The female car detailer from Essex beating gender stereotypes


Elisha James had been working on the production line of a medical equipment company, standing for eight hours a day at 30 weeks pregnant, with an increasingly demanding supervisor.

When she returned from maternity leave, after giving birth to a healthy baby boy, she found that the working environment had not improved, and that it was taking a serious toll on her mental health.

Elisha said: “My supervisor was quite the bully and she did everything to make my days hard. She would constantly nit-pick, tell me I needed to work harder and that I was not as fast as everyone else, when in fact I had the highest packing rate. I felt really unappreciated and the whole working environment left me feeling really low.”

With no option but to quit and with financial pressures mounting, a baby to feed and a partner facing difficulties finding work as an electrician during the pandemic, Elisha knew she needed to act fast to find work.

She had always enjoyed car detailing, and had already done this previously for friends and family, so she decided to see if she could turn her hobby into a side hustle. Using the Nextdoor app to promote her services, Elisha was overwhelmed by her first post generating over 300 positive responses from her local community and found herself booked up for the next three months.

Four years on, Elisha now has qualifications in car detailing and owns her own extremely successful business. Her side hustle turned full-time job sees her travelling around the local community and further afield in Essex, in her iconic pink van.

She said: “After working in an emotionally abusive work environment I am so thankful for my wonderful and kind customers. I feel so lucky to now call work a passion and I’m grateful to be around kind and caring people, there is just pure love from everybody and it made me realise, I should never have doubted myself in the first place .”

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