Hello BPL Beauties!
We are a quarter of the way through the year! How are you doing with the up keep of the execution of your goals and New Year resolutions? Are you still as energised as you were at the start of the year or are you feeling jaded and in need of some inspiration?
Well, I have no doubt that Antonia Burrell, founder of the premium skincare line that bears her name, will be a bountiful source of inspiration. It is a privilege to feature her as my MYOB Black Beauty Entrepreneur for April.
Antonia Burrell has been named as one of the foremost facialist in the UK by leading publications such as Tatler and the Beauty Bible and her clients travel from around the globe to experience the magic of her healing hands. She counts journalists, music artists and royalty amongst her clientele.
Here skin care line comprises of 100% natural formulations that ‘respect and understand the true physiology of beauty’.
BPL: Tell us about your career in beauty.
AB: I trained at the London College of Fashion and during my training, I had a passion to create my own line…one day!
I started as a junior beauty therapist assisting the seniors and doing very basic treatments at the Sanctuary 21 years ago. The money wasn’t great and I had just graduated and needed to supplement my income. I asked the manager for a copy of the retail product training manual and read it everyday on my journeys to and from work until I was confident in my knowledge of the products. As a result my retail sales increased, I earned commission on each sale and I quickly progressed to become a senior therapist and after two years I was promoted to Head of Retail.
I then left to manage the salons at Holmes Place (now Virgin Active) Chelsea and Barbican branches and started a teacher training course.
After a year, I landed a job as Business Manager at Aveda UK, where I won awards for generating the highest percentage growth in the UK 3 years on the trot.
Then, I was head hunted and became Director of Sales and Education for a Canadian skincare line. It was after this role that I decided to set up my own business and run my own salon which grew into three within two years. I was also an Associate Lecturer at the University of Arts teaching the Chemistry of Aromatherapy during this time – so I had a lot on!
BPL: What made you decide to start your own business?
AB: Starting the salon business was a suggestion from friends. The beginnings of creating my own product line came from a number of clients in each of the salons, who were presenting problematic skin conditions for which there were no suitable products to alleviate the symptoms.
BPL: Creating your own brand can seem like a daunting process, what steps did you take to turn your idea into a reality?
Research research research! I started mixing in my kitchen and then started to sell the brand within my salons that I owned at the time. This allowed me to garner invaluable feedback about the fragrances of the products the packaging and most importantly the results. The feedback was both positive and negative but I was able to build on it to refine and perfect the product offering.
BPL: Your products are retailed in the Urban Retreat in Harrods and Beauty Mart in Harvey Nichols. What advice would you give to others who wish to see their products listed in such prestigious retail environments?
BPL: What challenges did you face when starting and growing your business and how did you over come these?
AB: Challenges are times when we learn and grow. There was the challenge of letting the world know about the brand and its benefits and the challenges of selling the items and maintaining a healthy cash flow to manage everyday expenses such as maintaining an office space, paying for business telephone numbers and broadband and even paying for things such as postage! Positive cash flow is essential to be able to continue to grow and develop. I was able to keep making progress by writing a solid plan and simply taking one day at a time.
BPL: What 3 tips would you give to anyone who aspires to follow in your footsteps.
AB: Know and understand your target customer, understand the market you wish to enter, and take the leap and grow wings on the way!