Sunday 17th February 2019
By Michelle Hammond
Q1 - How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards business?
From an early age I was always taught that hard work, dedication and a passion for whatever you do in life are essential. My father shaped my educational development immensely and always pushed my sister and I towards success. He worked hard, was very successful and professionally an amazing role model. He believed if you
possessed a skill and were good at something it was up to you to push that forward and maximise your potential. At school I definitely wasn’t the popular kid but I was always focused on getting good grades!
Q2 - What do you believe the principles of a successful business are today?
I believe in today’s current climate courage is one of the key attributes needed. Business needs more entrepreneurs, more risk takers, disruptors and boundary pushers. My other passion is people and a successful business always puts its people first. Looking after your best people is the best investment a business can make long term. Talent retention plans, trust and empowerment remain core to success. Finally originality and standing out in a saturated market, what makes the business unique and special, there has to be a captivating message.
Q3 - Looking back, what was your best business decision?
I think honestly I am currently in the process of just realising my best decision! I decided finally this year to pursue my consultancy dream and work independently. It really is the best of both worlds, I can work with amazing brands that I love in a spirit of collaboration and also pursue different projects that excite me. Even if you are scared your gut will tell you what the right thing to do is. Pursuing an independent business venture is always a huge step but if you work hard and know what you want to achieve its so rewarding.
Q4 - Who has influenced you the most through your career?
I would say I have been lucky to have a few amazing mentors in my career and professional life in general, I think this is so important and they do not always have to be within the organization you work or even the same industry. Like minded people attract each other and I have been very lucky in the last few years to have two in particular that have done that in such a positive way. One of them I have actually gone into business with! The complicity you can have with this type of person can really help your development. So a huge thank you to Matt and Martin for helping me see business from a very different perspective these last few years. They have taught me that if you want something enough; you are prepared to work and you have the skill set needed you can achieve it. I have enormous respect for entrepreneurs we need more of them, I hope to become better and better in this field.
Recently I have had support from a friend in Canada Machael Varrichio, Machael heads up a very successful skin care distribution and consulting business. He has become the expert and go to person for indie brands in Canada. I think its always important you have an example of how you want to do something and where you want your own business or vision to go. Mentors are so essential, try and learn from people who have been successful!
Q5 - What was your most difficult / worst business decision?
Sometimes we all have difficult decisions to make, ones which with hindsight we may have looked at differently. I chalk them down to learnings. We are always learning, so like everybody I have made decisions I would perhaps re-visit if I had my time again. However I always made them with all the information I had at the time, and by trying to do the right thing big picture wise. The one thing I have learnt - do not try to make yourself fit to a culture or model where you do not clearly fit. That happens to many people in their careers. Simply have the strength to take stock, re-evaluate and leave behind any experience which is not contributing to your growth or well being.
Q6 - What would you say was the single most advantageous character trait for success?
A very simple notion- belief. There will always be those that surreptitiously try to block your growth because they may believe its not right for you. Ironically they are usually the ones closest to you such as family members and friends. They are normally coming from a good place, but cynicism and comfort are the biggest obstacles to growth. If you believe whole-heartedly that what you are doing is right for you, try to block out the negativity or skepticism disguised by well meaning.
I read an amazing book by Felix Dennis once and quite often he describes how human beings can sabotage each others growth in a sleuth like manner, very usually because they lack the courage to drive forward themselves. I think we have a responsibility for each others growth especially in our industry. The noblest art is that of making others happy and aiding them in their own journey.
Q7 - What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?
I try to take preventative measures beforehand, but I am human so it does happen! I just cannot focus and have difficulty falling asleep, it physically manifests through nose bleeds, that’s when I know I really have to take some time away from a situation causing me stress.
Q8 - How do you invest in your own wellbeing. How do you look after yourself?
I am very passionate about cooking and good food. Cooking helps me disconnect and enter a different headspace. I also have some relaxation techniques which I call my “memory palace” It involves invoking positive memories, moments and experiences to take me to a safe space. It really works! I am a huge product junkie so I look after my skin and try to go for regular treatments when I can. I also find a walk and fresh air can help you disconnect. For me seeing friends and talking with others is a huge part of my wellness too.
Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be and why?
