My career has taken me all over the world. It has taught me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. From the early age of 11 years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. My grandparents had just returned from a cruise, and my grandmother was so elated that she was able to have her hair and nails looked after onboard, it was almost the highlight of their holiday! She explained her experience to me… and that was it. I knew I wanted to make other people feel amazing by becoming a therapist and travelling around the world at the same time.
The excitement of travel and having to be the very best at what you do- set my world on fire! I was set, this was the only career that I wanted. So, I worked hard, trained and became a Beauty Therapist and Hairdresser (double the chances). I even applied a year early to Steiner so they knew I was serious! That’s just me- I like to stand out!
Finally when the interviews and trade tests came around, I aced it! Six months later I was flying out to Acapulco, Mexico to meet my first ship. Four years later, and a few management contracts thrown in, I decided to leave life at sea and I traded it for the desert of Dubai.
I spent a total of 13 years in Dubai, as opposed to the one year I had committed to! I managed one of the most prestigious spas in the Middle East, and then went on to manage the number one spa group in Dubai. I was fearless, career hungry and driven!
In order to achieve what I have, there were sacrifices to be made. Mainly my time, and my personal life! I worked long hours, I was committed to each spa I worked in and ran it as if it were my own. I ensured that my team were fully supported and with my client centric approach, service was paramount. Success is not without sacrifice.
I strongly believe that we can do anything we put our minds to. You must be prepared to put the hours in, to have a higher standard than your competitors and think ahead of the curve. Do not stand still, keep evolving and never try to blend in. Show people how good you are, listen to others and learn. There are so many people out there that ‘talk’ the business… unless you have lived and breathed it and worked for it- then where is the sense of satisfaction?
The challenges- most definitely ‘people’. Whether that be recruitment, staffing or clients. People are unpredictable and affect us daily. There is a shortage of therapists globally, and finding the ‘best’ therapists, with a natural flair, healing touch and great work ethics are thin on the ground and retaining them even harder. The therapists that enjoy playing with makeup, and painting nails aren’t necessarily going to make it. However, the therapist with a passion for making a difference to others will go a long way. Overcoming these challenges is all part of your spa experience. Having worked internationally what works in one spa, may not work in another. However, in the UK I would strongly suggest to assist with recruitment, sickness and general turnover, that you sign up with a temp agency, and look at a bank staff of therapists to call on when your short staffed. Have your own temps trained up and ready to call when you need them, as we all know that clients are the last thing you want to cancel in a staffing crisis!
When you are looking at becoming a therapist, ask yourself what kind of therapists do you want to be? How do you want your clients to feel? How committed are you to be the very best version of yourself? Are you focused on others, or more on yourself? Being a therapist is physically demanding and hard work- don’t confuse this with a glamorous career- it’s not! Also, consider that the majority of your working day will be focused on someone else, in a dimly lit room of relaxation- for them, not you!
Should you be considering spa management, again question why you want to take this path. Spa Management can be lonely. The spa industry is still in it’s infancy, hoteliers are only starting to understand what it takes to manage a spa operation successfully, and if you’re stand alone, id recommend you join the UK Spa Association for some support- because it doesn’t matter how long you have been managing, having someone else to bounce your ideas off is the best!
For those who are in the spa industry, and want to progress… its what you do and not what you say. Initiative, positivity, an interest in learning as much as you can about the business you work in, along with the industry will stand you in great stead. Stand out, always strive to do your best and be genuine- an act wont last for life! Be Real, be true and be kind to yourself and others.
Alex Hurt, Spa Director, Weavers' House Spa
To find out more about Weavers' House Spa click here