Taking 10 with...Mark Smith

Taking 10 with...Mark Smith

Sunday 14th April 2019

By Michelle Hammond

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

I was once told by a teacher that I would never be more than a pass grade student. I knew inside I could be much more than that. At college my teachers saw I had potential and encouraged me to excel in my course work. With their help (and my parents support) I went on to graduate with a combined Arts and Law degree majoring in politics and International Law. That gave me incredible strength of
character and I learned that I could do anything.

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

Integrity is essential. Everyone talks about authenticity and this is key, but for me it’s honesty and integrity. I have always believed that you reap what you sow. Naturally, hard work is important, and your business connections and networking help to improve your pool of opportunities. Most of my business opportunities come via
referral and from who I know.

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

Going freelance in 2012 was a major stepping stone. I decided to go it alone offering marketing, PR, editorial and copywriting services to businesses. The freedom and flexibility of working for yourself is empowering. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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

Sarah Camilleri – Publisher and founder of European Spa. We met on a press trip and stayed in touch. She asked me if I would like to review a spa for her when she was Editor of Spa Secrets. I was hooked. We reconnected when I went freelance in
2012 and I have written for European Spa since, going onto become Contributing Editor. I have learned business acumen from Sarah and also gained confidence and skills in writing. My work for the magazine has also enabled the most incredible opportunities to travel.

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

I decided to part company with a major client (that was 50% of my income) and it was a difficult decision – but ultimately the right one. It was making me ill and as soon as I resigned the account I felt immediately better. New business came along organically to replace that work. It was tough – but the best decision I could have
made at the time.

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

Integrity – once again.

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

I absorb stress in my body and it affects my stomach. I get a pain in a very specific part of my tummy. I know it’s time to take stock and to meditate more when this happens.

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

I meditate (when I remember), go to the gym 4-5 times a week, eat really well, but maintain balance in everything, I like wine and I like sweet treats, but balance these with healthy options. The 80-20 rule works for me. I love country walks. I also try to laugh. Family Guy is my go-to for a good laugh.

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

I think we focus too much on brands and don’t always give therapists the credit they deserve for their skills and knowledge.

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

‘Be here now.’ I never understood this when I was told this as a University Student. It became clear when I discovered meditation.


1. What’s your favourite book?

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

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


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

ABBA, Kylie and Cher – I have always loved their music.

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

A remote beach anywhere in Greece.

5. Your perfect dinner is?

Vietnamese Pho

6. Your go to drink is?

Red wine

7. Your favourite sweet treat is?

Sticky Toffee Pudding with ice-cream

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

Citrus blends, lemongrass and ginger

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

Deep tissue or sports massage – working at a computer causes strain and tension in my neck, shoulders and glutes.

10.What’s your favourite flower?


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

Warm Bath with Aromatherapy Associates bath oils – usually Deep Relax

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

Star Jumps

13.The theme tune to your life is?

Nothing Can Stop Us – St Etienne

14.What makes you laugh to your belly?

Airplane – the movie

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 would love to live and work in Asia.

19. What’s your current TV guilty secret?

Wentworth Prison

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

To speak French

Mark Smith: Contributing Editor, European Spa and Founder, The Spa Man.

One of the few male spa writers in the world, Mark has been writing about men’s grooming and beauty for over 20 years. A judge for the Asia Spa Awards and Contributing Editor at European Spa magazine, he has written for Vogue, Tatler, The Daily Telegraph, Asia Spa, Luxury Spa Edit, Planet Mindful and Men’s Fitness. Reviewing spas since 2007 he visits around 30 spas a year and regularly speaks about the male spa market. Originally from Tasmania, but now based in London, he also works as a media consultant for beauty brands offering PR, marketing and social media support.
Follow on Instagram: @markthespaman

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