Having trained to be a beauty therapist while caring for her terminally-ill mother, Nicola Couperthwaite has already faced big challenges.
However, at the weekend she was able to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of her own beauty salon in Peebles.
Nicola started up At First Sight in the town’s Eastgate aged 22, having trained at Newcastle College while working part-time as a care worker and also looking after her mum, who died when Nicola was just 20.
Nicola, who also worked at the prestigious Stobo Castle, said: “It was always been my dream to open my own beauty salon and I feel very privileged and very proud that I have fulfilled my dream, and at such a young age too.
“I hope people see that as an achievement and as an inspiration that if you believe in yourself and work hard you can always reap the rewards, no matter what age you are.”
And Nicola has now taken her first work-experience student under her wing, having been helped along by work experience at a top salon in Yorkshire herself.
“I felt very honoured that the student approached me personally to ask if she could do her work experience with me,” said Nicola.
“I’m young, but I have some fantastic experience behind me and I’m always pushing myself to learn more.
“No matter what job you do, no matter what age you are, you will always learn new things every day, so I hope I can provide this student with some knowledge that I’ve gained along my journey too.”
Nicola is particularly proud that she has done it all off her own back, and out of her own pocket, and is now seriously considering expanding the business in the future and giving people a chance that she didn’t have.
Nicola said: “I struggled at first when I qualified because jobs were so hard to come by at the time, so I would really like to give someone the opportunity to start off straight out of college.”
She added that she was determined to continue to improve the business and make it “stand in a league of its own”.