Emily Ewart-Perks
April 29, 2022

1.    What has been your proudest career moment?

There have been so many over the years… First-up, Secret Spa’s first booking was amazing! We had been dreaming of launching for so long, so when we started getting bookings from real customers that weren’t friends or family, I had to pinch myself! Last month we did 4,000 bookings, a big moment, which couldn't have been achieved without our incredible team of freelance professionals and staff.  And finally, being invited onto the advisory board of Beauty Backed and having the opportunity to use my experience and network to make a difference to people within our beloved industry.

2.    Who has been/is your biggest mentor?

I worked for 8 years for Sunday Times’ Most Inspirational Leader, Rachel Bell, who was CEO of Shine Communications. She was a bundle of energy and taught the entire agency that, with the right energy and mindset anything is possible. She based her agency name and ethos on a quote from Nelson Mandela, which I still keep dear to my heart ‘And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

3.    What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?

This is a fairly new one for me: don’t be afraid to fail…It sounds cliché, but I have realised that for years my mindset was all wrong. I wanted everything to work and be perfect, especially when growing Secret Spa. I was terrified of failure. But, now I realise that everything you do is an opportunity to learn, iterate and get better.  You might do 10 things to grow your business and only 2 will really work…The ideas that don’t work are an opportunity to learn and if you find an idea that works do more of it! Also, write everything down! It’s so important to remember what did and didn’t work so you don’t waste your time and money in the future repeating things that failed.

4.    Which training body would you recommend for someone wanting to enter your area of the industry?

I am a huge fan of the London School of Beauty and Make-up. They do excellent courses including CIBTAC & CIDESCO and their teaching is first class. Their courses might take a bit longer and be slightly more expensive, but I assure you it will be worth it. A well-regarded qualification taught at a good school will help your CV jump to the top of the pile!

5.    How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd e.g. up-skilling, research, social media?

Customer feedback is gold dust! Keep asking them what would make this a six star experience and what can be improved on. If you listen to their replies, the answers are usually there. Don’t be afraid of speaking to them, you’ll be surprised how happy they are to help you and when they come on the journey with you they are all the more loyal. Let their answers guide you on how to up skill, improve and stand out. This helps ensure that you’re spending money on what will actually impact your sales, rather than a vanity project that your customers don’t actually care about.

6.    If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their own business, what would it be?

  1. Be passionate - You are going to be spending a lot of time running it, so you better love it!  
  1. Immerse yourself so you really are an expert in the area you are going into.
  1. Validate your idea before you take the plunge. Research and test if your business idea will work and people will be willing to buy your product or service.
  1. Moonlight! Before you give everything up, see how far you can get by moonlighting. You might get some early traction, which will make all the difference.
  1. Overnight success is a myth. Success takes time. However long you think it might take double it. Overnight successes are the exception not the rule.  
  1. Be prepared to make sacrifices - You will be working harder than you have ever worked to get the fire started. But remember, if you love what you do it won’t feel like a sacrifice, it will feel like freedom!

7.    What’s the best and hardest thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is being surrounded by some seriously talented people, especially my brother Rider who is my Co-Founder and is CEO of the business. Everyday I learn from them and collaboratively we are making the Secret Spa dream a reality.

The hardest part for me is looking back at the time that I sacrificed not being with my kids when they were young. Thank god they were small enough that they don’t actually remember that I wasn’t present (and when I say present, I mean physically and mentally present. You can be in a room with someone but not really be present if you’re distracted answering emails, replying to customers etc.).

Learning from the past, rather than dwelling on it, I have learnt to book out focused time with my children where I am fully concentrating on them. It is ring fenced, so hopefully the memories they are left with are that I really was there.

8.    How do you switch off after a difficult day?

There is nothing better than having a hot bubble bath, listening to a podcast and then having the time to follow it with a mini facial using OSKIA products. In fact, I think this has inspired me to make time tonight!

9.    Desert island 3 course meal?

My goodness, I am passionate about food! There are some old favourites that just never fail for me…For a starter, melon and parma ham, main roast chicken and for pudding chocolate fondant and cream. Delicious!

10.  Which 5 people (dead or alive) would you have at your dinner party?

Marilyn Monroe, Joanna Lumley, Joan Collins, George Michael and Prince.



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