Sunday 25th November 2018
By Michelle Hammond
Q1 - How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards business?
As the youngest of seven kids there wasn’t lots of money to go around, if I wanted a school uniform that hadn’t been ‘pre-loved’ I had to buy it myself and as the fashions from the 70’s were very different from the 80’s when I was at high school, if you went into school in long collars and blazers the other kids would be brutal! So I got pretty good at earning a few quid, from baby sitting to making car registration plates. I worked every hour I wasn’t at school (to the detriment of my GCSE results) up until the age of 30 I have always had at least two jobs and can never understand when therapists in my team want to drop down to fewer hours as it’s ‘too much’ or call in sick as this was drilled out of us growing up. I really think that it is my work ethic over any skill or intelligence that has got me to my position today as it comes naturally to be the first one in and the last one to finish for the day and (luckily for me) this is becoming a rarer trait.
Q2 - What do you believe the principles of a successful business are today?
The business who puts people at it’s core will have more chance of success, putting the welfare of the team and the satisfaction of the client is going to yield the profits due to less time wasted on recruitment and training new people by retention and more customers wanting to spend their hard earned money with you.
Q3 - Looking back, what was your best business decision?
Switching careers from the travel industry to the Beauty and Spa world, no other industry has so many facets and opportunities for continuous development, to be part of sector who brings wellness and happiness to so many is so rewarding and seems to suit my skill set and keep me motivated.
Q4 - Who has influenced you the most through your career?
The celebrity makeup artist, Daniel Sandler, being chosen to be a part of his team was not only a monumental turning point in my career but I learned from him the importance of treating every single client as though they are the most important person in the world. The other biggest influence is my previous Spa Director Liz Holmes, she understood that building the right team is fundamental and that team members with characterful personalities was a thing to celebrate and to nurture their strengths to give the best most memorable experience to our guests.
Q5 - What was your most difficult / worst business decision?
Opening my own salon when I had only been qualified 18 months, I really wish that I had gotten more experience in the business side of things, my vanity made me want to have my salon in the most prestigious hairdressers in town and have the most exquisite products which of course came at a cost. At first I was doing 10 hour days but making next to minimum wage after expenses, until I worked out that I needed to balance the treatments done in a day – a full day of eyebrow shapes was never going to pay the rent. That said, the lessons I learned from the 4 years in my salon were as good as any business degree and cost considerably less and if I could turn back time I would do the same again.
Q6 - What would you say was the single most advantageous character trait for success?
Perseverance. The ability to stick at something with complete consistency until it yields results, it is so easy to quit when something looks like it is not working out but the amount of times I’ve stubbornly kept going and the result I wanted was just around the corner.
Q7 - What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?
I’ve learned to get a handle on my inner voice, in the past, I would have taken all my stresses and strains home and this would be futile as a clear head would solve most (real or imagined) stresses. I have taken up Calligraphy and this is wonderful for relaxing the mind as you are forced to work really slowly and it feels meditative and meaningful.
Q8 - How do you invest in your own wellbeing. How do you look after yourself?
As well as the Calligraphy, I am studying Spanish, this is a long term investment in my mental wellbeing, we have a fair amount of dementia in the family and learning a language is proven to help keep this at bay. Walking my 14 year dog expends less energy nowadays so I really should replace the miles in the gym, it is on the to do list.
Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be and why?
The perception of spa, to some, ‘spa’ could seem either confusing or inaccessible. The word spa gets used from anything to mammoth resorts to properties who have minimal or no water facilities other than treatment rooms, it must be baffling for the consumer to understand how a spa day at one place can be upwards of £150 at some places and £35 at others. Would love to see more education as to the benefits of using spa facilities and the fact that there are wellness experiences for every budget.
Q10 - Finally, What’s your favourite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been given?
From a plate on the wall in my great Aunt Jessica’s front room when I was little:
“Life is an echo, it all comes back, the good, the false, the true, so give from your heart the best you can and the best will return to you”
FLASH FACTS - FOR FUN SECTION
1. What’s your favourite book?
The magic of thinking big by David J Scwartz – was written a long time ago so sometimes seems charmingly dated but the main message is still relevant.
2. What’s your favourite film of all time?
The Labyrinth – never gets old!
3. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
Anita Roddick, she built a business out of principles such as animal welfare and care for the planet. I would love to listen to her story and hear how she overcame the challenges she faced.
4. You get taken to your favourite place to be, where are you taken?
There is a gorgeous little seafood restaurant in a cove in Fuerteventura where my husband proposed, the views, the food and the ambiance is sublime.
5. Your perfect dinner is?
A big noisy family dinner, the more the merrier.
6. Your go to drink is?
Red wine, a nice Argentinian Malbec
7. Your favourite sweet treat is?
Green and Blacks Sea salt chocolate
8. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent?
Tranquillity by Comfort zone
9. You go for a treatment - what do you have and why?
Anything a bit unusual, I like to go for a Spas signature treatment as this is normally the strengths that they want to showcase.
10.What’s your favourite flower?
11.You want to sleep deeply, what do you do?
Try to tone down the copious coffees in the day
12.You want to energise fast, what do you do?
Get some fresh air and spritz Neom energise
13.The theme tune to your life is?
Ride of the Valkyries!
14.What makes you laugh to your belly?
My team, they are completely on the same wavelength and are so funny.
15.What’s your favourite season?
Autumn, the world is so pretty in Autumn.
16. What’s your favourite colour?
Pink is a happy colour for me
17. Your favourite time of day is?
Morning, a fresh new page every day
18. If you could have been anyone or anything else, what / who would you be?
A bird, I would love to feel the freedom of flight
19. What’s your current TV guilty secret?
Mexican Telenovelas, they are so crazy and dramatic, they make the EastEnders storylines look plausible.
20. Magic dust - you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?
To be able to cook edible food!
A diverse 15 years in the Beauty Industry, spanning Makeup artistry and managing accounts for Estee Lauder and Clarins led Victoria to the world of Spa. A chance conversation with Daniel Sandler celebrity makeup artist landed Victoria a job at the prestigious 5 Red star Rockliffe Hall, where she has worked for coming up to 8 years and as Spa Manager for the last 3 years. Victoria has a passion for developing teams to produce exceptional Spa Experiences every day.
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