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Ten Questions with Deborah Mitchell

April 5th, 2022

April 5th, 2022

World-renowned for its results-driven therapies and iconic bee venom products, Heaven Skincare was founded by Deborah Mitchell more than 25 years ago and has become a firm favourite with A-list celebrities and Royals.

“I have always loved looking after people and there is no better feeling than helping someone who may have suffered with a skin issue for years and I can ease that for them. I’m probably not your average industry boss, I’m very hands-on and I still work on counter and carry out treatments so I have the privilege of meeting my customers day to day. Because inner beauty is just as important to me as outer beauty I love seeing how my products or therapies really make life better for someone.”

Thanks to her multi-million pound Heaven Skincare empire, Deborah Mitchell has carved out an enviable reputation in the beauty industry for her age-defying creams – most notably her Bee Venom range – and boasts a client list that reads like a who’s who of the rich and famous.

Despite being bullied as a teenager due to her dyslexia and severe acne, the canny businesswoman turned both to her advantage. Her own troublesome skin provided the impetus to create skincare products that tackled specific complexion complaints; while she believes her dyslexia allowed her to think up ideas that other people may not even dream of.

Working from her kitchen table, the determined mum-of-two has always shown determination and self-belief to create what is today a global success story. Right from the start, Deborah wanted to create luxurious skincare that was not only organic and natural but also results-driven. Each product has been developed by her to promote a healthy, radiant complexion and help heal skin conditions such as acne, open pores, rosacea and eczema.

Deborah remains very much at the helm of the business working alongside her daughter Ella Jane to devise new and innovative skincare must-haves that not only have a multitude of uses but also tackle a multitude of issues. The range includes moisturisers that work as primers, cleansers that work as masks, and toners that work as anti-ageing solutions.

As one of the country’s leading facialists Deborah regularly treats members of the royal family and celebrities, and continues to perform therapies at her flagship Shifnal salon in Shropshire where her two-year waiting list is testament to just how in demand she is.

We caught up with Deborah to talk all things Heaven.

 

What’s your background and what brought you into beauty?

I suffered from severe acne as a teenager and struggled to find products that were suitable for my skin. When I left school, I did a beauty course at my local college and became a mobile therapist by the time I was 17. I used what I learned on the job to start mixing and blending essential oils into various creams for me and then my clients, and Heaven Skincare was born from there. Over the next few years, it went from a small kitchen table operation to a business with global recognition. I have always loved looking after people and there is no better feeling than helping someone who may have suffered with a skin issue for years and I can give them their confidence back. I’m probably not your average industry boss, I’m very hands-on and I still work on counter and carry out treatments so I have the privilege of meeting my customers day to day.

What’s the first product you remember using as a teenager and has that affected your later product choices?

I couldn’t find anything that would help my skin – that’s why I created my own range! I tried all manner of things to help it, but because more products contained chemicals, they just irritated my skin even more. So long before it was a “thing”, I was one of the few people in the industry trailblazing the move away from these nasty chemicals and instead opting for organic formulas. At the time I’m sure many people thought I was crazy! My ingredients use the very best nature has to offer, from the anti-ageing vitamin C in my Divine Cream and nettles in my new vegan range to the Manuka honey in my exclusive Gold Bee Venom Mask as well as countless essentials oils, fruit and herbs across the whole collection.

 

What sets Heaven by Deborah Mitchell apart from other skincare brands?

I have created products that are safe and efficient solutions to a range of skincare woes and that are suitable for all skin types. Of all my organic ingredients, Bee Venom remains my most ground-breaking. Historically, it was used as pain relief but it had never been used in skincare before. Fifteen years ago, I developed my patented super ingredient ABEETOXIN®, a formulation of bee venom, Manuka honey and botulism, the natural form of the toxin used in Botox that can be harvested in bee hives. My clients loved it straight away and it quickly became a success around the world.

The idea has since been copied many times, but my specific formula remains my trade secret. I also ensures the venom is extracted without causing any harm to the bees with a system where the insects are encouraged to sting a pane of glass with an electric hum running through it. This means the venom is milked and the bees survive with their stings intact.

