Beautician Buys Old Ambulance, Launches Makeovers-on-Wheels Business

A beautician whose work dried up during lockdown bought an ambulance on Facebook and launched her own mobile makeovers business.

With salons closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Kirsty Martin spent two years converting the emergency vehicle into a cosmetic caravan she calls "The Glambulance."

The 34-year-old from Kent, England, said she bought it on Facebook Marketplace for 2,500 British pounds ($3,070).

Kirsty Martin's "The Glambulance" makeover ambulance
Kirsty Martin of Kent, England, spent two years converting the emergency vehicle she bought on Facebook Marketplace into a cosmetic caravan she calls "The Glambulance." Kirsty Martin, SWNS/Zenger

"It was apparently from a care home. But it was also used in Coronation Street [British TV series]," she said.

The mother-of-one spent a further 2,000 pounds ($2,450) on the pink respray and about 4,500 pounds ($5,500) on the rest.

Martin relied on the help of family and friends to see the transformation through, temporarily moving back in with her mom.

"My stepdad helped with electrics. I've had to learn a lot. We spent hours and hours watching all sorts of different YouTube videos," she said.

"It was a lot more complicated than we originally thought. But it's been really successful. I've moved out of my mom's now."

Martin had been working in the beauty industry for a decade since leaving school and then decided to take a couple of years off to explore a passion for animals and dog grooming.

Kirsty Martin's "The Glambulance" makeover ambulance
Kirsty Martin of Kent, England, spent two years converting the emergency vehicle she bought on Facebook Marketplace into a cosmetic caravan she calls "The Glambulance." Kirsty Martin, SWNS/Zenger

"I went back to work in beauty and found that I wasn't as busy as I was before," she said.

"Now a lot of people do their own treatments. People are obviously saving money - so I had to do something different."

Then the COVID pandemic gripped the globe, shuttering businesses around the world.

Martin said: "In the first lockdown I got the van. It took me the whole of COVID to do it up.

"Since then it's been going really well and everyone seems to be loving it.

"There are so many groomers that do this for grooming dogs. But no-one does it for beauty, in our area anyway."

The Glambulance opened for business earlier this year and is available to hire for fetes, fairs, festivals and weddings all over Kent.

Treatments range from kids' glitter make-up to bridal makeovers - but Martin has grander ideas yet.

She said: "Next year I'm hoping to go to bigger events. I would love to get busy enough to do more transformations and have more vans, that's the goal."

The old ambulance has been repainted pale pink with a chic interior of wooden paneling and mosaic tiles.

Its wheeled stretcher and nurses' cabinets have been swapped for Hollywood mirror lights and all the usual salon fittings.

Produced in association with SWNS.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.