At 25, Shanelle Gill exudes the kind of beauty Black women dream about and men drool over. What makes her different from most young women is that she is schooled in the art of beauty and wants all the sistas to benefit from her expertise.
Face it, if women want to look their best, they should focus on what works — the "do", the right make-up, a fine set of nails (manicure and pedicure) and, of course, fashion advice expertly tailored to the individual.
The-Latest caught up with Shanelle at her Crystal Heights, St James, Barbados, business branch in the Caribbean. Friends and past schoolmates would hardly recognise this once-shy Ellerslie School student and promotions girl who emigrated to the UK years ago.
She has studied at the Universidad de Ciego de Avila, in Cuba, and the Institute of Optimum Nutrition and the World of Braiding School of Hair and Beauty, both in London. She has blossomed into a stunning lady on whom the stature and finesse of well-groomed celebrities and professionals has "rubbed off" and propelled her to share their beauty secrets with women here.
"It's your opportunity to indulge your own celebrity experience," says Shanelle. "Imagine being exposed to every possible shade of make-up — just like movie stars or top entertainment personalities — your hair looking its best ever...and to top it off, all the finer touches of beauty and style to make you look and feel like a million dollars!"
As Shanelle puts it, she wants to transform the Barbadian beauty industry one step at a time …
Her innovative beauty concepts have caught the interest of major investors, which allowed Shanelle to open outlets of her exclusive services in London, continental Europe and beyond.
She has been privileged to work with well-to-do Londoners who rub shoulders with the likes of super stars Diana Ross, Naomi Campbell and UK pop group Girls Aloud.
How does she spell success?
"In the five months of operation here in Barbados, my company's client base moved from one-off visits to regular repeat clients. And their loyalty is commendable."
Which is not to say there weren't setbacks for this entrepreneur who gave up a budding career in marine biology and turned lack of opportunity in an already saturated field into a money spinner.
First, she undertook training in cosmetology and hair care. For her,that was the easy part.
"Getting the infrastructure in place was difficult. But after the word got out about my unique and exclusive services, the client base grew."
However, a global business is not for the faint- hearted. A dynamic company with international locations poses other challenges for anyone at the helm — managing from a distance can be taxing. Yet
Shanelle was able to overcome this.
"I was able to put standards and consistency of quality systems in place to ensure that things run smoothly. The same treatments and level of customer services are found at every location.
"Staff undergo continuing rigorous training and monitoring. My ongoing challenge is to maintain a unrivalled exceeding service and salon/spa experience and improve, as well as ensure, that the company
is continually innovative."
Her definition of innovation: She is the only cosmetologist (salon/spa) that can bring her services to you. Further, all clients attend a consultation before any form of care is administered.
"I want to offer a service to Barbadians who travel regularly to the UK and USA. If you schedule an appointment locally, you can still make that booking overseas in our selected operating cities. And you are assured the same level of service."
Want more? Says Shanelle: "In Barbados, things like excessive waiting at salons and other outmoded practices still exist. We have an appointment system and strive to be the best of the best, especially
when it comes to quality of service. We want to raise the bar."
Shanelle comes equipped to handle any beauty challenge, chiefly through the use of hair extension techniques that give you a natural look and feel. She addresses hair loss and other thinning issues,
permanent hair reduction therapies, unwanted hair for both men and women, uneven pigmentation - even advice for those who are clueless about their own hair care.
"We have an interest in the general health of your hair and skin. We even provide after-care tips on how to maintain your style and spa experience for a long period, well after you have left the salon," she added.
Enough about hair, already. Clients can also try Shanelle's signature line of healthy mineral make-up that won't clog your pores. It's made without talc or preservatives like conventional make-up and is
particularly designed to deliver a flawless complexion while improving the health and appearance of the skin.
Clients can also try a range of beauty treatments — facials and detoxifying, slimming and body contouring treatments — the list goes on. Add the most modern dressing principles for a complete
Shanelle revealed what she considered one of today's hottest beauty trends: "Colour is in fashion now, either brighter blonde with wavy hair, bouncy curls or a dark crop. Rihanna's look is a great example. Or Queen Latifa and Keisha Cole."
For great looking lips: "Put Vaseline on a toothbrush and rub off the dead skin. Leave the Vaseline on for a couple of hours. Remove vaseline then apply your choice of lip colour stick.
"Use a lip liner to help the lip colour stick last longer. Preferably one that's a couple of tones lighter than the lip colour stick.
"Outline your lips just beyond the lip line for a more pouty, sexy look."