 

What do you love about your job?

I have always loved looking after people and there is no better feeling than helping someone who may have suffered with a skin issue for years and I can ease that for them. I’m probably not your average industry boss, I’m very hands-on and I still work on counter and carry out treatments so I have the privilege of meeting my customers day to day. Because inner beauty is just as important to me as outer beauty I love seeing how my products or therapies really make life better for someone.

If someone is on a budget what should be their must-have beauty buys?

Too many people are fooled by false economy – they buy cheap and end up having to buy four times as many because the ingredients may not be great quality, they may not be good for their skin or they use them too quickly. I would always recommend going for a better quality product that is multi-functional – my Silver Bee Venom Mask, for example, slots into your daily or weekly skincare regime in a variety of different ways: apply after your cleansing routine morning and evening; leave on for ten minutes and wash off with warm water; layer on top of your daily moisturiser; combine with your favourite serum; or leave on overnight for accelerated results. Go for a little luxury and you’ll thank yourself in the long run.

 

Which is your favourite products and why?

It’s hard to pick as I am so proud of everything in my range, can I choose three?! My Age Defiance Cream was one of the first I created; I wanted something that would be a real “all-rounder” – an anti-ageing cream that tackled acne, breakouts and psoriasis while being suitable for all skin types. But then there’s my Bee Venom Masks which are nothing short of a miracle. And then my new Alpine Drops that I know I couldn’t live without now. It’s like asking me to choose between my children, I just can’t!

What are / have been your biggest challenges in your creative process over the last few years?

I suppose looking back I would say that my biggest challenge was lack of funds when I first started Heaven. Having said that, I wouldn’t have invented such wonderful products, like my Bee Venom Mask, if I had everything at my finger-tips.

The beauty industry was hit very hard by the pandemic with salons having to close their doors overnight and many of my friends went out of business. I was lucky that I had a strong online presence and worked really hard with my team to make it even stronger. I also used the time to really focus on new products – I launched my vegan Nettle Venom range during the first lockdown and it became an instant bestseller.

I like to be challenged otherwise life would be boring. I’ve had so many struggles but that’s life and I see them as an obstacle that needs to be tackled to get to a more positive place. Many might have seen my dyslexia as an obstacle but I don’t think I would have achieved everything I have without it – yes, my brain has to work harder than other people’s, but this has always helped me see things that others miss.

 

What inspires you to work on a specific project? Advice on creating products

It all starts when I know a client who has a specific skin complaint and my first reaction is “how can I fix that.” I’m constantly researching, I see it as my hobby and I love learning new things and gaining new information. But research alone doesn’t help me actually come up with the ideas, it tends to be the other way round. In fact I get some of my best ideas when I’m relaxing in the bath! The idea comes first and then I have to work out how to make it a reality. This involves lots of problem solving as sometimes the ingredients I imagined using may not work together.

Some my ideas actually never actually come to market but that doesn’t hold me back – I just keep coming up with new ideas. Take Nettle Venom – I wanted to create a vegan alternative to my Bee Venom for as long as I could remember. To actually make this into an effective anti-ageing cream was near impossible because I couldn’t keep the venom active. It took me years to create exactly what was in my head but I got there in the end. So don’t give up on your dreams: if you believe in what you are doing and have passion for it, it will work out.

What’s next for both you and Heaven Skincare?

We may be a global business but I am still very much the woman who sat at her kitchen table mixing up my own skincare concoctions and to this day I continue to devise and develop each of my products. My mission from day one was to produce products that not only had a multitude of uses, but also tackled a multitude of issues and that continues to drive me now and into the future. We’ve just launched our new Collagen Drops and Alpine Drops as part of the Heaven’s Inner Beauty range of skin-saving supplements and have moved to a new headquarters in Telford, just down the road from where Heaven started more than a quarter of a century ago.

Follow Heaven on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

 

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By Sarah Dann

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