Meet the salon owner from Stafford who is making moves in the beauty business

With a passion for all things beauty, Hannah-Curlita Dennis is living her dream.

As a young girl she always knew she wanted to be part of the beauty industry. Now she runs her own salon and has even created her own make-up brand, which is becoming popular with professionals and celebrities.

Her fascination with beauty products and make-up was first ignited when she was just nine-years-old. “I would see my mum going to the salon to get her nails done and I wanted to go too. On my 10th birthday she let me. I knew then I wanted to work in beauty,” says Hannah, who is from Stafford.

But it would be some time before her ambition could be realised as she ended up following a more corporate career path by studying for a degree in business management and working as a project manager.

Her beauty dream, however, never disappeared and it wasn’t long before she began training in the evenings and at weekends to help make it a reality.

“I realised that knowing you have a beautifully made-up face, acne-free skin, defined brows or beautifully manicured or enhanced nails is such an immense boost to confidence. I knew I wanted to learn the art of helping people to look and feel great about who they are and how they look from the inside out,” she says.

Hannah started treating her friends to beauty treatments as she continued to hone her skills before opening her own salon in 2015.

Building a business from the ground up was a huge challenge for Hannah to undertake, however, due to her professional reputation and high-quality services, she hit the ground running. After a short time renting half a salon, she soon moved to larger premises in St Patricks Street, Stafford, to accommodate her increasing customer base and Curlita Beauty was born.

The salon offers the full beauty package from nails to brows, waxing and make-up, aiming to be a one stop shop that Hannah says her customers really value.

“Seeing people smile when they’ve had their treatment and seeing them happy, makes me happy,” says the 31-year-old who is a fully qualified beautician, semi-permanent make-up specialist, advanced skincare expert and make-up artist.

Her most recent business move was to employ a hairdresser to work hand-in-hand in providing the full package for clients and she also plans to grow the business further by opening another salon in the region within the next 12 months.

Ever the entrepreneur and never one to miss an opportunity, Hannah, who has trained at institutions including the British Beauty Academy, developed her own range of lipsticks and lip glosses in 2017.

As a black woman who has struggled to find suitable shades on the high street, it was important for her to create a colour range that would suit a wide variety of skin tones.

Offering a comprehensive 14 shades, Winnie Beau London is an affordable, inclusive and cruelty-free beauty range that provides long lasting and highly pigmented lipsticks and lip glosses.

Named after Hannah’s nan, Winnie, the brand has proved popular with other salons looking for a quality product to provide an additional retail purchase.

Describing the tribute to her grandmother on her website, she says: “The inspiration for the business came from my love and passion for make-up and my work within the beauty industry, from photoshoots to in-salon clients. This was the perfect way to progress in something close to my heart; hence the personal meaning behind the naming of the company – Winnie Beau London.

“My absolute favourite person in the world, my nan – Winnie! So she obviously had to take crowning glory and be the brand name.

“Winnie had lived in London most of her life and beau means beautiful woman or handsome man, so Winnie Beau London was born – everything just fits.”

The brand is also growing in popularity amongst beauty schools and industry professionals and is being used by a number of professional make-up artists as well as becoming popular amongst celebrities including Love Island’s Olivia Attwood and Sugababe, Mutya Buena.

“It’s based on my lifestyle,” says Hannah. “I do not stop from the moment I open my eyes in the morning until I go to bed. I don’t want to faff about reapplying my lipstick.

“I wanted it to be luxurious, long-lasting, nourishing – it has Vitamin E so your lips don’t dry out – and it’s affordable,” she explains.

While the salon was closed during lockdown, Hannah has been able to devote her time to developing the brand and is currently working on new shades for the range, as well as developing other beauty products to expand the collection further.

“Lockdown has been a blessing in disguise. It’s given me time to sit down and focus my attention on Winnie Beau London,” says Hannah.

And the hard work has paid off as sales were up by more than 1,000 per cent during the first four weeks of lockdown and her products have been shipped around the globe including to customers in Italy, France, Germany, Canada, USA.

Selling sustainable products is also important to Hannah, who tells Weekend: “Everything is recyclable from the bottle to the boxes.”

Since launching the brand in 2017, she has worked with a range of talented make-up schools and artists and has also painted the faces of A-list celebrities. And now Hannah, who says there are new products in the pipeline, is excited about what the future holds for her brand.

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