Sunday 9th September 2018
By Michelle Hammond
Q1 - How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards business?
I learned a lot ... my father started his own business when I was about 10 or 11 and I handed out his business cards to all of my friends in case their parents needed a good building company. I answered the telephone and took messages as in the beginning all enquiries came to our home and mobile phones were not yet around. Later I prepared his VAT returns and looked after his book keeping. I always went to work with my parents, I was intrigued by how building strong relationships with people and doing a good job could lead to so much word of mouth business.
Q2 - What do you believe the principles of a successful business are today?
I believe that because everything is moving so quickly we need to future proof our businesses by supporting our teams through this constant change and learning process.
Some jobs that we have now will not be here in 5 years time and roles that most have not yet conceived will be mainstream. It is harder to keep our people with statistics showing that ‘millenials’ decide within two weeks whether they are going to stay with a company so we need to fast track the nurturing process.
Businesses need to be open to change and keep abreast with technological advances and also have the foresight to provide a balanced work place where teams feel supported throughout phased change.
Q3 - Looking back, what was your best business decision?
To give my time to people, going with my ‘gut instinct', even when others advise not. I opened a business in 37 days from first contact to opening day. I could not have done this without pulling on major resource from a vast network of strong relationships.
Q4 - Who has influenced you the most through your career?
My father. He was honest and fair. He worked so hard to build his business with patience, courage, a strong belief in himself and his team and even though he had a brain haemorrhage at the age of 49 which resulted in him having to have speech therapy to regain his speech and occupational therapy after major surgery to prevent another aneurysm he still returned to work.
Q5 - What was your most difficult / worst business decision?
The most difficult decisions have been leaving businesses that I have built from scratch to further my career. I have always been involved in recruiting my successor and this has given me tremendous pride.
Q6 - What would you say was the single most advantageous character trait for success?
The desire to keep learning. I have a burning desire to keep learning new things. I returned to studies to learn about social media in business, SEO, how to build a website and Adwords as I felt one of the businesses I was developing was being charged a lot of money for little result and knowing what to ask those ‘experts’ has certainly saved money, produced brighter, more fruitful plans resulting in greater profit margins.
Q7 - What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?
I kick off my heels, place my feet on the ground, close my eyes and breathe. If I’m in a meeting the shoe element may not be possible however I take my time to just breathe. I had a mentor who taught me how to rationalise situations and keep things real. Not always easy but if you are facing a tough meeting wear some bright underwear under your business dress or do something that means you allow yourself to take the pressure off yourself.
Q8 - How do you invest in your own wellbeing. How do you look after yourself?
As I said I did have a mentor for a long while, I treat myself to a one on one yoga / Pilates mix where the instructor has curated a bespoke program for me which combines dynamic moves with restorative ones. The balance changes depending on my needs. I discovered Psycle classes which I truly love. I get up for sunrise every morning to walk my 2 dogs after a good nights sleep and I eat a healthy diet of fruits vegetables and fish largely
Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be and why?
I would incorporate more preventative medicine into the way we operate as a standard. Utilising medical test results to create targeted pathways for individuals to achieve healthier balanced lifestyles. I had a telomere test done recently at my current place of work, Grace Belgravia, and it showed my biological age as 46, my actual age is 52 in August. I can share that it showed that my vitamin D levels were in the average section of the scale however the lower end and the same with my white blood cells. I know that I have been living a very balanced lifestyle to achieve a result like this and also how I can improve the areas that need slight improvement.
I would also speak to every head teacher and shout from every school rooftop about the diversity of opportunities that come out of this industry. My daughter was a spa therapist and now holds a prestigious role developing medical practices around the UK and The Nordic countries through her love of learning and imparting that knowledge to help others grow their businesses.
Q10 - Finally, What’s your favourite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been given?
If you know ... you must ... need I say more
FLASH FACTS - FOR FUN SECTION
1. What’s your favourite book?
The Alchemist - you can achieve anything when you truly desire it as the universe will conspire to help you to achieve. I have read it on numerous occasions, especially when I was on my own with two small children and working full time.
2. What’s your favourite film of all time?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s I used to sing Moon River to my girls to help them to sleep.
3. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
My parents - they both died so young (aged 62)... we could have one of our crazy picnics and I could introduce them to my grandchildren and reintroduce them to my wonderful daughters who they only knew as children however who are now two beautiful and accomplished women.
4. You get taken to your favourite place to be, where are you taken?
Sunrise anywhere where I am not in a rush.
5. Your perfect dinner is?
Fish scented with lemongrass and ginger, rice and some broccoli cooked with chilli
6. Your go to drink is?
7. Your favourite sweet treat is?
I love raspberries (and would rather have them than a box of chocolates)
8. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent?
I love the scent of lemon grass - it reminds me of Thailand and Vietnam, places I love.
9. You go for a treatment - what do you have and why?
Anything using JK7 products - especially at their retreat at the Sullivan Estate on Honalulu, Hawaii where it is made.
10.What’s your favourite flower?
Primroses - they remind me of my grandmother.
11.You want to sleep deeply, what do you do?
If I’ve time,
Take a long walk with my dogs
Set the scene with candles and relaxing music
Bathe using Essential oils
Eat a healthy light dinner
Settle down and Cuddle up with my dogs listening to the music
... or cut to the last part if there’s no time
12.You want to energise fast, what do you do?
Enjoy a Workshop coffee flat white and do a psycle class - a quick shower, a spritz of lemon and lime spray and a ginger, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice shot and I am good to go. Or just the shot- it’s amazing and such a tonic!
13.The theme tune to your life is?
Queens - Don’t Stop Me Now!
14.What makes you laugh to your belly?
Playing with my two Hungarian vizslas or my grandchildren or both!!
15.What’s your favourite season?
Difficult one I love them all and I’m glad we have them!
16. What’s your favourite colour?
Burnt Orange the colour of the dress I have chosen for my daughters wedding in Mexico in November, the colour of my grandsons hair and the colour of my two dogs.
17. Your favourite time of day is?
Sunrise with my two dogs - I try to see it every day - it is the greatest gift.
18. If you could have been anyone or anything else, what / who would you be?
I do not aspire to be anyone else, I would love to have been a more present version of me sometimes thinking back however I have loved my life so far (even the tricky bits)
19. What’s your current TV guilty secret?
Poldark - need I say more
20. Magic dust - you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?
To play acoustic guitar well so I can be the one who strikes up an indie tune when I have friends round to have a few drinks around a fire (our own mini festival).
Deborah has enjoyed a career of over 25 years in the wellness arena spanning a plethora of luxury sophisticated service industries, including, fitness, wellness, beauty services, beauty retail, salon, spa, and aesthetic, private medical and surgical practice. Deborah’s expertise segways across the operational set up, brand communication and reputation management, development of strategic growth pathways and integration of services coupled with a comprehensive working knowledge of the compliance and governance to build sustainable business models.
Deborah was integral in the development of the highest level of luxury branding within the Urban Retreat at Harrods, notably developing and introducing the Urban Retreat Medispa Brand to the service offering. At Director level, she has most recently been key to the successful growth of the Karidis brand. Deborah set up pop up aesthetic clinics in the Waldorf Astoria at Syon Park and the Beauty Bazaar in Harvey Nichols. In addition, she developed the plans and business strategy for the hugely successful expansion into the consulting suite at the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth in St Johns Wood.