In honour of International Women’s Day, we chat to Deborah Mitchell about her cult-favourite skincare, tackling the business world as a woman, and her tips for budding beauty entrepreneurs.
Deborah Mitchell’s Heaven Skincare has become a cult-favourite for beauty buffs and salon owners alike, and she has become the go-to facialist for celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and the Duchess of Cornwall herself. But Mitchell’s journey to world-renowned success didn’t happen overnight.
Her business started as a mobile skincare venture and has taken 25 years of dedication and a desire to build her own success for it to be transformed into the global beauty and wellness empire it is today. We sat down with Mitchell to chat all things inspiration, success and self-care as a female entrepreneur.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in the wellness industry?
DM: I started Heaven Skincare as a kitchen table venture more than 25 years ago and the brand is now sold all over the world, including in our flagship salon and spa in Shifnal, Shropshire. Despite suffering from dyslexia and severe acne as a teenager, I have been able to turn these to my advantage to carve out a successful business that can count a host of royals and A-listers amongst its biggest fans. I am best known for my innovative range of beauty products – most notably my Bee Venom Masks and the vegan Nettle Venom – that I devise and create myself.
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. Right from the start, I wanted to help other people feel better, look younger and overcome whatever skin conditions they had.
You have built yourself a beauty and wellness empire, and even become the facialist to the Duchess of Cornwall. What do you attribute your success to?
DM: My skincare is best known for being innovative and instant, and the fact that I have a long list of celebrity and royal clients is a testament to this. We’re different to so many other brands because we use totally natural, organic ingredients and anyone can use my products — even those with the most sensitive skin.
I have always loved looking after people and there is no better feeling than helping someone who may have suffered from a skin issue for years. I’m not your average industry boss, though! I’m very hands-on and I still work behind the counter and carry out treatments so I have the privilege of meeting my customers day-to-day.
One of the things I love most about what I do is helping my clients to feel better about themselves, not only on the outside but on the inside too. I want them to walk out of our salon feeling confident and to fall in love with themselves. I like to think of it as my special brand of Heaven.
Who were some of your biggest inspirations and supporters along the way?
DM: I never felt I had one thing that inspired me, I just had a burning desire to achieve. I wanted to build a business that helped people feel good and at the same time one that made me and my family happy, and it still does every day.
My biggest supporter is my daughter Ella. I am so proud that she works with me, helping to run the business and making all the important decisions alongside me.
What challenges have you faced throughout your career?
DM: I like to be challenged all the time otherwise life would be boring. I’ve had so many challenges 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 a challenge but I don’t think I would have achieved everything I have without it. My brain has to work harder than other people’s but this has always helped me see things that others miss.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
DM: Because I still treat clients and work in my salon, like everyone else I get stressed. In fact, we are currently moving to a new HQ and it’s amazing how much brain space that can take up! So, I like to relax with my family, take trips to Wales or go shopping with my friends. Home is very important to me, so when I can, I take the chance to relax and that’s where I’m happiest.
Your Bee Sting Facial has become a cult favourite. Can you walk us through the process?
DM: My Bee Sting Facial is a natural facelift that transforms the skin and works on all the tell-tale signs of tiredness and ageing — fine lines, pigmentation, puffy eyes and loose tissue around the chin — to leave clients looking instantly younger and radiant. The treatment combines a series of unique hands-on techniques that I have developed to relax facial muscle tissue to firm and tighten.
It’s a very relaxing treatment created with a host of natural and organic ingredients, including potent bee venom, and is designed to increase collagen and reduce sun damage and pigmentation. Currently, the only facialist to offer the treatment and Heaven Skincare in Australia is April Brodie.
What are your signature Heaven Health & Beauty skin and wellness treatments?
DM: As well as my collection of skincare products, I have also developed a series of salon treatments that combine visualisation and talking therapy techniques that treat the skin and the mind for a more holistic approach. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world training Heaven therapists in my unique methods that combine proven science with the latest developments in skincare. My signature treatments involve many of my bestselling products like Bee Peel, Nettle Venom and, most recently, Collagen Drops.
And finally, any advice for budding skincare and wellness entrepreneurs?
DM: Don’t let anyone say you can’t do it; if you’re prepared to put the effort in then it will work out in time. Also, don’t expect miracles – nothing happens overnight.
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