Back in 2003, a mum of 2 children under the age of 3, a wife and an office manager, life felt quite tough at this time and I needed something for 'me', I craved to feel independent and wanted to get my teeth stuck into something. So,my journey began with my love for aromatherapy. I wanted something I could do as a hobby but earn money out of at the same time, so I had this hair brain idea that I wanted to set up an online company selling essential oils and other aromatherapy based products. To do this, I wanted to gain as much knowledge as I could on the oils before selling the products, so I enrolled on an aromatherapy course. Part of the course involved learning massage, now this may come as a surprise to some of you but i wasnt overly keen on the thought of massaging someone, despite this, I completed the course and I passed :-) I then decided to take the knowledge gained about the oils and use this, but I was unsure if I was going to use my massage skills again! ;-) Well, until a month or two later, when a few friends asked if they could have a massage, and after much debate, I decided, ok, I will. Well, being in my own surroundings, and creating a nice ambience in the room seemed to help a great deal, also knowing the client I was massaging seemed to help a little too. Afterwards, I thought, I cant be that bad, as I sent the client to sleep :-) Result! This wasn't so bad after all.
My online oil business was doing ok, Amber Oils, and my therapy business began, initially working from home, I started adding qualifications, reflexology, indian head massage, and so on. I was really enjoying it by now. My business name became The Amber Retreat, and I even named and registered my house in Swindon as this too. To progress the oil business, I looked into being able to blend my own oils and sell them, but this hit a wall, as I had to, back then, pay for each oil to be passed for manufacturing purposes, and this was going to set me back rather a lot of money, so this was put on hold.
I continued, instead, to progress in the therapy side of my business. I decided I needed to build a client base and this would be really slow from home (Facebook and social media wasn't as widely used back then) so I wrote off to as many salons and hotels as possible to see if there were any rooms to rent on a part time basis (my boys were still pre-school at this stage so wanted the balance of looking after them too) Boom! I received 4 replies all wanting me to rent their room. I had to choose which one I wanted to go for. Anyway, I spent a few years, working at a couple different rooms at hair salons and also back at home, in a cabin built in the garden, my dining room, a spare bedroom, even my lounge. I also went into business with a friend and we rented a spa within a hotel for 18 months, offering various therapies & managing staff. After many courses at various training centres, I started to run workshops and enrolled on a teacher training course at Cirencester college, this was when my next chapter started as I started to write course manuals and become an accredited training centre initially based in Swindon. I loved it! I had finally found my passion.
This was back in 2006 / 2007, & my marriage broke up during this year too so I became a single mum to my 2 boys, who were then aged 5 & 6.
I then realised why I had the urge back in 2003 to become independent . . . I needed to support myself and my boys financially. My focus, to get me through this was setting up my training school. Teaching and passing on my skills and knowledge to others became my passion. As if that wasn't enough, in 2011 I decided a fresh start was in order for me and my boys, and the pull to move back to my roots, Bideford in North Devon was becoming bigger and bigger. When my 10 year old said to me one day, 'Mum it will be ok moving to Devon, because I will make lots of new friends, and I can still keep in touch with my old friends, my dad and family,' this was my catalyst I needed to get brave and 'feel that fear and just do it'. The house went on the market on 1st March and we had sold and moved into our new house in Bideford, by 3rd June 2011, I think the universe was telling me that this was the right thing to do :-)
I kept my training business going in Swindon to give me the income to be able to move and start anew in Bideford. It took a couple of years to build the training up here while I continued to travel around the South West teaching in salons and spas, going where the demand took me. With the support of my wonderful parents, to help with my boys, this was what made this possible for me to do.
One of my biggest achievements was becoming a VTCT assessment, firstly in Swindon, secondly under the umbrella of a training school in Gloucester, and then in South Molton, Devon. I have since become a sole registered centre for VTCT in my own right, in Bideford, Devon.
At the start of 2016, I met my soulmate, Jason. (What a way to start the new year)
Now, way back, I had 'placed an order with the universe for a man who knew how to massage,' well low and behold, one of the first things he told me about himself when I first met him, was he was massage and sports massage trained from 14 years ago. Yippee!! Thank you universe :-)
An emergency op in 2016, and personal needs of his son, put paid to his job and teaching as a martial arts instructor, for the time being, and I got brave, once more, and welcomed him into the business, to help me with sales & marketing & teaching in sports massage and other massage courses.
In August 2017 we married :-)
In the last month (August 2017), I have welcomed my 3000th student through the doors of Holistic Therapies Training, and through the many years of ups and downs; blood, sweat and tears; sleepless nights and anxieties, I am still living my dream and loving the journey.
To be continued . . . . .
Why choose us?
We are a unique training school who put emphasis on the high quality of contact time. We teach to the learners unique learning style and mentor them with business advice to give them the confidence to start out in their chosen field. We teach up to 6 learners to 1 tutor (dependant on venue) to ensure each learner finishes their course with a high standard of competence.
