Business Gateway helps healthcare clinic put its best foot forward
A footcare clinic has successfully launched in Inverness after the business owner received specialist support, advice, and signposting to funding from Business Gateway.
Launched in December last year, Passion for Feet cares for the feet of those living in the Scottish Highlands through services including foot reflexology, Thai foot massage, and cosmetic pedicures. Its specialised offering aims to improve the management of various ailments and provides general advice on day-to-day footcare, ensuring locals’ feet stay in a healthy condition.
After business owner Julia Dos Santos, who previously worked as a healthcare assistant in the NHS, realised the podiatry service in the Highlands was struggling to keep up with demand, she spotted a gap in the market for specialised footcare services. She approached Business Gateway for help, as she had previously worked with them when she launched her first business, a holistic massage service.
Julia said, “I had to have surgery on my feet when I was a teenager, so I know first-hand just how important it is to look after them.
“I was confident Business Gateway could help me as they were brilliant when I launched my first business. I knew they would provide expert help to ensure my idea became a fully-fledged business and address the shortage of foot health professionals in the Highlands.”
Working with Business Gateway, Julia benefitted from detailed advice on company regulations, premises, and routes to funding. She was also awarded a start-up initiative grant which provided the initial cash injection she needed to set up her treatment room in the Inverness Business Hub. This meant she had a fully equipped base to provide her specialist services.
Through Business Gateway’s start-up services, Julia also accessed regular 1:1 support from a dedicated business adviser and used it’s Planning to Start tool. This allowed her to develop a tailored action plan that included information on self-employment, business plans, business insurance, and networking.
This support has given Julia the confidence to launch a new offering for her business, playfully named ‘Granny’s Feet’. This service means her treatments can now be offered to the elderly and others whose mobility issues mean they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access Passion for Feet’s services. Julia hopes to expand this business area to assist as many people as possible in the future.
Julia is currently training to become a qualified foot health practitioner, which will allow her services to expand further to deal with issues such as ingrown toenails and fungus. She plans to promote this future development through video, thanks to the skills she picked up through attending Business Gateway’s Video Production webinar.
Julia said: “Business Gateway has been a vital extension of my team throughout this process, and I would encourage anyone thinking about starting their own business to contact the team as you wouldn’t believe how much help is out there.”
Dianne Swanepoel, start-up business adviser, Business Gateway Highland, said: “Julia is providing something which the local area clearly has demand for, and her passion for footcare has shone through from the very beginning, which is important to her customers.
“For those starting up their own business, there is a variety of support available, no matter what industry you’re working in, so it’s always worth contacting us and seeing what we can do to help.”