Mahli Fox didn’t grow up thinking she wanted to be a Beauty Therapist or Nail Technician, but a relocation from Australia to Masterton with her Wairarapa born husband, presented her with new opportunities.
"After having my second son I really wanted to find a career that I loved and that I could revolve around my family. My thoughts were that if I could set myself up to have my cake and eat it too, then why not go for it!," says Mahli (Nga Puhi, Ngati Wai and Tainui).
"I just picked UCOL Wairarapa's Nail technology programme to study at first because I thought it could be cool to be able to do my own nails and thought I'd like it. However, when I started it, I loved it! It was a way for me to combine my love for being creative and artistic, whilst also satisfying my itch for completing tedious tasks. I also felt the skills clicked with me and I found my niche."
After gaining a Certificate in Beauty Services (Nail Technology) Level 3, Mahli says her Nail Tutor encouraged her to continue her studies and enrol for a New Zealand Certificate in Beauty Therapy Level 4. "I agreed as I thought that it would be of benefit to me to be able to do more in the beauty industry and develop skills and find other passions."
After graduating with her two Certificates, Mahli enrolled for a New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy Level 5.
"I'm glad I made the decision to continue with Beauty Therapy. It is a wide-ranging industry and there is SO much to learn and it is continuing to progress and develop. There are so many different avenues to choose from, it's exciting!"
"At UCOL we have some great tutors who have invested a lot of time and passion in their own trades and skills and enjoy sharing that gained knowledge with their students. I feel like they care about the quality of the work their students put out into the real world. Because they've had positive experiences in the same field of work that I'm only just dipping my toes into, they push to get the best out of me and recognise where I could improve and do better," says Mahli.
Mahli juggles her studies with a busy family life as mum to two young boys and with her husband Jareth studying Law. "Life can be pretty hectic with studies, kids and life in general, but it's still pretty great. We both have our eye on the prize which keeps us motivated to keep chugging along."
Mahli found the mixture of practical and the theory of anatomy and physiology to be very valuable. "I'm definitely more of a practical learner, however with having the theory information there to help me to understand why we do these types of treatments, or why the skin or body is going to react a certain way, provides me with better knowledge to help my clients get better results."
"With both parts of the industry, Nail and Beauty, clients leave happier, more relaxed, brighter or more refreshed than when they came in. It's a great feeling to know that I've been the reason for, or a part of, that positive experience."
In the near future, Mahli wants to have a small business that she can run from home while her boys are young. "The original goal was to find a career I love and that can revolve around my family. That goal might expand once my kids gets older and I can be a little more selfish with my time!"