Career Wisdom with Rosie Holland, Spa Trainer at Dormy House Hotel & Spa
I was raised in a family pretty much over-run by women and had always looked up to my older sisters and mum whilst growing up; I saw a lot of makeup, hair products and beauty regimes throughout my childhood. Me and my sisters used to play “beauty salons” as children where we would take various lotions and potions from our mums bathroom and pretend to be professionals working in a high street salon. You could say this is where my career started.
Meet Rosie Holland, Spa Trainer at Dormy House Hotel & Spa
I have always been creative and thought I might go into the fashion industry and design my own clothing brand, but when I got to GCSE textiles I realized it wasn’t for me. I did a week of unpaid work experience in the cosmetics department of House Of Fraser, where I was able to play around with different makeup brands and provide mini makeovers on customers to help sell the products. I decided that I wanted to be a makeup artist. Not realising how difficult it was to get into the industry I headed back to school with my career plan in mind. I had to complete a level 2 Beauty Therapy course first for a year in order to get onto a makeup artistry course, but being my determined self and not wanting to feel like I’d only completed “half a job” I decided to complete the level 3 Beauty Therapy course after this as well, to make sure I had the full knowledge of all things Beauty. After two hard years at college I finally enrolled onto a level 3 Media Hair and Makeup artistry course that after completing, I actually realised I enjoyed the beauty and holistic side of my career more, this may have been because I was already working part time during my third year of college. I just loved making people feel good about themselves and seeing the visual and emotional difference a manicure, facial or massage could provide someone. Six years on I’m still working in the spa industry, doing what I love everyday: treating clients, working towards targets and training/supervising other members of the team to help them exceed in their capabilities. I worked my way up to Spa Trainer from starting as a therapist in my current work place, where the standards of treatments are very high and precise, it’s very rewarding to hear the feedback from guests and retain regular clients too, I also got a real buzz from hitting my product retail target as it not only helped my clients achieve their skincare goals, but also enabled me to receive exciting prizes such as spa days, products to use myself and commission based incentives.
Do you find there are any prejudices (good or bad) about choosing this industry as a career?
There used to be a misconception about Spa and Beauty therapy being an easy route to take for people who aren’t sure what to do with their career. Even if the latter were true, it certainly isn’t an easy route. I think you have to have a certain empathy and determination working in the industry, as it really opens your eyes to much deeper things than “just painting nails all day”, it gives you an insight to human health and wellbeing and how spas and the human touch can improve people’s lifestyle in many positive ways. That along with the knowledge on anatomy and physiology and required eye for detail isn’t something you can learn overnight.
How hard/easy was your journey - give some examples of some highs and some lows...
I was lucky enough to be offered a part time spa therapy job after completing work experience at The Montpellier Chapter hotel spa during my Level 3 Beauty Therapy training. The spa manager at the time gave me the chance to learn new skills on the job whilst also doing my training at college. I did miss out on a lot of social activities during my late teens as the hours were long and sometimes unsociable; I was working every Sunday until eight pm. When I got the job at House Spa at Dormy House over five years ago now, I was given intensive training for the product brands and for massage, it was challenging but amazing to learn such new skills. During my career journey I have met people who I will call friends for life, I’ve had the opportunity to develop new skills, attend spa conferences, different spas in the country, and grow and develop personally too.
What’s been your biggest three challenges - and what did you do/are doing to overcome them?
1) Being younger than some of my trainees, I sometimes felt that I wasn’t being taken seriously. During my time working in the spa industry I have learnt to stop taking things so personally and worrying so much about things I may have just made up in my head but use any criticism I do receive as a learning curve to improve
2) All people learn differently and are at different levels in their career: It is sometimes difficult to cater group training sessions to every personal preference, but I think it’s important to get to know the people you are working with on some personal level first and deliver the training in a selection of different strategies as opposed to a one fits all approach so that everyone in the session can feel involved. I always conduct my training in a lead by example way as opposed to just telling people how to do things, I am still learning every day myself off current and new members of the team and always make it clear that I’m open to new suggestions and ideas during training sessions and ask for their feedback to see if there is anything I can do to improve the training for them.
3) Working late shifts can sometimes make it feel like you can’t get anything done at home. With some clever organizing techniques and realizing that there are still the same number of hours in the day whether working 9 till 5 or 12 till 8 I managed to teach myself out of this mindset.
What message would you give to anyone considering a career in Spa?
Working in the spa industry is highly rewarding, there are many different routes that you can take for example; salon, spa, cruise ships, working in different countries, training, management and the list goes on. You meet so many different people which can change you in many positive ways. When working in the spa industry, especially as a therapist, I think its so important to look after yourself properly by having regular treatments yourself as this not only helps you maintain your health and wellbeing but will also help you appreciate the work that you do on your clients even more. It’s also important to think carefully about where you may be considering working. Not all spas or salons operate in the same way, for example all have different turn around time allocated between appointments, some will expect you to responsible for the spa facilities and the reception desk as well as doing treatments and others won’t, shift patterns are all very different wherever you work and retail targets and incentives can vary dramatically. It’s important to do your research and find what works best for you.
What message would you give to people already working in Spa?
I think all spa workers are doing an incredible job and need to remember to thank themselves and each other for their amazing work every day. There is a lot of stress in the world and we are the ones that people come to, to escape from it. I think that’s such an amazing thing to be able to do. Who doesn’t want to spread happiness, joy and relaxation in the world?
To contact Rosie or learn more about Dormy House Hotel & Spa click here