LEONA Ashleigh Brown is the proud owner of two successful businesses – Leona Ashleigh Beauty and Sweetcheesus.

The 35-year-old opened her beauty salon just over five years ago but when Covid-19 hit, she turned her attention to food – sweet and savoury grazing platters – when her salon was forced to close during lockdowns.

Here, in our latest Meet The Salon Owner feature, Leona tells us how she got into the beauty industry and shares some client feedback about the business.

If you would like to appear in one of our hair and beauty features – Meet The Salon Owner, Meet The Beauty Technician or Meet The Make Up Artist - email heid.summerfield@newsquest.co.uk

Leona Brown, Fiona Ball and Suzie Hough

Leona Brown, Fiona Ball and Suzie Hough

What’s the name of the salon/business?

Leona Ashleigh Beauty

What’s the address?

223 Church Road,

CH42 0LD

Are you the owner/manager?

I am the owner.

How many employees do you have?

I have two staff working alongside me - Fiona Ball and Suzie Hough

Leona specialises in lashes

Leona specialises in lashes

When did you open the salon?

I opened the salon in May 2018. Previously I was in a small salon renting a room in Bebington but left due to professional differences. I decided it was time to leave and set up on my own. Suzie joined my team shortly after I opened the salon.

Are you local to the area? Did you grow up here?

I have lived on the Wirral since I was 13, prior to this as my dad was in the army we have lived in Cyprus, Germany, Coventry and Trowbridge and finally settled on the Wirral.

Tell me a bit about your salon/business. What do you do? What services do you provide?

At Leona Ashleigh Beauty we offer all aspects of beauty. I am known in the area for my lashes as this is my passion and I have been offering this treatment for eight years, alongside lash lifts and brow lamination. However, more recently I have moved into skin care, offering luxury derma plane facials. Fiona and Suzie are highly skilled in all aspects of nails and make up. Overall, we can offer a wide variety of beauty treatments within the salon.

A sweetcheesus grazing platter

A sweetcheesus grazing platter

Why did you decide to open your own salon? What’s your hair and beauty background?

I got into the beauty business unintentionally. In 2013 I was working in a special needs school (WKRS) and to help with the staff and children’s wellbeing I went to train in massage so I could offer hand and head massages. I had previously trained in nails, brows and waxing a few years prior to this. Soon after I qualified, I was offered a role in a local salon and as I enjoyed beauty so much, I decided to have a career change. Fast forward nine years and I have my very own salon.

How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your business?

We were open pre pandemic and unfortunately, it hit the beauty industry very hard. We had to close our doors for the best part of a year during three lockdowns. However, I used this time effectively and managed to gain my teaching qualification while opening another business. Sweetcheesus grazing was born. This was never supposed to be a business but I made grazing boxes filled with cheese, meats and antipasti and sweet boxes too leaving them on my friends’ doorsteps as a pick me up during the pandemic. This quickly escalated when my friends uploaded pictures of the boxes onto social media and it went from there. I gained my food and hygiene certification and registered with the council. Sweetcheesus grazing fast became a phenomenon and when the world opened up again, I found myself catering for birthdays, engagement parties and weddings! Once lockdown was lifted and I could go back to the salon, I managed to juggle both businesses for another year but as my priority was the salon and we fast became fully booked and busy again, Sweetcheesus grazing had to be put on hold.

What makes your business different to others in the same area/field? What sets your business apart from your competitors?

I think our salon stands out from others as we are all hard-working girls who really care about our clients. We get to know their lives and their stories, as they do ours, and they really do become our friends. We offer a non-judgemental and relaxing environment for everyone and a listening ear. We are beauty therapists and councillors rolled into one. The salon had a makeover in January of this year which means we are always able to offer our clients the best space and treatments we possibly can.

Leona launched Sweetcheesus during Covid-19 lockdown

Leona launched Sweetcheesus during Covid-19 lockdown

Why do loyal clients return to your business?

I asked our loyal clients this question on my social media platforms as I thought it would be best to hear from them. Here are just a handful of all the wonderful responses I received:

Emma Donoghue said: “Best lash lady in town! Best nail tech too! Not just a place that makes me beautiful but always there for me to let off steam. One of my favourite places to go. My happy place.”

Ceri Embra said: “Most comfortable I’ve ever felt entering a salon and the best treatments.”

Charlotte Parr said: “Leona supported me during my pregnancy and was a friendly listening ear. Warm, welcoming, friendly atmosphere. Non-judgemental”

What’s next? What do the next few months hold for you and your salon?

Christmas is fast approaching which is our crazily busy time so we will be gearing up for the festive season. I’m hoping in the new year I will have more time to go on a few courses, expanding my knowledge in the treatments we currently offer and be able to offer further treatments in skincare. If you’re partial to a facial, watch this space!

Fruit and cheese special

Fruit and cheese special