My biggest passion to continue to evolve would be the development of the people that make the industry what it is. As a country nationally I believe the UK must invest more into quality education, courses and mentorship of our therapists. We need to place more value on them, have first rate development programs, better remuneration and up-skilling. They are the ones treating clients and guests every day. The industry needs them more than anything else. I look forward to always trying to do my bit to promote this area, it is our biggest area of opportunity as an industry. I also wish we would all look after our own wellness more in this industry and create space for the balance needed to thrive.
Q10 - Finally, What’s your favourite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I am a huge Simon Sinek fan so the quote I love from him really resonates for me-
“To play it safe means you’ll always end up with mediocrity” Be passionate about whatever you do, if you are not find something that makes you passionate.
Mark Anthony also put it well- “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”
FLASH FACTS - FOR FUN SECTION
1. What’s your favourite book?
I would say the Game of Thrones books a song of fire and ice. George RR Martin is a genius and can transport you far away from where you are. I am also obsessed with the TV show, best thing I have ever watched!
2. What’s your favourite film of all time?
Tough one, but I would probably say The Shawshank Redemption. Its actually the message of hope and change in the most desperate situation that is powerful.
3. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
Probably Hillary Clinton, I think her time as Secretary of State in a changing world must have been truly fascinating.
4. You get taken to your favourite place to be, where are you taken?
To Sacre Coeur basilica on the hill at Montmartre in Paris, just before going to my favourite Parisian bistro.
5. Your perfect dinner is?
Scallops to start with followed by Beef Wellington and Dauphinois potatoes!
6. Your go to drink is?
Usually red wine though my husband and I are avid gin collectors so I do love a Gin and tonic!
7. Your favourite sweet treat is?
I am actually not a huge sweet fan but I adore Krispy Kreme donuts!
8. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent?
I love Rosemary as its so uplifting, doing some work now with Aromatherapy Associates is amazing as I can experience all these beautiful hand blended oils. Also a massive fan of Lavender for the anti inflammatory and whole host of benefits it has. In terms of scent I love sweet, rich smells such as oud, vanilla and sandalwood but also the delicate nature of rose.
9. You go for a treatment - what do you have and why?
Nine times out of ten it will be a well being or aromatherapy style massage. It allows me to drift away, melt away troubles and unlock the door to my infamous “memory palace”. The connection between human beings is important, in an ever evolving digital world where so much communication is via a screen, human touch and making another human being feel better is more important than ever.
10.What’s your favourite flower?
I have a few favourites but my top picks are Orchids for their exuberant beauty and staying power, Lilies for their flamboyance and Hyacinths for their understated class!
11.You want to sleep deeply, what do you do?
Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax bath and shower oil without a doubt. For those times I cannot switch off it’s the only ritual that works, the vetivert and sandalwood not only smell divine but are sedatives.
12.You want to energise fast, what do you do?
Well I am trying to rely less on coffee for this and trying to walk instead when I can or I just think about my to do list and the tabs open in my head and that usually does the trick! :-)
13.The theme tune to your life is?
Time to Pretend by MGMT, I am a hedonist!
14.What makes you laugh to your belly?
My friends especially two friends who are prone to laughing fits, my humour is very easy, I find most things funny! My advice- laugh more!
15.What’s your favourite season?
Winter, I’m a proud Northerner!
16. What’s your favourite colour?
Royal blue/indigo colour, its so deep, rich and decadent.
17. Your favourite time of day is?
Night time I am a real night owl and find my best ideas and thoughts come to me then!
18. If you could have been anyone or anything else, what / who would you be?
Foreign Secretary, I love to travel and am very passionate about global geo-politics. Different languages, cultures and countries fascinate me and I think I possess pretty good diplomacy and negotiation skills.
19. What’s your current TV guilty secret?
Friday Night Dinner with Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal, it makes me howl with laughter. Easy watching, though I do not feel guilty about it at all!
20. Magic dust - you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?
To learn all the romance Latin languages! I am half French and very proud of my heritage and culture, I am bi-lingual but would also magically like to master Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian!
Thomas MacPherson Le Maire has worked in the beauty, spa and wellness industry for 16 years. Originally a qualified counsellor and Psychotherapist he worked in beauty roles while he studied. He became hooked on skin care and make up. He worked his way up from shop floor in 2006 to senior roles in French skin care giants Clarins where he spent 8 years. He has also headed up the European and African markets for Intraceuticals, and launched the spa/clinic concept for Bioeffect in the UK. He is now heading up his own business consultancy ventures working collaboratively with brands on project work and paths to market. He is a committed servant leader who believes in mentoring for success.
Connect with Thomas: email@example.com
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