Up Close & Personal
Years as a CEO: 20
‘Me’ time: Shopping and travel.
Can’t-live-without gadgets: I always have my iPad in my hand, and my iPhone is usually attached to my ear – I’m a walking advertisement for Apple.
Favourite spa treatment: Exotic Sole Ritual and Opal Rasul Steam.
At the age of just 26, with 10 years of experience in beauty therapy under my belt. I took a leap of faith and opened a modest two-room beauty therapy salon. A loyal and expanding base of clientele saw me quickly outgrow the space, resulting in a relocation to the up-market suburb of Bulimba, Brisbane. I have since grown the business to five luxury destinations, which includes Stephanies Spa Retreat, located at the Sofitel Brisbane Central. It opened in June and offers eight treatment rooms, including individual suites and a couple’s suite.
Hardest part of the job:
Not enough hours in my day! (Managing) five spas demands a lot of attention. When you have grown something from he start, it can be challenging to hand over responsibilities to managers and delegate. It’s a weakness I am working on…slowly.
Dealing with personnel issues:
We have a clear policy and HR codes of conduct for spa managers, which allow them to deal with frontline issues. I become involved if there are any major problems. My CFO also advises me regularly on the Australian Federal Industrial Relations Laws and makes sure we are 100 percent in compliance to all laws and guidelines.
Worst thing a CEO can do while managing a business:
Taking your eye off the ball within financial areas is a big mistake, which is why I liaise closely each day with my CFo. I also try to spend time on marketing and PR, and have an agency that assists with helping us stay on top of media inquiries and publicity opportunities. When you are in the service industry, you need to ensure your business is in the spotlight – for the right reasons! Also, be involved in the recruitment process. Your people can make or break your business.
Geting to a visionary mindset:
ISPA is a wonderful resources, which definitely assists with inspirational business strategies. Researching other spas and the internet, understanding industry trends, and speaking to key people – my spa directors, suppliers, CFO, managers and clients – is also important and inspires me on a daily basis.
Most recent successful strategy:
We have a specialised VIP locals club, which is popular at our destination spas. Local residents can sign up, and for a small membership cost, receive instant rewards, such as discounts, annual promotions, and members-only invites to spa events. The club helps us build our local clientele and reward our regular customers.