Career Wisdom with Amy Harper, Group Spa Trainer, Gaia Spa and Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa
For me the spa industry was a real gamble I was 16 and had no clue what I wanted to do, I didn’t have any particular subjects at school that I excelled at, so I took a chance as my friends and family had said ‘I was good with my hands’ – happily it turned out to be the best decision I have ever made, I discovered something that I was not only good at but I felt so passionate about and eager to learn more!
What route did you take in?
I studied level 2 in Beauty Therapy and was very lucky to receive my first job in a spa following a successful week’s work experience five a 5-star spa in Bath. This encourages me to study my Level 3 Beauty.
I worked for a fantastic spa manager who was incredibly inspiring, she had a keen interest in holistic therapies and nutrition, so I decided to study a further 3rd year in holistic therapies such as Reflexology, Indian head massage, Lymphatic massage and Onsite massage. I continued to work in the spa whilst learning which really helped develop my skills and confidence.
Do you find there are any prejudices (good or bad) about choosing this industry as a career?
When I first went to college to learn my trade the industry was very big on A-Levels and universities study so I felt judged for going straight to college and not getting a degree in anything, but to be very honest I have been a lot more successful in my career than some of my friends who now don’t use the degrees they studied very hard to achieve.
On the other hand, whilst travelling I met a lot of people who were very impressed with my choice of career and the fact, I could travel with this use it all over the world.
How hard/easy was your journey - give some examples of some highs and some lows...
I can honestly say I love my career and have enjoyed every moment, there are always struggles when working in hospitality, but you gain a huge sense of achievement after a long day or transforming a stressed client into a relaxed happy customer.
There have been many highs in my career from getting my first 5-star spa job after my work experience to travelling and working in Australia to building a brand-new spa team and creating a very profitable business in my first spa managers role.
I am excited that I still have so much to learn and experience.
What’s been your biggest challenges - and what did you do/are doing to overcome them?
Learning to believe in myself – as a young spa manager I was very hard on myself and constantly looked for flaws or focused on what I hadn’t achieved. It was my GM that took me aside and took the time to show me what I had done and how profitable this business was, she made me realise it’s important to celebrate your achievements as well as looking ahead to what's next!
Finding my true passion – I have taken many routes in my career from therapist, Spa Manager, events, and teaching. When I returned from my travels I tried new avenues and then went back to management then by exploring different paths it enabled me to find out what I am truly passionate about which is training and development. I love this industry and now really enjoy working with new and experienced therapists to continue their journey.
What message would you give to anyone considering a career in Spa?
It’s a fantastic industry with so much diversity and many paths to take, if it’s something that interests you, don’t be afraid to try as many experiences as possible to look for your passion
What message would you give to people already working in Spa?
Be proud you work for such a growing inspiring industry, the spa world is expanding more each year, and again don’t be afraid to learn new skills or try a different direction if you’re feeling like you need a fresh boost of inspiration.
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