Every journey starts with a moment of inspiration, coupled with a deep understanding of a situation. Abi Selby's moment of inspiration came in 2006 when she began honing her vision for changing the way we experience the spa industry.
Having been working in the spa world for the better part of a decade, she became focused on a commitment to showcasing the many incredible experiences that spas have to offer, and making it easier for more people to enjoy them.
This was to be the founding basis of Spabreaks.com which went on to launch in 2008. Here's her story (so far)...
Making the spa industry better for everyone
Having personally been told that she wouldn’t amount to anything in the workplace by a teacher at school, Abi Selby founded Spabreaks.com just four months after her first son was born. Now a mother of three, her ethos remains central to everything the company is today.
Abi previously worked as a journalist before quickly deciding her skills lay in the world of marketing, Abi spent a number of years working with a small collection of hotel spas. She soon realised that there was an opportunity for changing the perception of spas by working with them to help realise their commercial potential and really showcasing everything they had to offer in a way that could be tailored to both the spa and the spa goer.
The initial motivation for creating Spabreaks.com was to market spas and their myriad experiences and expertise more dynamically. Abi wanted to show that spas could be profitable as well as provide excellent and meaningful wellbeing experiences, and that there were options for every location, price point, person and occasion. She launched Spabreaks.com in 2008 with a team of three people, but as time has gone on, that motivation has remained true, but it has matured and evolved as well.
A leader in the spa industry
Since then, she has become a powerful and proactive advocate for making the spa industry more accessible, opening it up to people who previously felt marginalised and showing its importance to the UK economy and the nation’s wellbeing.
At work, her passion is evident through her tireless focus on customer experiences - improving the product, technological and service offering of the company and adapting to the changing world around us. She also works on behalf of the spa community to improve standards, support and recognition for all those who work in it.
In particular, Abi does this as part of her voluntary work with the Beauty and Wellbeing All Party Parliamentary Group alongside Carolyn Harris MP, which seeks to represent the industry and its members as well as to address topics in parliament such as Menopause and Beauty Banks and ensuring everyone has access to basic hygiene products.
Abi has also sat on the board of the UK Spa Association for four years and is now Vice Chair ( an association focused on improving the quality, training, standards, inclusiveness, and professionalism within the spa trade). She also sits on the board of the CEW (Cosmetics Executive Women) - an organisation focused on improving and growing opportunities within the beauty and related sectors.
An advocate for women in the workplace
Knowing the personal challenges that women face both in business and to achieve a healthy work/life balance, but also being mindful of the opportunities that modern businesses have to improve options and flexibility for women, she has worked hard not only to establish her own career, but also to create a working environment the supports and nurtures women.
The result has been that several women and former team members have gone on to set up their own businesses having been mentored by Abi, while many others have progressed into senior leadership positions within the company itself. Abi continues to be passionate about continuing to open up opportunities for women, knowing that confidence, recognition and support are central to not only seeing women compete in the workplace but also to thriving in both work and life.
Abi has also nurtured talent across the board – her default position is always to find the right role for an individual. She has been outspoken about the need for flexible working, remote working and wellbeing support ranging from mental health to financial wellbeing. She has always gone over and beyond for her team, playing a nurturing role in the lives of individuals and helping them through challenging periods.
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