Riverside Hair and Beauty

RIVERSIDE Beauty in Cree is one of the finest examples of an ultra-modern customer offering in rural Ireland. Its founder and owner, Sarah Gould, believes more opportunities exist in West Clare for her success story to be replicated.

A Cree native herself, Sarah established Riverside Beauty in October, 2012, in a small rental shop in the village where her journey began as a self-employed beautician. A bold move to begin with in the midst of the global recession, Sarah had big ideas for her business and the village in West Clare would turn out to be the perfect location for future expansion in the coming years.

Today, the business is unrecognisable. A bustling team of beauticians and stylists operate from a custom-built salon which Sarah opened in July, 2019. The ultra-modern premises is professionally fitted and stands as the only salon with custom-built wheelchair access in the west. This year, Riverside Hair and Beauty achieved All-Star Clare Beauty Salon Of The Year 2021, in recognition of the company’s commitment to standards of beauty care in the county. Alongside this, Sarah runs RS Beauty Shop online which offers customers nationwide a range of exclusive, professional products.

“There were 12 of us working in the salon by September, 2019,” says Sarah, reflecting on Riverside Beauty’s growth. “That’s how busy it was, and the business was just growing. Previously we were only offering beauty services, makeup, nails, tanning, waxing, etc. The market research I had done, was more people were telling me that it would be great if we had hair as an additional feature. So I took a chance and when I was building the salon, I built on a hair salon with it… I just took a chance on it and so far, so good, I have five stylists now in a salon in West Clare.”

Sarah’s long-term vision for Riverside Beauty was being fulfilled as 2019 drew to a close, however the gloss would soon disappear, as Government restrictions in March 2020 disrupted hair & beauty businesses across the country. Sarah refused to stay idle though and when Covid-19 hit, rsbeautyshop.ie was born.

Sarah explains, “I never had a website prior to Covid and when Covid hit, I thought ‘what can I do next’ and with the LEO grants available, I decided to build a website and open a beauty shop. A lot of people were at home and they probably tried to do beauty treatments at home and were looking after their own skincare, so I just persevered with building the website from March and had it up and running by May. It just took off. I sell everything hair and beauty related on it so it’s more a shop than a website for the salon and people gravitate towards that.”

Sarah has experienced an increase in online customers of late and she believes some shoppers are nervous about increasing case numbers. “When I launched the website initially, it was a project to keep myself busy but if restrictions came back, the website is there, ready to go and I do feel it would keep the salon and brand alive.”

Sarah’s success story begs the question, does it surprise her that more business people don’t investigate business opportunities in rural Clare? “It does, there’s a lot to be said for having a small business in West Clare. Your overheads aren’t as expensive compared to being in towns… there are openings in any small village for any kind of a business, because there are a lot of people moving back west again so if I was to give any advice, definitely.

“A lot of people were shocked when I was opening a beauty salon [in Cree]. Even my own dad who’s a business person was like ‘I don’t know if that’ll work’ and I said, ah we’ll give it a go. I was thinking, where are all the women going, they have to be going somewhere to do their nails? So I thought if we have it in the local area, maybe they’ll be more inclined to spend local and stay local so I just took a chance and opened it and it’s gone from strength to strength.”

To make an enquiry call (065) 905 9735 and to shop online visit https://rsbeautyshop.ie/.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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