A little about me
I was 21 and had just broken up from my fiancé and had to get away from what was at the time a bad situation. I had been asked back for a third interview with Virgin Atlantic as an Inflight Therapist, over 6 months of interviews I decided to turn down the 3rd interview letter. My application to work in Gora Kadan in Japan was declined due to Japan going through a recession.
A job for a ‘Gold’ status Relais and Châteaux Resort in Canada came up and I was offered the job, finally a chance in an exclusive resort and a pivot in my career. From here I started to travel and work in other places including the Caribbean, Europe, and London, and returned to work in Harrods as a manager in beauty.
My own physical feedback started me thinking
Working the last 26 years in the industry looking back at my working life I could see and experienced first-hand how therapists lives and their clients lives had been affected by the treatments they performed, lack of equipment, incorrect techniques and unnecessary therapist and customer pains.
I developed arthritis just before having my children and after performing thousands of treatments I felt that with 345,000 therapists working in UK there must be others suffering with similar problems and pains and after seeing my work colleagues.
My innovations, based on my experiences, intend on bringing a lot of ease to spas, salons, mobile therapists and consumer health.
I hope to license some ideas and manufacture some, this is a new venture for me but exciting and I look forward to making peoples easier and avoiding the pains in the industry the therapist who spend all day making other people’s lives better.
I went on to open my own shop with my life savings alongside 8 staff which was like a plane shot down on take-off!
The recession started within first 6 months and my customers went from initial 50 a month on initial opening increasing then back down to 5 a month! Doctors, dentists and teachers were cancelling appointments due to money worries and I quickly realised there was nothing I could do as it was out of my control.
Feedback comes from many places if you listen
I use feedback from various sources, from my manufacturers it has been extremely positive and along with expert advice I have been given guidance in direction with licensing, manufacturing and investor contacts.
A family member was not supportive in starting another business which was hard to overcome at first. I believe there will always be tough times, to have everyone believe in you but believing in yourself is the most important thing and not to let anything stand in the way of this.
You can listen to advice but ultimately your gut and know how you would like your life to go.
Running a business provides constant feedback
Having run a business gave me great insight and a strong desire to make people’s lives the best they can be is so important to me that it overrides any negative beliefs, and to constantly move forward.
Positive feedback can energise you
Advice from my patent adviser on my patent-pending products has been positive and help with finding designers for the development of these products along with CAD engineers to help with your prototypes or sales sheets for Licensing.
Everyone I have been in contact with is extremely positive, that also helps propel you forward and I am very thankful for their feedback, knowing you are on the right path to make a worldwide difference is so important and exhilarating but also quite hard to achieve whilst when some ideas are patent pending.
Blogging sites and Amazon reviews give you a great insight into customer feedback to obtain information on current trends with wider audiences.
Seeking out feedback
Three Assessors reviewed my idea with Innovate UK giving me some fantastic feedback for me it highlighted my idea was definitely in scope for the Infocus competition.
I was told I would make a good role model having demonstrated ability to lead also understanding key stages of innovation, showing innovation experience but not in leadership as a past experience of innovation.
Face to face feedback
Although I have not completed bringing my own products to market yet I have been attending Chichester University Business in 2016, working on business model and value proposition canvases, the support has been amazing alongside helping me to source a grant.
I continue to attend events to develop any lack of knowledge in these areas of business and innovation. As these are my first innovative projects I am also still testing market going forward with focus groups of up to 10 people. Innovate UK also enabled me to study depth of manufacturing costs involved in innovating and I will be approaching more Manufacturers for some of my ideas and licensees for other ideas in the new year.
Feedback is how others see you
Feedback provided me with reassurance, even if you were to get a negative result. I would rather have negative feedback, than no feedback, as lack of feedback for me creates no insight to how others see things. This gap in understanding provides no control of how your ideas can turn out which is even more risky especially if you are developing 2nd stage prototypes ready for manufacture.
I have prioritized my steps in achieving my goals although there are always constraints and effects to our actions in starting a business.
I feel feedback should be given from experienced persons with an understanding of the business field you are entering and should be aimed at helping you to achieve your goals avoiding any difficulties ahead.
Suggestions on improvements also are useful (rather than just what is not present) and ideas and mentoring from other entrepreneurs with an experience within an industry such as manufacturing is very useful.
Turning feedback into action
I will be bringing a calmness in treatments, have you ever watched a fatigued, anxious therapist leave a treatment, running around trying to find what she needs, timekeeping the next 15 clients whilst suffering physical and emotional pains? I have.. and a lot of my innovations will be to help solve these, not be outweighing environmental impact with its use, but aim to reduce impact, with some amazing products.
Also In 2017 I am launching a website to promote Five Elements healthcare ltd and in keeping with the five elements of nature, Organic and eco-friendly including a blog/group for people within the industry to communicate and share knowledge.
My advice to someone starting a business would be to get it on paper and get feedback or show it to someone there are people out there that will want to help. I believe balance does exist in our lives, our health and in our work and together we can create amazing things.
Work-life balance is so important in our lives and our children’s lives and Innovation is extremely important for every business and I would love to be an ambassador in beauty and health industries in the future and maybe one day that holistic centre again!
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