A young beauty therapy student swapped her acrylic paints for helmets by starting her own roofing company.
Rose Williams. from Blackwood, Caerphilly, who loved hair and makeup, but the prospect of turning it into a full-time job remained unfulfilled.
While studying at home during lockdown and working part-time as an assistant, the 19-year-old knew she had to make a change to become happier.
After speaking to her craftsman dad Jeffrey Williams, she took the plunge and started roofing company All You Need Roofing in addition to her beauty course in June. Now she wants to encourage others to follow their dreams and not worry about gender stereotypes in the workplace.
(Image: Rob Browne)
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Rose said, “I found that I got part-time jobs and switched jobs and never felt fulfilled in what I was doing. I love beauty, but I don’t want to spend my time with it, I wanted it more as a hobby or a sideline.
“I talked to my dad about it and said, ‘Something doesn’t click, I can’t find a job that my heart beats’. He’s been between jobs for the last 35 years. He works for different people and gets the experience behind them. He suggested to start my own roofing company. “
While moving from beauty to building may seem like a U-turn, this isn’t the first time Rose has tried her hand in the industry. She used to help her father on construction sites and did a year in college.
“When I was younger, I went to construction sites with my father for extra pocket money,” she said. “I’ve always really enjoyed being on the construction site.
“During my first year of study in 2019, I did a variety of construction work on the Ebbw Vale Campus, including plumbers, plasterers and tilers. I loved it, but the commute to work was too much.”
(Image: Rob Browne)
Rose said she switched to beauty studies in Crosskeys instead because of the difficult commuting, which she really enjoys. However, she said that her experience of studying the craft stuck with her and made her more confident to work in a male-dominated industry.
“The first time I walked into my classroom at Ebbw Vale it was full of boys and I felt like everyone was looking at me like I had gone to the wrong class with my eyelashes, makeup and nails,” said she.
“I remember doing the plastering – something I really enjoyed and want to take up again – and I was really good at it. I looked at my wall and looked around and mine was better than some of the guys. I can do it. “Women can do as well as men in this industry, if not better.”
Despite her experience in the industry, Rose said she had to learn the business side of things from the ground up. She said she reached out to Big Ideas Wales, an initiative by the Welsh government to help under-25s become self-employed.
She said, “At the time, I had no idea how to start my own business. I had no idea what to do so I searched Google for ‘how to start a roofing company’ and came across Big Ideas Wales. “
Rose said she shared her details while not feeling very hopeful, but she was pleasantly surprised to hear something and work with a management consultant named Natalie who helped her every step of the way.
She then hired her father and an apprentice as part of the UK government’s Kickstart program, which gives 16- to 24-year-olds six-month internships to help them get back into work.
She hopes to grow the business so she can offer training and opportunities to people from all walks of life.
“I hope to take on more through the program next year,” she said. “I’m very young and got a huge opportunity and I’m very grateful for it and with that I want to do the same for others around me. I also want a mix of employees, I want the company to reach everyone, regardless of whether they are young or old, inexperienced, man or woman.
“I hope we have big teams in Swansea, Cardiff and Newport in the years to come. I want the apprentices to become fully qualified roofers. We will train them in courses in health and safety, tile cutting, etc. Many of them don’t have GCSEs.” and i want them to be successful.
“I want them to have the opportunity to make a name for themselves at a young age. I want it to be like a hairdresser’s, where you can choose a stylist so he can build your own reputation.”
(Image: WalesOnline / Rob Browne)
Rose said that while she plans to start plastering again at some point, her main role at the company right now is leadership. She said she used to be shy but since then her job has made her self-confident.
She says: “I took over the project management. I take care of the cash flow, order materials, plan the calendar, advertising and social media, and make sure we all have uniforms. Customers call me when they’re interested in a job and I’ll give them a day, write bills and take care of the whole money side.
“I love interacting with customers. Before that, I was pretty shy and wouldn’t even call for a snack. Now I have the confidence to approach everyone and order material for us on the phone really got me out of my shell and pushed me to keep going. “
Rose said she also noticed an added benefit of having a women-run trading business for her clients. She said, “What also divides me is the customers we have. When there is a woman who lives alone, talking to a woman on the phone can be less daunting, it can give a sense of comfort.”
She said it was “so rewarding” to see how far she had come in the last year without realizing that she would soon have her own successful business.
(Image: WalesOnline / Rob Browne)
“It feels great. I was doing support work around this time last year alongside my beauty class,” said Rose. “I got up in the morning and dragged myself to work and came home tired because I thought this was not what I wanted to do. I was so miserable. Now I get up and look forward to speaking to my clients. I am really proud to be a part of something that is mine and that I created. “
Rose said while she is aware of the gender stereotype in her industry, it paid off to ignore it and follow what she really wanted to do. She wants to encourage others to do the same when they need a change.
She said, “I feel like the best you can do is never settle down. This is often said to girls when it comes to dating, but it should be the same when it comes to your job. If you wake up every day and are scared of going to work, you don’t want to do that every day for the rest of your life. You want to get a job where work doesn’t feel like work, regardless of the stereotypes associated with that job. It will reward you for the rest of your life. “
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