Wow how time flies and how much I miss being young. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind ageing, it’s just that inside I still have the energy, ideas, and drive of a 30-year-old but my body has decided it doesn’t want to join in…
I would advise a younger me to grasp every opportunity when it comes along, live life to the full and never look back with regret.
With hindsight, would I advise doing things differently? Well that depends on how old the younger me is! If I haven’t yet left school, I’d say be prepared! The beauty industry is hard work for little pay. You have to love it to stick at it. I’d tell myself to follow a different way in, focus on my strengths; I was brilliant at numbers and business, and could have started my own business, helping others to succeed in this industry. No one was doing it then.

“Behind every good man there is a good woman; seems I got stuck behind a lot of blokes in my time!”

What else? Stop worrying so much, take a few more risks, accept that amazing offer made to you even though you had two young children, and drop some of those monkeys on your back, determined to take the glory for all your hard work. They always say behind every man there is a good woman; seems I got stuck behind a lot of blokes in my time! To young women out there now I would say, get out of the shadows!.
Back then it was the fearless innovators and risk takers who inspired me. Sean Harrington, starting with a few products called Elemis or Dean Nathanson designing a non-surgical machine that lifted the facial muscles. I think the biggest influencing factor on my drive and ambition was when Unilever launched the Real Women Campaign and had the balls to put older, bigger, frecklier women on the front pages and ask what was wrong with them? ‘Nothing!’ we heard millions of women scream.

“There are three billion women in the world and only eight Supermodels.”

The Body Shop followed it with ‘There are three billion women in the world and only eight Supermodels.’ I have never forgotten these campaigns and have continued to remind people of them throughout my career.
I was privileged to be part of the Unilever founding team when they launched Dove Spa; trying to make the world of beauty salons accessible to all. Part of my role was to work with the Self Esteem Foundation, run by Unilever, in countries all over the world. We visited schools, ran campaigns, supported the real values of encouraging young women to accept who they were. I loved this time; it actually had meaning.

As for the future, I see it as our job to bring society’s focus back to taking care of themselves. Stress is rife; our lives are 24 /7. Health has never been so at risk and our health care services under so much pressure. Our industry needs to focus its energy on introducing services for wellness and mindfulness, helping individuals keep a perspective on life, teaching them to stay healthy and occasionally to just stop.
What’s exciting me currently is that medical services, health departments and governments are also realising how our industry can help avoid the increase of stress-related conditions by introducing holistic therapies to local surgeries and as part of a GP referral system.
So to my younger self I say … Slow down, take time out, love those close to you and savor every moment of your journey. It will fly past before you know it.

Author: Frances Hayter

After 40 years of working with spas and salons worldwide, Fran Hayter now runs her own consultancy business.

Formerly, she has been responsible for heading up the beauty operation for Regis Corporation (152 sites at the time, including spas within Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, House of Fraser) and was Operations Manager of the team at Dove Spa.

Since starting her own business Fran has reclaimed the role of Head of Beauty for Regis Corporation on a part time basis and has recently set up her own Recruitment business for the beauty industry, Daily Placements.