20 Years at Saks Guisborough

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Debbie Passman, Franchisee of Saks Beauty Guisborough says: “if you cut me in half it would say Saks in the middle”. She’s a Saks gal through and through. Debbie talks celebrating the salon’s 20th birthday and kids, boot camp. She also comments on how the beauty industry has changed over two decades and how she achieves work/life balance at Saks.

What makes Debbie tick?

So it’s Saks Guisborough’s birthday… how old is the salon?
In May we celebrate 20 years. We’re running the theme throughout the whole year to really celebrate reaching such a milestone. I’ve been at the salon for 19 years and that’s why I love being Saks.

How are you celebrating?
We’re going to celebrate the actual day in May with an event in salon for The Eve Appeal. We will have fizz and cakes and all the treats our customers love. We’re going to be out and about in Guisborough giving out birthday presents too!

Tell us how your Saks Journey started?
I’d had five years’ experience working in another salon before I came here, I was head hunted! I was employed as a beauty therapist. I was a young, independent girl with no stress at that point and lived at home with my parents. So, I spent a couple of years building up the business for the Franchisee at the time. I was working my socks off and enjoying what I was doing. I contacted Saks and I decided to go into partnership to run the salon. Saks held my hand through the whole process and gave me the confidence to buy the business for myself.

Can you remember your first day at Saks?
Yes! It was exciting. I was nervous. I just wanted to get stuck in; I already felt a part of it.

So, what happened next?
The business grew and I was able to take on another therapist, Emma. Emma is still at the salon now 19 years later, so she’s been a long-standing employee.

What keeps you at Saks?
For me, it’s part of who I am now. I always refer to the salon as my third baby. That’s how much blood, sweat and tears I’ve put in to get to where I am. It’s part of me. Worth every minute.

How do you balance being a busy Franchisee with family life?
I’m not going to lie; it’s hard. I have amazing parents who have supported me, a supportive husband who’s enabled me to fulfil all of my dreams. The children have grown up a little bit more now so I am able to dedicate some more time to the salon. One of them keeps asking “would I be able to come and cut hair at the salon?” Watch out Saks Art Team…the next generation is on its way!

#SAKSGOALS moment?
Winning awards. I have won Saks Beauty Therapist of the Year. That’s when I got a taste for success and how big Saks is. The fact that we are in a small town but all these people recognise me is a nice feeling and a great acknowledgement.

Also, one of our apprentices won an award. Being able to nurture someone from college and get them through their Level 3 training and to the point that they are winning national awards, that’s amazing.

Who’s influenced your career at Saks?
I always keep up to date with Kirsty from the Saks Beauty Squad and Saks Northallerton and Nicola, fellow franchisee of Saks Beauty Gosforth. They are extended family and I could never imagine not being part of Saks.

What’s your favourite beauty treatment?
It changes because we’re always introducing new things. Anything when customers give you great feedback, I love doing all the facials, peels, anti-ageing treatments. Probably hair removal where you’re changing people’s lives and confidence. Those things give me more satisfaction. Beauty has changed so much over the last couple of decades. Customers know what they want and advanced treatments are the norm now.

Fave beauty product?
Skeyndor Power H Moisture Boost and the Night Time Serum. Even if you’re shattered it makes your skin look amazing.

Future plans?
I’d love to expand the salon. I’d love to have another treatment room.

Work/life balance…does it exist?
I am so lucky; I have honestly say I have achieved the dream of having work/life balance and being my own boss. Along with a supportive family, the support from Saks has allowed me to do that.
Emma who has been with the salon for 19 years, has had three children in that time and Saks have supported her through her own life changes. We try to be as flexible as we can with sports days and things like that, those times are important. I think that’s why people stay for so long.

Thoughts on Saks Gathering and awards?
I love it. It’s a great time to catch up with the Saks family. I get goose bumps when I watch the videos. It makes you feel incredibly proud and inspired. The beginning of the year is a great time to do it because it gives you a real kick-start for the year. It’s great for the team and for anyone who wins an award it’s a great accolade for the hard work that they’ve put in.

Advice to future franchisees?
GO FOR IT. Definitely. Saks HQ and the network are there to hold your hand and support you through the franchising process. You get all the training you could possibly need.

Spare time… how do you spend it?
Definitely with my family, just enjoying what they do. I’ve got two boys, so I get dragged around to their ‘boy stuff’. I’ve just got to the point where I’ve got a little bit of time to spend on myself so I’ve just signed up to a boot camp. I’m looking forward to that.

Finally your #ILOVESAKS
I love Saks because it’s my second family. It’s my life now. I love the support. I love the treatments that we offer.


Want more info about owning a Saks salon or joining us as a stylist or therapist? Call 0845 678 0290, enquire here or email franchising@saks.co.uk.
For more on flexible working at Saks check out our blog here.


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