Taking 10 with...Don Genders

Taking 10 with...Don Genders

Sunday 24th February 2019

By Michelle Hammond

Q1 - How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards

My family were small business owners and I worked in the business at
weekends and school holidays from 12 years old, so learned old fashioned ethics
on hard work and customer care.

Q2 - What do you believe the principles of a successful business are today?

Nothing has changed, hard work, customer care and in my specific field today,
product knowledge and high standards are essential.

Q3 - Looking back, what was your best business decision?

To start my own business initially and identifying the growth potential of the spa and wellness industry as early as 1991.

Q4 - Who has influenced you the most through your career?

The first person I ever considered a mentor was the late Ernst Egner of Klafs in Germany who I first met in 1991. He is the man who enthused me about the spa industry and taught me thermal bathing was all about wellness and health promotion.

Q5 - What was your most difficult / worst business decision?

Letting people go is always the worst task of any business owner, but sadly in 2008/9 we had to trim the business down to cope with the recession.

Q6 - What would you say was the single most advantageous character trait for

Honesty, integrity and helpfulness are all equally important to me.

Q7 - What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?

I take a sauna, rest and relax.

Q8 - How do you invest in your own wellbeing. How do you look after yourself?

I take a sauna, rest and relax.

Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what
would it be and why?

I would like everything in the Guide to Hydrothermal Spa and Wellness Development Standards to become the globally accepted benchmark of quality.

Q10 - Finally, What’s your favourite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price.” – Benjamin Franklin


1. What’s your favourite book ?

The Gun – CS Forester

2. What’s your favourite film of all time?

Guns of Navarone – the first film my father took me to see and one I have never forgotten.

3. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

Winston Churchill, as I would be fascinated to hear his views on the current
political situation vis a vis the UK’s current relationship with Europe and the
realisation of some of his prophesies in other areas.

4. You get taken to your favourite place to be, where are you taken?

The Gower Coast, South Wales

5. Your perfect dinner is?

Shared with friends and those I love.

6. Your go to drink is?

Life is too short to drink bad wine, beer, gin….

7. Your favourite sweet treat is?

Ice Cream

8. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent?


9. You go for a treatment - what do you have and why?

Hot Stone massage, 90 minutes. I love the way the heat gradually penetrates your body, one day I will stay awake long enough to fully appreciate the full therapy!

10. What’s your favourite flower?

Daffodil, the national flower of Wales – what else?

11. You want to sleep deeply, what do you do?

Lavender essential oil on the pillow.

12. You want to energise fast, what do you do?


13. The theme tune to your life is?

We Are The Champions – I have always tried to be the best at what I do, so it seems appropriate, I would like to be seen as a champion of something some day. At present my Grandson tells me I am his champion, who could ask for more?

14. What makes you laugh to your belly?

British humour, done well.

15. What’s your favourite season?


16. What’s your favourite colour?


17. Your favourite time of day is?

Early morning

18. If you could have been anyone or anything else, what / who would you be?

I am exceptionally happy with who I am and what I do, envy has never been
something I have allowed to have a place in my life.

19. What’s your current TV guilty secret?


20.  Magic dust - you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?

Kite surfing

Don Genders is one of the world’s leading experts in the design and implementation of hydrothermal spas and wellness facilities. Don founded Design for Leisure in London in 1991 and his infectious passion, innovative creativity and considerable knowledge have led to DFL working on some of the finest spas in the world on five continents over 28 years. Don has been the elected Chair of the Global Wellness Institute Hydrothermal Initiative since 2012 and was a driving force in the origination of the Guide to Hydrothermal Spa & Wellness Development Standards which published its third edition in 2018.

Learn more about Design for Leisure

Connect with Don: 

Email: dgenders@designforleisure.com

Want to learn more about what’s possible, practical and beneficial in the treatment room for those with chronic health conditions?

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