Elemis President Noella Gabriel Gives the FYI on Beauty, Business, and Finding Your Calling

Most women would be getting
their knitting needles out and here am I packing my
bag, going to New York. (Lively guitar music) It all began in 1989 when I
was a young beauty therapist and an aromatherapist. I was looking for something,
I was looking for a challenge, and I was approached by investors to know ‘How about bringing your range to market?’ And I thought, why not? Here we go, let’s give it a go! And that was the start of Elemis. It’s lifestyle and wellness and I will say that is a concept
we launched 30 years ago. It’s very on-trend right now, but we did not jump on a bandwagon here. We’ve set this trend and
I am very adamant to say I own this space. We start with a formulation and then we source the ingredients to bring that one result on the skin. It’s a very different way of working. We always bring a signature aromatic to every product we
launch, so that’s first. We love texture, we show
people how to apply, how to breathe, how to
smell, how to bathe, how to bring that decadence
into their lifestyle even though it may be
just five minutes a day. This isn’t about time. This
is about having a ritual, consistent, every day. And in many ways that’s all
about what Elemis is about. Actually, believe it or not, I started off as a classical singer. So I was supposed to be
singing for my career. I trained at the age of
13, I got a scholarship, and I went off very passionately. And of course there I learned
both the breath and your body, because singing is very physical. You can’t sing from just this, it’s not just about this, it’s about every – the sum of all the parts. I started as a beauty therapist, I then went on and did an aromatherapist. A beauty therapist is where
you learn about the body. How it’s structured, about
the skin, every muscle, every function, and
everything that affects it. I had to tell people
about their stress level and that one of the silent
agers today is stress. So, my goodness, it’s
been a hell of a journey. I have to teach people how to breathe. I have to tell them the
benefit of having a great bath, even if it may be only for five minutes. Beauty is the sum of all the parts. It’s the sum of you taking responsibility for your lifestyle, it’s the sum of being wanting
to be educated about your skin and that it’s something serious that you need to take into consideration, and then having the right product. So it’s the sum of all of those things. What Elemis does is we are the brand that wants to spend a
little longer with you. I think we all live very busy lifestyles. I think what we really
need to take on board is that you are a product
of your lifestyle choices. They’re your lifestyle choices, they’re very different to mine. So my skin won’t be the same as yours. At the same time, it doesn’t have to be
a ten-product routine. It really doesn’t. Find the product that’s
right for your skin, spend time on that, get good consultation, engage with somebody who
really understands skin. And then you might just
end up with three products but my goodness will
they make a difference. I want the product to exceed
our expectations and go beyond, so when she opens that product she goes, ‘Wow, gosh, that really does
live up to what Noella says!’ And with our staff, I
want to deliver that. I want to give them opportunity,
I want to see them grow. A good leader is someone who listens, and I know that’s very easy but I mean listen at the
beginning of a busy day, or when someone pops their
head in at the end of a day when you’re absolutely exhausted
and you’re peopled out, and she says, ‘Can I have five minutes?’ And that you carve out the time to listen. Product innovation is about no compromise but you’ve got to have lots of patience. And you’ve got to be committed as a brand not to just compromise. I think in the development of
our Pro-Collagen Marine Cream in 2003, that was our first
stepping stone into anti-aging. And everyone thought you
can develop a pot of cream and suddenly you’re into anti-aging. Well… It’s not quite as easy as that. 53 samples later, we still didn’t get a clinical trial that we were looking for. But to be bold enough to not launch that and take it back into innovation and say, You know what, it isn’t good enough. Let’s give it another two years, let’s re-work the formulation
and bring out something that delivers proper clinical trials that we can tell our consumer
you’re going to see tomorrow. I think that was a major learning point. My goodness, it’s the number
one anti-aging product all over the world, globally. So to do that, it’s got to be different. It’s got to be just not run-of-the-mill. So for me it’s about the
creative edge in that and being allowed and
having the permission to create something different,
that pushes the boundaries. I mean, what’s the joy in copying? It’s about making mistakes, as well. We don’t get it all right, but
let’s do something different. Let it be a patchwork, all the different pieces of your life. If you just stay on one path,
it limits your learnings. It also limits the diversity of people you’re going to meet, as well. I think that’s truly
the color of your life. So keep your vision
wide, keep the dream big, use your skillsets, do different things. You know, look at mine. I started as a singer, I
was a beauty therapist, I was an aromatherapist, I ran a business, I’m running a business. The world is your oyster. Think that you can be it and do it. And the permission right
now, today, is there. So don’t think small, please. Big dreams.

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