There is a commercial on television that implores people to “fire your boss” and become self employed.

Catchy line. In many ways, it sums up the feelings of many.

In Ammanda Partridge’s case, however, she didn’t so much “fire her boss” when she bought KB’s Esthetics from her own boss, Kathleen Burke, as she did “hire her boss”.

After turning down others who wanted to buy the successful Main Street business, Burke felt that Partridge was the right person to take care of her clients.

So, in the first week of this past January, Partridge came to work as the boss and Burke came to work as a contractor leasing some space from her for her first few months.

It must have been intimidating having the former owner there?

“Not really,” says Partridge. “She wanted to sell for a couple of years and so it was a good opportunity for the both of us.”

But it must have been nice to have someone so experienced to ask questions?

“Actually, she asks me for advice,” Partridge points out. “I have more advanced training and it is mostly technical stuff she asks.”

Even so, when Partridge first turned the key on the door as the owner/operator, it was like any other day.

Burke had prepared her for that moment by allowing her to prepare orders for supplies and keep the books.

And, besides, Partridge had worked there for three years and knew the business well.

“It was surreal,” says Partridge of that first day. “It was like it wasn’t really mine.”

There was, however, a sense of freedom to make changes (one of which was renaming the shop, Elements Esthetics Studio). As an employee, some of her suggestions had been decided against, but now she could put them into action.

So far, all of her ideas for new services and procedures have worked out.

This was a good opportunity for Burke, too, allowing her to ease into retirement. She just worked two days a week with her own clients who had become friends over the years. She came in on Sunday and Monday while Partridge took those two days “off”.

OK, that needs to be explained: now that Partridge is the owner/operator of Elements Esthetics, she is working seven days a week.

“I earn more money now,” she says, “but I’m working longer hours.

“For the work I put in, I’m probably earning less per hour.”

Sometimes working until 8 p.m. five days in a row, Partridge says her social life is not what it used to be: “I go out now once a month instead of once a week.

“My friends have learned to make an appointment.”

At the age of 24, she has more responsibility than most people her age … and that means more stress.

“It’s worth it,” she says. “It makes me happy. It’s nice to see something you own be successful.”

Gone are the days when Burke would deal with customer issues: “Now I have to make them happy .. so they’ll return to the salon.”

At least once a day, a customer will ask her who the owner of the business is. When she says she is the owner, they are shocked and often ask, “Really? How old are you?”

It should be noted that this career is not Partridge’s first choice. She maintained good grades through two and a half years toward a nursing degree, but decided she wouldn’t be happy in that profession.

She still wanted to help people and being an esthetician appealed to her much more.

There was shock among family and friends – indeed, she was ashamed herself – but they all later agreed she made the right decision when they saw how happy she is.

Plans for the near future include moving the business into a Whitehorse hotel. To find her, call 668-2430.


PHOTO: RICK MASSIE [email protected]