After the success of my Women in Business series last year I wanted to make sure that 2016 brought you another truck load of inspirational ladies!
First up is Clare Anderson of Shared Beauty Secrets Ltd – the proud founder of the famous Lava Shells Massage. Since launching in 2009 the Lava Shells Massage has been highly sought after by celebrities, bloggers and beauty fanatics and has been dubbed by Vogue as the new “hot stones massage.”
Having trained over 5,000 therapists offering these self heating miracle shells as a therapeutic treatment in over 2,000 salons, I think you’d agree that Clare is someone any beauty fan should be in awe of…
So Clare, what inspired you to set up Shared Beauty Secrets?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and for many years had a successful career within the professional spa and beauty industry but knew I wanted more. I loved the experience of being in control of the success of business I worked for but felt hindered by having to answer to someone. I am hugely inspired by Richard Branson and was reading his book ‘Losing my Virginity’ when I came across Lava Shells by chance while on holiday and instantly recognised that they would rival the very popular Hot Stones treatments, so within weeks I had set up my company Shared Beauty Secrets, secured exclusive distribution rights for the UK and Ireland and started my journey.
What are the key foundations of your brand?
Simply, the Shared Beauty Secrets brand foundations have been built on results driven treatments and integrity. It is essential, being in the professional beauty industry, that we instil confidence in the therapists who we train in our treatments. All Lava Shell treatments available through Shared Beauty Secrets are developed by my team, and offer a professional, holistic results driven experience for our clients.
How has Lava Shells grown since you first launched?
I launched to the UK market in March 2009 and gained my first account in the Bali Leha Spa on Sir Richard Branson’s’ Necker Island, since then the company has gone from strength to strength. From the initial Lava Relax Massage treatment the menu has now grown to more than 10 beautiful treatments. We have trained more than 5,000 beauty therapists in Lava Shell treatments and there are over 2,000 locations where you can experience a treatment.
But I didn’t want to stop there, so in 2014 I created Lava Angels, a team of social media savvy therapists who carry out massage treatments at events or in people’s homes and promote themselves using the Shared Beauty Secrets brand image, contacts and celebrity endorsements to develop their own mobile or salon business. Lava Angels regularly attend events such as Capital FM’s Jingle Bell Ball and Summer Ball, at the MOBO’s and backstage on tour with bands such as The Saturdays and Blue giving the artists massage treatments. Our Angels can also be found at events such as Peter Jones Charity Golf Day and at corporate offices like Virgin delivering wellbeing treatments to staff.
Our newest secret launched in Autumn 2015 is the first in a range of Coconut Oil products. The purest of oils was needed to complement our Lava Mama pregnancy treatment with additional products in line for 2016.
What have been your biggest struggles since launching?
For a small company, breaking into the professional spa market is not an easy feat and having to reach both the trade and consumer markets to promote your product is tough. I decided I needed credibility for my treatments so gaining FHT accreditation for the Lava Shell massage training course ensured the professional positioning of the post-graduate training courses within the industry, giving the brand kudos and integrity. I have no investor so had to start the company with just a small loan so cash flow is the biggest challenge as I am always reinvesting in the business to continually grow. Having a large injection of cash would of course make things easier and maybe happen quicker but it hasn’t stopped us.
And on the flip side, what have been your most memorable achievements?
There are many, but the biggest must be our appearances on prime time TV shows This Morning and BBC1’s The Apprentice which were unique opportunities and gave my treatments nationwide coverage. We were selected to be a product a team on the Apprentice had to sell which gave us a huge amount of coverage with the team demonstrating Lava Shells being used.
Who has been your biggest influence or inspiration along your journey?
Richard Branson. I have always admired him and his determination so was thrilled to have the Bali Leha Spa on Necker Island as my first account. Sir Richard wished us a Happy Birthday on our 5th birthday which meant a lot from such a business icon and then I was fortunate enough to meet the man himself when I was on Necker Island this year.
What makes Lava Shells different from its competitors?
Hot stone massage is our only rival treatment, it is a lovely treatment but comes with its challenges. You can’t book ‘off the cuff’ treatments as the stones need time to heat and there are the obvious health and safety issues around a large heater of water in the treatment room, they also require a lot of heavy ‘equipment’. Lava Shells are non-porous so easy and quick to clean, they heat within minutes so treatments, stay hot for over an hour and can be booked at short notice or used as an add-on during a treatment as the continuous heat allows therapists to deliver a seamless massage. The only equipment is the shell and a charge which goes inside the shell so they are fully portable and great for mobile therapists or demonstrations outside of the treatment room. The shells are eco-friendly which is an element loved by clients and therapists alike. This is why we have so many accounts choosing Lava Shells over their hot stone predecessor.
For anyone who is a little unsure about whether to have a Lava Shells massage what would you say?
Book one, you won’t regret it! We offer a range of treatments utilising the benefits of both our warm Lava Shells as well as our cool Glacial Shells with many remedial benefits. I would recommend starting with our first launch, a Lava Relax Massage. Before you start your therapist will explain the procedure to you so you can lay back and enjoy the experience – The indulgent and truly pampering Lava Shells Relax Body Massage offers an idyllic treatment combining the warmth of the shells with deeply relaxing massage techniques to create a sense of balance to the entire body and mind. During the massage, the shells are worked over the palms, arms, feet and legs in slow deep moves to warm and de-stress followed by wonderfully tranquil massage on the back, neck and shoulder area to ease away all tension, knots and stress.
What are your goals for Lava Shells over the next few years?
Continuing with my development plans for Pure Coconut Oil products is the plan for 2016 and beyond and I have plans in place for developing our hugely popular training courses over the coming two years but I am often inspired by a situation or a request from my customers and when I see an opportunity I seize it so there may be other exciting ventures on the horizon for us I don’t yet know about.
Where can readers find Lava Shells?
Our treatment are available in over 2,000 salons and spas across the country as well as through mobile therapists. Stoke Park, Mandarin Oriental, Eden Hall, Ragdale Hall, Celtic Manor, Bannatyne Spas,
Appleby Manor Hotel & Garden Spa, Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway, Spa at Blythswood Square, Radiance Day Spa, Fawsley Hall, The Spa Pillo Hotel, Lime House Spa, Skibo Castle, Champneys – Forest Mere, Parknasilla Resort and Spa, St Brides Spa Hotel, SenSpa at Careys Manor Hotel, Belfry and Corick Country House to name just a few.
You can find your local Lava Shell therapist here on our website
And finally, if you had one message you could personally pass on to Jessica KG readers what would it be?
If you believe in something go for it. You have to be prepared to work hard and know your weaknesses; no one is perfect at everything. Surround yourself with people whom you trust and can support and help you in the areas you are not as strong.
Having the passion for what you do is paramount and being focused and determined is essential, but for me having discovered an amazing product that customers embrace is the key.
Thank you so much to Clare for sharing her start up story and fantastic brand with us. I had a taster of the Lava Shells Massage at Olympia Beauty and the Beauty Blogger awards last year and have to say it felt truly amazing. I cannot wait to trial a full treatment very soon! In the meantime here’s a sneak preview of a Lava Shells treatment so you can see one of the Lava Angels in action…
Has anyone else tried Lava Shells?
As always, please do share any reviews or feedback below.
Jessica KG ♡
PS. Why not check out one of last years top three Women In Business posts?
An Interview with Deborah Mitchell of Heaven Skincare
An Interview with Ruby Chan of My Tea Time
An Interview with Abi Oleck of BeauBronz