Edinburgh entrepreneur sells business she grew from the ground up

Hayley Harvey Smith

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A SERIAL Scots entrepreneur today told of her “mixed emotions” as she announced the sale of Scotland’s leading makeup college – a business she built from nothing to be the biggest name in the industry.

Hayley Harvey Smith started the the multi-award winning business Glamcandy in Edinburgh in 2011 – initially hiring salon spaces to teach small groups of students.

Now the firm operates purpose built private colleges in five Scottish cities – employing more than 30 people and teaching hundreds of students both in their own colleges and through their high school programmes every year.

Glamcandy students have secured opportunities to work with massive names and brands within the industry – including London Fashion Week, Harrods and Netflix.

Meanwhile their high school programme has seen tutors go into classrooms across the country to deliver SQA approved qualifications – a scheme credited with boosting attainment across the curriculum for pupils who take part.

Hayley – who attracted major outside investment and oversaw every aspect of the business’s growth since its inception – is now working on new projects in the fashion and cosmetics industry, launching a new makeup brush brand, Blend, and investing in a video content creation startup.

Edinburgh-based Hayley said she is open to working with businesses on a variety of projects, bringing her expertise in fostering growth – and says it is crucial for young women to see female entrepreneurs who can act as role models as they set out in the world of business.

Hayley said: “I think it is important for females in business to stand for what they believe in and I aim to offer support and advice for anyone having a troublesmose moment or looking for direction or in need of a verbal hug.

“I have real mixed emotions about letting go of the business I built from the ground up.

“It has been a rollercoaster from start to finish with many challenges thrown in, not least during Covid where we adapted from what is obviously a very close, face-to-face working model to teaching remotely in a matter of days.

“I am so proud of the team we built and the way the business developed over the years, launching the careers of so many students and empowering them to run their own businesses in an industry they loved and wanted to be part of.”

Glamcandy was sold last year, with the new owners working alongside Hayley for the past 18 month to aid the transition.

Hayley added: “I’m now working on new projects in the fashion and cosmetics industry that use my expertise in growing small businesses, but also utilising my background in digital marketing and branding.

“I also think its important to show what women in business can do and be a positive influence. I started this business in my 20s and built it to where it is today.

“I’ve met so many young women who have come to us wanting to start their own business and I think its critical they see other women in business as role models as they build themselves up.

“I hope I can continue to help people in that sense as I move forward.”

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