was founded by Rebecca Dowdeswell when the city boasted a bustling mix of big-name brands, multinationals and independents. Whilst a core remain and some independents have gone on to expand into other cities, many are struggling, whatever their size.
‘Nottingham has always offered a great variety but setting up is one thing, staying around, consolidating and then expanding is another,’ explains Rebecca, who set up nkd when pregnant with her son Tom, now 9 and has since had a daughter, Eleanor, 5.
‘We outgrew our first premises on Bridlesmith Walk within 5 years but even then, finding the right premises for our expansion was incredibly challenging. Locations are critical of course when it comes to footfall but then you’re balancing rents and rates and for us, contesting a change of use as well. All of these make things very difficult and often very expensive, especially for a start-up or young independent business.
‘We’ve expanded, opening our second salon in Leicester on St Martin’s Square two years ago as the first step in our move to grow nkd waxing outside of Nottingham and things have gone very well there. Leicester has a great vibrancy to it around St Martin’s Square and it is one that we have enjoyed in Nottingham for years too but I just feel that Nottingham needs a bit of TLC.
‘It’s fabulous to see the cranes on the skyline and the redevelopment around the Broadmarsh and the station as it is proof that investment is coming and hopefully we will see that benefit all of the traders in the city in terms of increased footfall and spend. However, it seems less clean than it did, maybe even a little rough around the edges.
‘I’ve read different reports recently about ambitions for the city. Being ‘top in the East Midlands’ feels like a given but whilst it isn’t exactly inspiring it shouldn’t be assumed that it is ours by divine right either. What is encouraging are the pledges by the city council to cut crime and reduce anti-social behaviour by a quarter, and ensure Nottingham is the cleanest big city in England. That is the sort of thing that will really help to get people into the city and help the retail offering grow as we rise to the challenge of the digital economy.’
With 10 years of business here in Nottingham, Rebecca has this advice for small business owners like herself;
‘Hang in there through these incredibly tough times. If someone had told me, a decade ago, that business would still be this hard, ten years in, I would never have believed them! You only have to look around the streets of Nottingham to see just how much the city centre has changed from ten years ago, and unfortunately it’s not all for the better.
‘Considering how many of the “big names” have disappeared from Nottingham’s retail and restaurant scene in that time, it makes you wonder how on earth any small business – for whom overhead costs as a percentage of sales can be cripplingly high – are expected to survive.
‘That said, nkd for one is still around and still growing, and I’m incredibly proud of that fact as well as excited about what the next ten years of trading in Nottingham will bring.”