|Q: When you started your first clinic 29 years ago, did you dream that you would grow into owning seven clinics? Or did this dream evolve as you grew?
No not at all. There’s always a catalyst in any major decision. For me, my catalyst was being unable to secure enough therapy hours where I worked as a therapist so I decided to leave and start a business. Within 6 weeks the doors opened. I was a naïve 22 year old who dove in the deep end. It wasn’t until much later, that I really thought about what I had committed to.
Q: In your opinion, what does it take to be successful in the industry today?
I think both the industry and business in general have changed.
Q: What advice do you have for someone starting off new in our industry?
It’s a labour of love! It is so rewarding to be able to have such a profound effect on people. You spend a third of your life at work – so you have to LOVE what you do. Work hard, invest in yourself by up skilling and learning, always! We have a saying at About Face “do you have 5 years’ experience or 1 years’ experience you’ve repeated 5 times?” Keep challenging yourself and grow.
Q: How did you get to be where you are today?
Through much hard work! By always implementing anything I learnt at courses along the way. Having the courage to take “my hands off” in order to grow others. Gathering great people alongside me and genuinely wanting to develop them to grow. We all have strengths- I like to play to people’s strengths. One of my strengths is being a visionary, following my intuition and thinking outside the square. I’m a Big Picture thinker. Involving my brother Paul into my business helped us grow and I don’t believe I would have had the support and back up if I hadn’t made that decision to share my business. He complements me – enforces the systems, the detail and planning, which have made About Face synonymous with quality, consistency and excellence as we’ve grown.
Q: Looking back at your About Face journey, what was your biggest challenge?
Definitely moving into the Malls. I had a successful business model, which I had already duplicated with two stores, a new-born baby (one week old) and a toddler and I decided to open NZ’s first Clinic in a Westfield Shopping Centre. I wanted to take on the Department Stores and Pharmacy’s head on as I was tired of them taking our retail sales, as therapists. Passionate about our industry’s knowledge and expertise, I wanted the public to know the difference and to make Beauty Therapy main stream and not in the closet.
What I hadn’t factored was just how much my turnover had to increase to make a profit with such high rents. So I talked my husband into coming home fulltime and I went back to drive the business from the front- receptionist! In three months, our turnover increased 220% and I could see it was possible to make it a success!
Q: What do you look for in an About Face team member?
Attitude definitely. A warm, friendly manner and an excellent communicator is the next most important thing. I need to see passion for what they do and a desire to grow and learn. Someone who wants to be the best version of themselves they could possibly be. I always say “with training we can fix anything, but the desire and the want has to be there”. So I employ on attitude and train for aptitude.
Q: How do you reward & motivate your team?
In so many ways. Let’s separate the two:
To motivate – we aim to inspire the girls by getting alongside them and coaching them to excellence. To make it fun, we are all doing it together. We have daily huddles for focus to set goals. One on one development each week, stimulating all- team educational workshops, annual individual goal setting each year and lots of learning…. All the time.
To reward- we set individual and team targets. We love to recognise great work and high performance, so we have weekly recognition at team level, living legend awards every couple of months, so people can be acknowledged in front of the whole About Face family. With each marketing promotion, we have prizes. For example at the moment the girls are driving towards a coveted deadly ponies hand bag, a mystery weekend away and a boarding pass to join me on a trip to Melbourne later this year. We try to head off shore each year to reward those who have worked hard and made the grade. We also have annual awards in many categories. Last year’s Gold Club recipients joined me last month in Fiji for a few days. We like to have group treats like a spa experience all together or a restaurant meal out to get to know each other socially. The team that plays together, stays together. The girls work hard and strive to achieve personal best, so we like to reward extra ordinary performance.
One of the things I’m most proud of, is our ability to keep our teams together. Last month we had three people celebrate 10 years and almost half our team have been with us for five years or more. In an industry where one is lucky to have girls stay more than a year, I know we do this well, and that makes me happy.
Q: Where would you like to be in two years’ time?
Enjoying a little more time off! Travelling with my husband more.... Who am I kidding? I’ll probably have another clinic to get my teeth into and more people to develop. It’s who I am!
Q: What inspires you? And did you seek advice along the way?
Inspire is a great word. I’ve always wanted “to Inspire Women to grow”. I consider it my life’s purpose and it’s what drives me. I believe our industry is full of caring beautiful women, who need to develop their own skills in confidence and speaking up, so that’s what keeps me focussed.
The people who inspire me are the gorgeous women I’ve surrounded myself with, who I get to enjoy working alongside, every day. They are so talented in their own right. I’m just the “Conductor” and they are the orchestra. Together we make beautiful music.
Q: You are such an inspirational success story and testimony to our industry, if there is one thing that could sum up your success to date, what is it?
Thank you that’s not how I see myself and very generous of you to say. Hard work and drive makes success. I’ve always given 100% of myself every day – to the client I was working on back in the old days, to my team and to my work. If you genuinely love what you do – you’ll do it well.