We last spoke to Jennifer Young in 2015, and at the time she had just launched her first range of skincare products for cancer patients at the request of nurses at her local hospital.
Now well into what is fast becoming a thriving brand, one that’s really more of a calling, Jennifer Young (the person and the business) is going from strength to strength. Driven by a passion to fight injustice, this mum, businesswoman, intellectual and all round nice person is breaking down barriers and making a huge difference in the lives of people affected by cancer, which is working out as roughly half of us these days.
So what does 18 months look like in the world of Jennifer Young? Well, her first product line, Defiant Beauty was her big industry game changer. Designed for people while they’re going through cancer treatment, it is scent free (because fragrances can often make you feel nauseous when having cancer treatment), and carefully crafted with all the right ingredients to make sure they’re safe to use. Crucially however, they also tackle key skin issues that often occur during treatment as a result of therapy. That’s cracked skin, breaking nails, sore cuticles, skin discolouration, chapped lips – the list goes on.
The other side of Jennifer’s work which was only just beginning at the time, as she launched her training at Ragdale Hall, was her spa therapist training. This is where things get really interesting in a big way. Not only is this something that Jennifer is passionate about, but it’s changing the spa industry itself. As we have mentioned time and again, the spa industry has a tricky track record with cancer patients because therapists are taught at an early stage not to touch anyone being treated for cancer for fear of causing complications.
While there’s a whole raft of information that goes with that sweeping statement, the core fact is that there’s a wealth of knowledge available that’s scientifically proven and accredited, to show that massage has phenomenal benefits for anyone undergoing treatment for cancer, the key is in the correct training.
Fear is a powerful thing however, and as a result, insurance companies have historically added to the issue by making it very difficult for a therapist to be insured to treat a client with cancer. So, armed with a post-graduate qualification in law and degree-level scientific knowledge, Jennifer did the logical thing – she went to the insurance companies and found someone who would work with her to create a training programme that would mean therapists would be insured to treat patients with cancer.
With that barrier out of the way, Jennifer is bringing her training to spas across the country and now proudly boasts 15 spas (including Whittlebury Hall and Eden Hall Day Spa) with staff trained under her name, not to mention hospital facilities that are bringing in her services including the new state of the art cancer centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital in London. She also works closely with charities such as Mummy Star who support women diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy and in the first year of motherhood.
Jennifer’s next challenge has been to create a product line for use after cancer. Having found her products to work so effectively, and knowing they are safe and free of anything that could possibly be linked to a carcinogen, this was a development that came straight from client requests, and Jennifer has enthusiastically obliged. Bringing a little more luxury and gentle scents to the line, Beyond Beauty is about enjoying beauty with a focus on anti ageing.
Jennifer says: “Ageing is a difficult thing post-cancer because at that time we have learned that it’s a privilege to age, but we’re still human and we want to look our best. That’s what Beyond Beauty by Jennifer Young is about and we’re sensitive to that in creating the products. It’s all about feeling good and enjoying it.”
With a phenomenal amount of knowledge at her fingertips, careful attention to the details and a deep understanding for the challenges faced by people dealing with cancer, Jennifer is one of those people who makes you feel safe – both in the knowledge that she knows what she’s doing and because she genuinely cares.
At the heart of things, it’s that passion that drives what Jennifer does: “from the start, when I was changing careers and training to be a therapist, I was being told not to touch these people with cancer, and I knew they needed to be touched.” It is an ethos that continues as she is now adding to her repertoire with training for yoga teachers to help cancer patients as well, in order to widen the wellbeing experience.
As she prepares to take Jennifer Young, the brand, overseas, Jennifer’s journey to change the spa experience for cancer patients is making a huge impact. The beauty of it is that she’s doing it in a way that’s at the heart of what spa is all about – looking after people.
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