Meet Millie Rose Homewood - Suffolk's Young Business Person of the Year
PUBLISHED: 11:00 21 August 2018
Millie Rose Homewood was named Young Business Person of the Year at the recent Suffolk Business Awards.
Being thrown into the deep end at a new school in France when she was 11 years old, and being told she would never work in health and beauty by a careers advisor five years later are landmarks in the life of Millie Rose Homewood, which have given her the willpower and incentive to build two successful businesses and, in the past month, open a third.
These achievements, which have come in a relatively short space of time, led to 25-year old Millie being named Young Business Person of the Year at the recent Suffolk Business Awards, sponsored by the East Anglian Daily Times.
Millie’s businesses are a salon: Millie Rose Hair & Beauty, a training academy: Industry Hair & Beauty Academy and, her latest venture, Homewood & Rose, a home interiors boutique.
All three businesses are based on same street in Lowestoft, London Road South, their close vicinity being “really handy” “ for Millie managing multiple businesses and also providing new employment opportunities in Suffolk’s eastern most town.
Millie’s background is that she trained as a beauty therapist and make-up artist straight from school - and immediately set herself up as a self-employed, mobile make-up artist, travelling to clients to help them look their best for weddings and other special occasions.
Having saved £3,000 from this first venture, she put the money towards opening her first outlet in 2012. It is a philosophy – ploughing money back into the business - that has served her well over the years.
“Originally, the shop was for make-up but people kept asking for beauty therapies, such as facials, manicures, pedicures and waxing,” said Millie.
“Within six months, we realised we needed to move into bigger premises and at that point we also expanded into becoming a hair salon.”
From humble beginnings - where it was just Millie and her mum on reception – the salon now employs 22 people. But Millie wasn’t ready to rest on her laurels.
She continued: “After four years of running the salon, I realised there was a need for a private hair and beauty college, so I established the Industry Hair & Beauty Academy.
“The students spend two years with us working towards NVQs. I teach make-up and permanent make-up using tattooing, and some of the team from the salon teach hairdressing. We have all had to take teaching qualifications to deliver our training and we’ve already trained about 60 students.”
Facing a challenge
With this second business established and successful, Millie has turned her attention to a third venture – the Homewood and Rose interiors boutique, which opened last month.
“I grew up in France, from the age of 11 to 16 years, and I’ve always had a love of French-style furniture,” explained Millie. My dad also restores antique furniture, so we sell some of his work together with other accessories, such as chairs, soft furnishings, rugs, flooring and candles.”
“I like to be busy - I have this drive to keep moving forward - and in some way my move into different businesses has happened by accident but I like to jump at every opportunity.”
Millie says the biggest highs in her business career so far have come from “seeing my visions come to life” and working with “such an amazing team of passionate and crazy individuals”. She is also glad that she decided to set up shop in Lowestoft
“I think there is a lot of potential in Lowestoft,” she added. “But before I started I was told it was a bad area – not the most affluent – and that it’s not going to do well.”
Talking to Millie, it’s clear she likes nothing more than a challenge and that this is something that drives her on.
“I’ve found that some people haven’t taken me seriously as a business person because I am young. They have said things like ‘don’t run before you can walk’ or ‘wait until you have gained more experience’ and I’ve been determined to prove them wrong.
“I think starting in business young is a good thing – you have less commitments when you are 19 – no mortgage or children, maybe living with your parents. It’s an opportunity to focus on your business.”
Opening up about her background, Millie offers a few clues as to why she is so driven.
She continued: “My parents moved to France when I was 11 and I was put straight into a French school, I didn’t speak a word of French and I thought if I can get through this I can get through anything.
“Later on I applied to attend beauty school out there but I didn’t get in – the nearest beauty school was two hours away and 150 people had applied for 15 places. I was told my French wasn’t good enough and that I could be a florist or a chef but that I would never be able to work in beauty. I said to myself ‘I‘m going to prove you wrong’.”