Taking 10 with...Nigel Franklyn

Taking 10 with...Nigel Franklyn

Sunday 8th July 2018

By Michelle Hammond

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

I was a very creative and sensitive kid, but grounded and clear too.  My mum died suddenly when I was young, and I lost myself in the years of recovery that comes from losing a parent in that way. Strangely, I feel fortunate to have walked an intense inward journey to find myself again at such a young age. The journey of recovery has now shaped me more than the experience of loss, I think. It is why I love what I am doing: creating spaces of surrender and connection where people can feel safe and wanted - things I never had the chance to experience as a child. I am driven by the wellness industry. I am driven by the opportunities I get to help people find and develop their light…and perhaps by the opportunities I get to look deeper in to my own. 

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

Always integrity and belief in what you are doing. If you are in the business of wellness, then honesty has to be your biggest motivator - both to yourself and to those who surround you. The most successful people I know in this industry are in it for the right reasons, and that is evident in everything they say and do.  I think it’s important to understand that the intention behind a decision is often more important that the outcome of the decision itself. 

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

Creating The Spa Whisperer and throwing my entire energy and focus in to a relatively undeveloped industry. 

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

People influence me in many different ways. I get influenced by people’s journeys to success, by people’s openness, honesty and vulnerability, and by people’s commitment to their truth. In my early career, I would have to say that the people who influenced me the most were Mark Wuttke (now COO of Babor) and Megan Larsen (founder of Sodashi). They were both an essential part of me learning to navigate a framework of thoughts and fears. I love them both for how they impacted my own life, and for how they continue to influence other people. 

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

I find turning a project down to be the most difficult. I feel guilty if the issue is time, and nervous if the issue is possibility. I’ve never made a decision that has been profoundly terrible, but walking away and losing control of an opportunity effects me. 

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

Passion. Passion. Passion. How you feel is more important than what you know, at least (and especially) at the beginning. Passion (even if it’s something as generic as making money) will take you to the place you need to go to find solutions and develop them. If you’re not driven on an emotion level, you’ll probably give up at the first obstacle. 

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

Youtube holes happen - and I disappear down them for an hour. Never underestimate the power of watching stupid videos. 

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

I have practiced Transcendental Meditation for 6 years. It’s an incredibly effective and powerful tool for the stress and fatigue of my work and travel schedule. It also gives me the permission I need for a little self-celebration every day.  When I am traveling for work, I stick to an unprocessed, Vegan diet, and I work out every day at 6am. Schedule and routine mean a lot to me when I am busy. It’s one less thing to think or worry about. Oh, and I also shower in the dark every night (my number one tip for “at home” wellbeing).

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

I’m frustrated that our industry has evolved so much and so quickly, but colleges haven’t quite kept up. Young people are still arriving to us attached to outdated ideas of spa business, spa culture and therapy. Actively promoting our new wellness identity at the grass roots level would inspire more people to it, I think. Beauty and massage will always be our bread and butter - they are the building blocks of our industry, but we are much, much more than that. Our industry has the ability to transform people physically, personally and spiritually, but our possibilities live and die depending on how we invest, and with whom we invest, for the future. 

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

Years ago I was sitting in the Australian outback in a small village. I was sat speaking about life with a gorgeous 89 year old Aboriginal woman as we brushed off flies and drank beer together. I asked her for her secret to a happy life. She said, “Nige mate, I’ve got one piece of advice; find out what you’re shit at and don’t f*cking do it!”.  I wish I had been taught that earlier in life! 


1. What’s your favourite book ?

Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts. I spent time with him in Mumbai a couple of years ago. He is one of the most incredibly astute and deeply spiritual people I have ever met. Our conversations changed and filled my universe profoundly.

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

This is a difficult one to answer. I love British movies because they are based more on script and performance, rather than high budget affects. Recently, Me Before You made the list of favourites. The book is equally as beautiful. Life of Brian has to be one of my all time favorites though.

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

Nelson Mandela - to thank him for his courage, and Maya Angelou - to thank her for her words. I’d love to have cocktails with Mae West too - not to thank her for anything, but because I think it would be a bloody awesome night.

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

Sitting on a mountainside in Norway watching the Northern Lights - without a doubt!

5. Your perfect dinner is?

Tuna Melt at Orphan Andy’s after an evening with people I love. Orphan Andy’s is my favorite greasy spoon diner at home in San Francisco. I’ve been going there since my early twenties, and it has never changed. I think, because I live in a space of constant change, I like constancy when I go home.

6. Your go to drink is?

Dry white wine - and then ginger tea when I realize I’ve had too much dry white wine.

7. Your favourite sweet treat is?

Without a doubt it’s Sticky Toffee Pudding.

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

Geranium. You put Geranium in anything and I will love it.

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

Indian Head Massage. It gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME! Ayurvedic treatments in general effect me the most energetically and physically. 

10. What’s your favourite flower?

If I were to choose a single flower, it would either be Patricia Rose or a Sunflower. However, if you are buying me a bunch of flowers, then Wild Flowers are the fastest way to my heart.

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

This is embarrassing, actually. If I can’t sleep, I put on Britain’s Most Haunted with Yvette Fielding. I remember her from Blue Peter when I was a kid in the UK...long before I moved to California. I don’t know why, but I just find her and that show really relaxing. This is my guilty, bizarre secret! 

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

Transcendental Meditation. I have been practicing for 6 years. It is the fast way to get focused and energized - and stay focused and energized.

13.The theme tune to your life is?

Always look on the bright side of life (end scene of Life of Brian). I find myself whistling that constantly, and I have done since I was a child. 

14.What makes you laugh to your belly?

Dry, ironic, dirty, sarcastic British humour. I am just a boy at heart! 

15.What’s your favourite season?

Autumn or Spring. I like the intense feeling of change. 

16. What’s your favourite colour?

Pink and baby blue. 

17. Your favourite time of day is?

5.30am when I meditate. Sounds crazy, but I love it. I feel like the world is meditating with me. 

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

I would have been a wealthy character from a Jane Austen novel. I connect very much with the civility and ceremony in her work. 

19. What's your current TV guilty secret?

I am generally afraid that someone is going to look at my Youtube search history and judge me on it. Other than that, I will watch a documentary on anything. I live for a good documentary. 

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

I’d like to say something deep - maybe learn how to save the world -  but the truth is I’d probably waste the magic dust on being able to do the splits or something equally useless. I’m not sure I would change too much. I’ve been particularly blessed.

Nigel Franklyn is The Spa Whisperer: a unique visionary and veteran of the global luxury spa industry. Nigel's incredible, holistic business and design development skills bring a fresh approach to spa experiences, operations and visions.

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