Taking 10 with...Helen Gilmore

Taking 10 with...Helen Gilmore

Sunday 11th November 2018

By Michelle Hammond

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

My Dad ran a manufacturing business which supplied product into major multiple retailers. As a child I watched him direct everything from sourcing to sales and HR. I saw that although he did bring his work home and sometimes laboured into the night over a calculator and his accounts pad (there were no spreadsheets then!), he was very passionate about his products, people and processes. Even on family holidays he would often call into the nearest B&Q to inspect his product display!

Each and every day he would arrive at work dressed beautifully smart and lead with energy, care, compassion and the shiniest shoes in the business.

Although he unfortunately passed away earlier this year, he did get the chance to tell me how proud he was of what we had already achieved with SLIXIR. He understood the huge challenge of creating an innovative product from scratch and taking it to market.

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

For me, business is all about relationships and how they are conducted. I have worked in several different businesses before my own but by far the most successful ones have always had a focus on nurturing and maintaining great supplier and customer relationships. Take Sweet Squared for instance where I began my pro beauty career and learned all about the industry. Their key message of ‘Love & Respect’, which they carry out with integrity everyday will never get old.

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

The business is still relatively young and I couldn’t really pin point just one decision but I think that any success we have is usually down to lots of smaller decisions, always backed up by hard work.

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

My family are easily the greatest influence on my career and life in general. Between them they have so much valuable experience.

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

Since starting my own business there have been so many challenging decisions to make!

I can’t pin point one singularly bad decision but my worst decisions are always made when I stop following my instinct.

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

Perseverance! My daughter recently won the school cup for ‘Perseverance’. I was so proud of her. It really did mean more to me as a parent than any other award. You really have to be willing to commit and stick at something for a long while to experience meaningful success.

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

I forget things… my house and office are always littered with Post-it Notes and the calendar alerts on my phone have become an essential tool!

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

I think that lack of time to look after yourself is one of the key challenges in running your own business but when we get the opportunity, I love family time more than anything.

A long walk together along one of the beautiful beaches on the Yorkshire coast is the best way to restore balance.

Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be and why?
I would create more dialogue between traditional medicine and the spa and wellness industry.

The spa and wellness industry has so much to give, particularly in alleviating stress related illnesses and rehabilitation or relief from other conditions.

Through my experience with my dad, I learned about palliative care and I think that hospices lead the way in this area in the UK. They often offer aromatherapy massage, yoga, meditation and hydro-therapy to support patients and their families.

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

I think I’d have to turn to my mum on this one. She was a nursery nurse and in trying to discover the cause of, and therefore change, challenging behaviour she would often try to understand what else might be happening in a child’s life. Specifically to ‘walk a mile in this child’s shoes’ before making any judgement.

I am completely under qualified to give out advice but so far my mum’s idea of trying to put myself in someone else’s position has been really helpful in building my business.


1. What’s your favourite book?

I did a literary degree but I am equally at home with Jilly Cooper as I am Jane Austen! They are both so similar and make me laugh out loud. In terms of favourites I’ll go with the essential reading; Riders and Sense and Sensibility.

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

Films aren’t really my thing, much to my children’s frustration.

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

Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden and Charles Revson (the founder of Revlon). The creators of the modern beauty industry. I would love to hear their stories of developing the first formulas and establishing the first beauty salons.

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

Sandsend on the Yorkshire Coast. I love the wild coastline, hunting for fossils and having the whole beach to myself.

4. Your perfect dinner is?

I do love simply grilled lobster and a glass of champagne but failing that fish and chips on the beach is just as good!

5. Your go to drink is?

It all depends on the time of day but first thing I have to have a very big mug of steaming hot filter coffee.

6. Your favourite sweet treat is?

Don’t ask me! Pretty much anything sweet is heaven to me.

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

I’ve worn Chanel Cristalle since I was a teenager. Anyone who really knows me knows this and I love that they recognise it as ‘my scent’. Thank you Chanel!

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

A foot and leg massage every time. I clock up lots of steps every day and this would definitely be a big reward for me.

10.What’s your favourite flower?

Lily of the Valley

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

Make sure my phone is on DND and get to bed early.

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

Listen to my morning playlist. It took a long time to put together but it really works!

13.The theme tune to your life is?

Bach Cello Suite No.1 in G Major. It is spine tingling and it genuinely had a very big impact on my musical taste from the first time I heard it. It’s on Spotify!

14.What makes you laugh to your belly?

I have a Welsh Pembroke Corgi, just thinking of her antics makes me laugh. 

15.What’s your favourite season?

Autumn in the UK is one of the best reasons to travel here.

16. What’s your favourite colour?


17. Your favourite time of day is?

Dawn, I love to get up before everyone else and drink my coffee as the sun rises.

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

I’m genuinely doing my dream job

19. What’s your current TV guilty secret?

I have so many! The Housewives of Cheshire is a must and I also love First Dates. I cry every week just listening to the life stories.

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

Anything sporty. I am probably the least athletic person you could meet but when I’m out running, in my head I’m an Olympian.

Helen holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Warwick and is the Founder of the Yorkshire based brand SLIXIR.

Voted “Woman& Home Best Hand Cream 2018” SLIXIR™ Hand & Polish Cream is the world's first hand cream for nail polish wearers and beyond. SLIXIR™ is a luxurious homecare product which retails in salons and spas throughout the UK.

Helen began her career in the beauty industry at the then UK distributor of Revlon brand CND, Designer Nails. She went on to work for industry leaders Samuel and Samantha Sweet, heading up the marketing team at Sweet Squared until 2014.

Find SLIXIR™ at slixir.com, on Instagram / Facebook: @slixir and in great salons and spas throughout the UK.

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