Making it more accessible, more meaningful and more effective in its role to support the wellbeing of individuals, they have been instrumental in inspiring Spabreaks.com’s own founder Abi Wright in her vision for the spa industry. So, in honour of International Women’s Day, here are some of the spa industry’s most inspiring women…
Sue Harmsworth, the founder of ESPA, has done incredible things with her business and is an inspiring industry leader. She founded ESPA comparatively late in life, at the age of 47 in 1992, and now in her 70s she continues to travel at a ridiculous rate, working hard and remaining true to her ethos. ESPA is a thoroughly modern brand aimed at bringing holistic therapy to modern life and it’s that ethos that the spa industry as a whole should be listening to. She’s inspirational to learn about and listen to.
Julie Bach is the founder of Wellness for Cancer, a registered charity that advocates for patients and survivors of cancer. Working with brands to train therapists to offer a personalised wellness service that includes individuals touched by cancer, her objective is to bridge the medical and wellness worlds and go beyond a one size fits all cancer protocol that has limited the spa industry to date. Changing the approach and even the language, she is a pioneer who has worked for more than 15 years to make the changes we are seeing in the industry today.
Driven by a passion to fight injustice, Jennifer Young is the mum, businesswoman, intellect and all round nice person, is breaking down barriers and making a huge difference in the lives of people affected by cancer. She created her first skincare line, Defiant Beauty, for cancer patients at the request of nurses at her local hospital. Designed for people while they’re going through cancer treatment, it is scent free and carefully crafted with all the ingredients to make sure they’re safe to use. 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.
Michelle Hammond is Founding Director of Spa Business School and has a wealth of operational experience, having worked in many International spa markets. She has a passion for learning and delivers high-level training for a number of leading hospitality and spa brands including Accor. It’s thanks to her that we have such beautifully trained therapists in our midst.
Elaine is the director of therapies at Grayshott Health Spa and her experience and knowledge really is second to none. A wonderful, soothing and reassuring presence, she is qualified in Osteopathy, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Advanced Massage. She is also a registered general Nurse and has a Bachelors (BSC) in Psychology. She previously taught at the International College of Aromatherapy in London and spent two years at the Osteopathic Centre for Children in London, where she specialised in Cranial Osteopathy. She has now spent more than 20 years at Grayshott Health Spa and unsurprisingly has won a catalogue of awards including Spa Traveller’s Top UK Spa Therapist and one of the Telegraph’s top ten therapists in the world.
In 2016, Tracey Woodward became CEO of Aromatherapy Associates, the aromatherapy based spa product line founded by the late Geraldine Howard. An intimidating role to fill, Tracey was undoubtedly the right woman for the job and she has shone in the role. Having made her own name in the beauty and skincare industry, credited with building the Aveda brand in the UK as well as working as commercial director at Urban Retreat Spa at Harrods and Harvey Nichols, general manager for Modern Organic Products, brand manager for Donna Karan Beauty, and at Marks & Spencer, where she helped redesign and develop the beauty department.
The managing director of Spiezia Organics, created in Cornwall, Amanda Barlow is a business mentor and a positive power force… helped by her famed ‘pants of power’ – a concept she created for herself when going through a hard time. Having taken a failing business and turned it into an authentic luxury organic brand, it is thanks to her that we all continue to enjoy these beautiful products, but she’s also an inspiring business woman. Above all, Amanda consistently sticks to her ethos of giving something back through the charity she established in 2008 – the Made for Life Foundation – which provides support for people with cancer and their carers.