Sunday 24th March 2019
By Michelle Hammond
Q1 - How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards business?
My mother was a science teacher before having children and my father, a management consultant. When I was young they started a company delivering tech solutions to large organizations. Entrepreneurship runs in the family! I had a paper round from the age of 13 and always had the drive to be independent.
Q2 - What do you believe the principles of a successful business are today?
Adaptability – it’s important to be able to change quickly in an evolving market.
Integrity – Stick to your word, do the right thing, and conduct business with integrity.
Kindness – be first to help others when you can and get involved with initiatives that inspire you and support the community, locally or globally, in some way. Like karma, it will all come back around.
Q3 - Looking back, what was your best business decision?
Firstly, starting my company. I didn’t have quite as much money as I had hoped saved, I didn’t have everything planned out (although I had spent months on the plans), but taking the leap when I did was the best thing I ever did, it felt right!
Secondly, keeping my business running even when any expert or consultant would have advised me to close it down. It made no money, I worked another job to support myself, but something inside me wouldn’t let go and knew to keep moving forward with the vision. Some key decisions, alliances, mentors and opportunities helped me expand what I offer to the industry and proved to be worthwhile. It’s still a work in progress, there’s always more to learn and there are still times we all struggle.
Q4 - Who has influenced you the most throughout your career?
I have been lucky enough to work with several great leaders and colleagues throughout my career, however the worst manager I ever worked with was actually the trigger for me leaving to set up my own company and become an entrepreneur. So… thanks!
Q5 - What was your worst business decision?
Keeping myself behind the scenes. As a natural introvert (albeit a very sociable one) I didn’t put myself forward as the face of the brand and make myself known at first. I felt that could have been perceived as egotistical in some way, when in reality it would have allowed people to know more about my passions, the brand, and me. Now, I engage actively on social media with live videos, I launched a podcast interviewing industry experts, I accept speaking engagements at industry events and I’m so grateful that all of this has been well received and has contributed to the success of Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe.
Q6 - What would you say is the single most advantageous character trait for success?
Q7 - What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?
I’m human. I get frustrated and I act ungracefully at times. I try to eliminate experiences that create stress in my life as much as possible.
Q8 - How do you invest in your own wellbeing? How do you look after yourself?
I start most days that I am home in Playa del Carmen, with meditation at home before heading out to my yoga class. I spend a lot of time in spas, and while my brain is often reviewing and critiquing of course, there is still a lot of enjoyment also. I have an amazing network of friends both where I live and internationally and I never go long without talking to my family. These personal connections are very fulfilling to me.
Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be and why?
Integrity and authenticity – I see and hear so many spas talk about sustainability, yet they serve water in plastic bottles or cups and actively encourage the use of 4, maybe 5 towels, per guest in the hydrotherapy area with no regard to sustainable practices.
I hear companies talk about wellness and caring for their guests, yet their staff works 50-60+ hours a week and are exhausted.
We need more people in the industry to live and breathe wellness and practice what they preach.
Q10 - Finally, What’s your favourite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The Universe has your back!
FLASH FACTS - FOR FUN SECTION
1. What’s your favourite book?
The War on Women - Sue Lloyd Roberts: It’s a harrowing read in places, but some very important stories are well told. It’s interesting historically, culturally, religiously and politically.
2. What’s your favourite film of all time?
Love Actually or Notting Hill, I will likely cry at both also.
3. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
The creator of the Universe, because I would love to know all the answers, to everything!
4. You get taken to your favourite place to be, where are you taken?
My apartment in Playa del Carmen; it’s my sanctuary.
5. Your perfect dinner is?
British roast dinner, with Yorkshire Puddings. Chocolate volcano for dessert.
6. Your go to drink is?
7. Your favourite sweet treat is?
8. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent?
9. You go for a treatment - what do you have and why?
A well executed four-handed massage, pure bliss!
10.What’s your favourite flower?
11.You want to sleep deeply, what do you do?
Enjoy thermal waters/hot springs or a hydrotherapy area with sauna, steam room, hot and cold pools
12.You want to energise, what do you do?
Exercise, stretch, fast, inhale an uplifting blend of essential oils
14.What makes you laugh to your belly?
I’ve probably lost hours of my life following hilariously witty, social media discussions – but if they make you laugh to your belly; surely it’s worth it?
15.What’s your favourite season?
Winter in Playa del Carmen (which means summer in most places!)
16. What’s your favourite colour?
Pink and turquoise
17. Your favourite time of day is?
Mid morning, I’ve finished yoga and I’m enjoying my Jasmine Blossom Green Tea and starting my day.
18. If you could have been anyone or anything else, what / who would you be?
Very happy to be me!
19. What’s your current TV guilty secret?
The Assassination of Gianni Versace
20. Magic dust - you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?
Speaking fluent Spanish. It’s a constant work in progress and I improve each year, but I dream of one day being 100% fluent.
Sara’s passion for wellness inspired her to launch Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe magazine, this industry and consumer publication directly impacts the thriving spa communities in Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America delivering international information allowing professionals at all levels easy access to current knowledge and support available to them through suppliers, events, expos and educational resources.
Since its 2010 launch Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe has become the go-to resource for
professional and consumers alike with spa reviews, annual Product Awards and Annual Spa Awards.
Sara operates the consulting practice AraSpa Consulting providing consulting services to spa and wellness entities. Sara chairs the Global Wellness Institute initiative for Women in Leadership helping females across the wellness industry to further their careers and companies to achieve equality and diversity. Sara speaks at industry events and wellness retreats and gatherings. A creator, writer, traveler, entrepreneur, wellness enthusiast, avid dancer and eternal optimist; Sara embraces life at every turn.