April 1st, 2021
A luxury British skincare and spa inspired brand, TEMPLESPA has successfully bridged the rituals of the spa experience with high performance products. Liz Warom is co-owner and co-founder alongside her husband and business partner Mark who were inspired by a sabbatical they took in the Mediterranean a year before they conceived the brand.
Now with twenty-one years in the market place, TEMPLESPA is an established luxury lifestyle brand with exceptional products and spa experiences that restore skin, body and soul. No longer a fledgling brand; it is becoming the go to niche brand to be found in leading premium class spas and exclusive locations like Harrods, first class airlines, boutique hotels and through a network of over four thousand independent lifestyle consultants and managers. The brand is also available in the US, China, Italy, Germany and leading spas around the world.
What’s your background and what brought you into beauty?
Apart from a couple of years as a dental nurse, I have always been in the beauty industry; this now spans a forty-year career!
How did you end up creating your own brand – what was the impetus behind it?
We had created and managed brands for others and been great “nannies”, but we wanted so much to have our own ‘business baby’ and the timing was perfect to start Templespa.
What advice would you give someone starting their own range? Would you do anything differently if you could?
1. Know your subject
Mark & I chose to build a business in an industry that we knew really well, having built several brands and businesses for other people. I have often seen people move into a sector they know nothing about and they struggle to compete alongside those who have greater knowledge and experience. For example, I’m a foodie. I love reading cookbooks, TV cookery programmes, going to the market, entertaining, cooking and anything food related. However, this would never qualify me for owning a restaurant! Stick to what you know and just do it better than everyone else.
2. Do your research and be prepared to adapt your plan as you go.
It’s a big world out there and often when you’ve been working on an idea in evenings and weekends from your home, you can become a bit insular and forget there are probably lots of other people doing what you want to do. Be brave enough to check out the competition, decide what will make your idea unique, why would people buy it, what points of difference and stand out do you have? Continually gather facts and without losing the central reason for being, be ready to implement new ideas into your overall plan.
3. Be able to describe your concept easily and in a compelling way
For your business to launch and become successful, you will need customers and lots of them. Whether you are reaching them face to face or virtually, you MUST be able to have a clear, concise, easy to understand proposition. There are rarely genuine “gaps” for anything, but that shouldn’t put you off going for your idea. However, if you aren’t sure you have something with distinguishing benefits and you cannot distil it into a few sentences, your idea needs more refining. I frequently find myself at parties or gatherings and after talking to someone for 10 minutes I still don’t understand what they do. Not good!
4. Own, don’t avoid the numbers
Regardless of whether you need help from the bank, financial investment, a business partner or you’re going it alone using your own funds, you have to be obsessive about the numbers. Know your key performance indicators and be very clear about them. Be realistic about cost structures, timings and the commercial side of the business plan. The reality is things will take twice as long, costs will be twice as high, sales will be half your projections and cash will be very, very tight. This all sounds worrying, but it shouldn’t put you off. If you over plan, you’ll never do anything and you have to be prepared to take risks, but this is not the time to be fluffy about the maths.
5. Know the difference between a dream and dreaming!
You absolutely have to have a dream, without one, your idea will not happen. A dream will be how you see yourself in the next five years, with your business booming, your idea taking shape and people buying your product or service. A dream will bring out passion and a desire to succeed, even in the face of set back and disappointment of which there will be plenty. However, dreaming won’t make your idea come into fruition. Starting and then running a business is hard, hard work. The days off, the holidays and the payback will come, but it won’t be at the beginning or even in the early years. We still have massive, unfulfilled dreams and they have evolved and developed over the years, but since the beginning to this very day, we have balanced the dreams with hard core reality and that has been the relentless endeavour to create exceptional product and to find, then keep the customers who buy them. Simples!
How easy is it working with your husband – do you always agree?
A few years ago we were in careers that took both of us all over the world and we could be away from each other for weeks on end; so although it sounds a tad cheesy, we actually love being with each other 24/7. We certainly don’t agree on everything and we don’t argue, but we absolutely challenge each other and respect the others view.
What’s your earliest make up memory?
I LOVED Mary Quant. I worked in a hairdresser that carried the range and every week I’d treat myself so something new. I also loved Biba, that was so cool in those days! My make-up bag was the envy of my friends.
What’s the first product you remember using as a teenager – has this affected your later product choices?
My Aunt Rose was my hero and she was very beautiful, she always said to me “look after your skin while you’re young darling, it will thank you later” and even as a teenager I had a very thorough skincare regime with once-a-week masks, I’ve always been a product junkie.
What’s the one product you can’t live without?
I have been addicted to our Repose at TEMPLESPA for almost 20 years. It was one of the first products out of the lab and I would have a panic attack if it wasn’t by my bedside table to use every night, it’s like a sedative for the skin.
What’s your favourite of your own products and why?
In the Beginning is the mother of all cleansers. I’ve always worn a full face of make-up so a deep cleanse is essential and this is like a facial in a jar, delicious and turbo charged. Again, with make-up you need a great canvas and we’re about to bring out a glycolic oxygen peel called Most Revealing, I’ve been testing it for months now and it’s incredible for re-surfacing the skin and bringing the glow back and our Life Defence is not only our best-selling moisturiser, it’s SPF30 and the texture is amazing like the best primer ever.
What challenges has the brand faced during lockdown – what positives have you drawn from the experience?
A large part of our business called Spa to Go is based around Consultants going into private homes holding Spa Classes. Our immediate reaction to hearing we would all be in lockdown was to play out a scenario in our minds of total disaster. But never to be deterred by challenges, of which we have had kazillions over the years, we realised if our Consultants couldn’t meet their clients physically, we would have to convert into ‘virtual’ experiences and equip them to create Zoom pop-up-spas, one-hour ‘online vacations’, 1-1 consultations, skincare clinics and so on. This appears to have been the making of our business.
What seemed fatal has in fact become a blessing. Of course, with our spas and hotels worldwide closing down overnight this has been devastating for them and us, but while we wait for them to re-open, we have been blown away that our D2C (direct to customer) business is booming and we have recorded unprecedented sales and growth. In a year we have doubled our number of Consultants to 4000 and been able to help people all over the country set up their own thriving business from home. Our online business has also had exponential growth and our greatest challenge has been keeping up with orders and supply of product, but our suppliers have been just incredible.
What’s next for you and brand?
We can’t wait to welcome all our beautiful staff back into the office, pretty much everyone has been home-working and we will celebrate June 21st in style! We are launching Most Revealing and a new addition to our Truffle capsule range – Truffle Delight a lightweight moisturiser designed for normal-combination-oily skin or for a hotter, humid climate. We didn’t get a chance to celebrate our 20th anniversary last year so we have Summer and Christmas parties planned and TEMPLESPA celebrations are legendary. We have much to be thankful for.
TEMPLESPA products are available from templespa.
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