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Professional Beauty brings to you our Powerful Women series – interviews with the leading ladies behind some much-loved salon industry brands across the skincare, cosmetics and technology spaces. Anita Quade caught up with Dermalogica Advocate and Stockist, Nicole Grantham.

Nicole Grantham – tell us what inspired you to set up your business, Bespoke Facial & Body Clinic.

“I had spent years in my career working for a big day spa company, both treating clients and training new therapists to the appropriate standard that they required, while supporting them in their role as therapist. As much as I loved my job, I felt the desire to do more. Something was missing, both for myself in my career and for clients alike. I saw there was a need for something more in our industry.

The only options for facial treatments at the time were either a day spa, which was heavily relaxation focused with very little consultation and minimal results, or a Medispa which was more results oriented but presented a cold and sterile environment that was often unwelcoming. I wanted more variety for clients, tailored to each concern and visit.

There was a definite and obvious middle space in the beauty/dermal industry that wasn’t being utilised to offer clients BOTH. Clients now wanted more education around their clinical treatments. They wanted better results from their facials, they wanted customisation, yet still desired that warm, relaxing touch and a chance to switch off while feeling pampered.”

What was your goal?

“I had a dream to create a sanctuary; a beautiful facial clinic where people would come to not only address a skin concern or to relax and take time out, but to feel better about themselves. I dreamt of a space that would feel safe for people to be vulnerable and know that they were in the best hands and that we truly cared about them. I also wanted my team to feel supported and respected. I did not want them to feel like they were just a number, someone who was easily replaceable. I wanted to create a wholesome workplace family and in turn, our clients would feel the same, like they were part of that extended family.”

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Nicole Grantham with her team at Bespoke Facial & Body Clinic

What was one of the hardest challenges starting out?

“It is the same challenge I still have now, 3.5 years later. I constantly question if there is value in what I am providing. Should I invest in this? Will clients like this? Will this be successful? Believing in myself is also still my biggest challenge.

Juggling my personal life with my work life is a continued challenge, as it would be for most working mothers, but especially since I became a business owner. Finding a healthy balance to look after my family and my work family is a constant adaptation, depending on the ebs and flows of owning a business.

In the beginning I often thought to myself, how can I compete with other clinics/salons/spas? Why would clients choose to come to me instead of them? Would they put their trust in me?

Because of this recurring self doubt, I decided to set myself very small, realistic goals. Once I started to achieve each goal, my confidence grew, my business was beginning to blossom and I soon realised that I am not competing with anyone else. I am following my own dream and have my own beliefs about what I want to achieve in this industry. I have my own set of unique values that will attract my clientele, which will always be different to the ‘salon down the road’ who have their own set of values for their own type of clientele.”

Being a powerful woman as a business leader – what is an important piece of advice you can share with your peers?

“Not everything is going to go as planned, sometimes your plan will need to change. Learn to evolve and continue moving forward for the benefit of yourself and your team. Always be supportive of those around you, especially your work family. Be present and available for them to lean on because you never know when you might need support in return.

Have open and honest conversations with your team about how the business is evolving and take on their ideas as food for thought, often your team are on the frontline receiving feedback or cultivating ideas about things that potentially hadn’t crossed your mind yet! Everyone has their own dreams; help support your work family with their dreams. In return you will have a successful, loyal and fulfilling relationship, as well as a reputation as being a fair and understanding employer. Never underestimate how far an employee review will reach.”

“This industry is filled with a multitude of ideas and so much skill, knowledge, perseverance, education and individuality
– it’s just an honour to be a part of it all.”

How have you found the support from likeminded women in the industry (any examples)?

“Being part of the Dermalogica Advocate Program has also allowed me to feel supported by our skincare supplier on another level, which has obviously been a huge honour for me, too. I am also able to reach out to other Advocates and bounce ideas off each other and form new relationships.

Online forums have been especially helpful for me. They have been a real game changer when it comes to my personal and business growth alike, as I am sure many other business owners would agree. The likes of Gry Tomte particularly stand out to me, as she communicates personally [to other industry representatives], which has served as a comforting hug, business owner to business owner.

The motivation and inspiration I have received from having that constant access to experienced and renowned dermal experts has been a crucial sense of support – simply by knowing that they are all there for someone like me! There is no judgement or ‘competition’ which is genuinely refreshing.”

What is it you love most about being an industry trailblazer?

“I don’t know if I would consider myself a ‘trailblazer’ as such, but if my passion for the beauty/dermal/skin Industry and my determination in business can influence or inspire one other person to chase their dreams and take a chance on themselves, then that would be more than enough for me. This industry is filled with a multitude of ideas and so much skill, knowledge, perseverance, education and individuality – it’s just an honour to be a part of it all.

The beauty/dermal industry still excites me just as it did when I first dipped my toe in it 18 years ago. The evolution of the products we use, the technology we invest in, the results we can achieve and the types of people committed to skin is all a fascinating journey filled with innovation and creativity. These are the types of things that make me fall in love with our industry over and over again.

It brings me so much joy and fulfilment, as it does to my team, when we are lucky enough to celebrate that with each other.”

A cut-down version of this article originally appeared in the March-April 2022 print issue of Professional Beauty.

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