Our learners range from:
- Qualified therapists adding to their skills
- Nurses / Midwifes / Doula’s / Healthcare professionals
- Mum’s with young families wanting to get back to work and work the hours to suit their family life
- People wanting a career change
- Fitness instructors
- Equine / animal therapist
To name a few .
We are friendly and approachable, as well as adaptable. We make the training fun and enjoyable. We also offer our wealth of knowledge as therapists, becoming their mentors in business.
We can offer one to one training and will never cancel a course due to lack of minimum numbers. We also have the flexibility of dates throughout the year and can offer weekdays and weekends dependant on venue. We have been established since 2007, and bring with us a vast experience of knowledge, with an ever growing team, we have training locations all over the South West and beyond, our head office being in Bideford, North Devon. Many of our training locations are in beautiful areas of the South West, and we often have students travel from far and wide to attend training and incorporate a mini break at the same time.
Our courses have been formulated for flexibility to our customers, so they are able to fit their studies in around their own work / family schedules and lifestyles, which much of the study taking place at home, in their own time, followed by fast track practical training, where applicable, to ensure they learn everything they need to know in that therapy, without the need for regular classroom attendance. This caters for all that have busy lives, all that they need is the self-motivation to take themselves through the homes study aspects, with tutors at hand throughout the entire course, available for any queries or questions they may have. Our tutors are available by email / telephone / skype throughout the course, so no student need to feel they are studying alone or are unsupported.
Many of our learners suffer from varying learning difficulties or mental health conditions and we have supported these that would struggle in a mainstream college environment. Their conditions ranging from dyslexia, anxiety / depression, lack of confidence.
We offer 100% customer satisfaction and will strive to improve on our services and products continually with the help of our customer feedback. We aim to respond to emails and messages within 24 hours of receipt, but often sooner, in between teaching and assessing. We have a student facebook group, where students can ask questions amongst themselves and our tutors, connect with each other and share resources, tips and advice.
To join this group, follow this link – https://www.facebook.com/groups/361931070982667/
We send out newsletters with information and special offers every month for anyone interested in keeping up to date with what is going on in our world. To join the mailing list, click here – http://eepurl.com/dusKF9http://eepurl.com/dusKF9
Our Facebook page is – www.facebook.com/holistictherapiestraining please like and share our page and spread the love.
Karen Ashton (formerly Kilminster) is the founder of Holistic Therapies Training, and built the business from scratch based on observations of previous training attended by herself and what her students want from their learning experience. Karen writes all the training material for Holistic Therapies Training which are all very comprehensive and written to comply with industry standards regardless of whether it is an online course, accredited course or a VTCT course. The content the student will learn is of the same quality and standard. The business originated from Swindon, Wiltshire, and in 2011, Karen relocated with her two boys back to her hometown in Bideford, Devon to build a life there with her family, and hasn’t looked back. The business, now in North Devon, has grown from strength to strength and was originally devised from the ethics of a single mum of 2, wanting to build a better life for herself and her children and to be able to work around caring for her children and getting a good work / family life balance, often taking time off during school holidays to spend time with her boys. Now Karen’s boys have left school and starting to build their own lives, one of which is working part time within the business. All those years ago, Karen strived to become financially independent and it was this drive that gave her the determination to succeed. Now today, Karen mentors others in starting their own businesses as therapists and enjoying their work / life balance. For herself, Karen, as the business has gone from strength to strength, she is now back to working on her own work / life balance again
Current climate means that many have a vision of becoming self-employed or to grow their therapy business, as many, don’t have the funds or resources to make their dreams / aspirations / goals come to fruition. This is where we have worked to offer as many options as possible to help our students to achieve their goals and are able to offer:
- Holistic Therapies Training offer payment plans for some of our larger priced courses.
We are constantly evolving the business to bring new courses to our growing list to offer a variety of subjects for our students to choose from, ranging from beauty, nails, massage, complementary therapies, sports therapies, fitness, business management and finance, customer services, first aid, teacher training and assessing and more.
As well as teaching from our centres we offer on site training to spas and salons, and have many contracts with spas and salons around the UK to provide bespoke training to their staff.
For businesses to grow, it is often needed to collaborate with other businesses, to offer a broader range of services and expertise. Holistic Therapies Training, work in partnership with:
- North Devon Hospice
- Zen Training Centre
Holistic Therapies Training, & Zen Training School working in partnership to bring training and martial arts to students with all aspects of learning styles
Holistic Therapies Training work in partnership with the North Devon Hospice to offer volunteer therapist opportunities to our students and to support fund raising events.
Holistic Therapies Training work in affiliation with:
- ABT Insurance
- Professional Beauty Direct
- The CMA
- Westminster Indemnity
- Balens Insurance
Let us guide you in your journey into the world of therapies and make your own unique business mode or to become the best therapist you could possibly be ” Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
” Aspire to inspire before you expire.”
” You have to believe in yourself.”
” Success is the good fortune, that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration and inspiration.”
” Create your own style, let it be unique for yourself, and yet identifiable to others.”
” Be yourself, because an original is worth more than a copy.”