Beauty expert Emma Jones wants her new Bognor Regis business to help others follow her example.
Emma launched her lash and brow salon in London Road on Saturday.
She intends to use the Flirt and Flutter salon as a training academy to help someone follow in her footsteps from the dole queue to businesswoman.
Bognor Regis resident Emma said she hoped to offer free training courses once the academy was fully set up next year.
“I really want to help those who are interested in the beauty industry but, due to an underprivileged background, may have not had the opportunity to pursue a career in the industry.
“I hope to offer one placement a year to include training, mentoring and support in various elements of the business,” she said.
She intends to work with Bognor Regis-based My Sisters’ House women’s centre to find a suitable person to benefit from her offer.
Mum-of-one Emma, 31, was living on benefits last year in emergency accommodation with her son, now aged seven. She had previous jobs in sales and marketing but decided to pursue her passion for eyebrows.
She studied a beauty course two years ago intermittently and followed that by renting a room in a beauty business in Chichester.
That step ten months ago has led to a loyal customer base, with 80 per cent of her 30 or so customers a week returning time after time.
“I had tried other careers and had always ended up feeling dissatisfied.
“Now, I’m lucky enough to work in an industry I love and, more importantly, make others feel good about themselves.
“That’s what I would like to pass on to my others with my training academy.”
Emma has recruited another team member to start in November. This will be followed by her training academy and the launch of her own brand of Flirt and Flutter lash and brow products.
“I’m quite an ambitious person,” she said. “I have always wanted to be my own boss. I like to use my initiative.
“It’s my son that drives me on. I come from a background of poverty. I didn’t have much going on.
“I want my son to have the best things in life. He gives me my drive.”
Emma is also keen to support the community around Bognor Regis.
Her salon will be a beauty drop point where members of the public can leave health and beauty products to be donated to Beauty Banks.
This is a charity which supports homeless people by distributing personal care and beauty products.
Goods such as cleansing wipes, shower gel, moisturiser and even nappies and baby health products will be welcome.
Emma is also offering a 20 per cent discount to former Thomas Cook employees who have been affected by the holiday company’s recent liquidation.
Full details of the offer can be seen at the Flirt and Flutter page on Facebook.
Saturday’s opening saw Emma chat to visitors about her business. The first 30 people who went along received goody bags.
These included product samples, discounts, price lists and loyalty cards.