December Beauty Insider : 20 Years of Beauty

In celebration of our 20th anniversary and 2019 UK Salon of the Year accolades, I-ON features editor and beauty lover Carrie Mitchell chats to Fiona about the evolution of the Scottish beauty industry!

When you launched Zen 20 years ago, the beauty industry must have looked very different. In what ways has it changed over the last two decades?

The industry as a whole has grown and evolved beyond what anyone could have imaged in terms of size, treatment choice, product efficacy and technological developments. The number of competitors have mushroomed but so too has demand for services, with many treatments once regarded as a rare luxury now considered to be a regular essential. Equally, many high-end, non-surgical treatments would have been regarded as elite 20 years ago, but are now very mainstream and affordable.

How has social media influenced people’s attitudes towards beauty and progressive treatments?

It’s been transformational for the beauty industry. Today, consumers turn to social networks for everything from beauty tips, product and treatment recommendations to how-to tutorials to online purchases. Real ‘before and after’ pictures are incredibly powerful give clients the opportunity to compare results between treatments and suppliers as well as assess therapist skill. This can be very convenient – and quick – for clients researching treatment ideas. New and emerging trends can take root much more quickly and spread fast. Social channels also present a great opportunity to give clients a glimpse into the culture, atmosphere and personality of a business. However, when it comes to business development, I still believe there is no substitute for word-of-mouth, which itself is a factor of the quality of the client experience.

How has Zen adapted to keep up with the changing times?

In the beauty industry you have to continue to evolve to stay ahead with consumer tastes, product innovation and technological advancements. It’s incredibly important to me and to make sure we are up do date with the very best industry has to offer, we regularly attend industry exhibitions in the UK and abroad. We also regularly meet with current and potential suppliers to make sure we understand what is available in the market.

With new technology, there must be treatments available now which you couldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago. What is the most revolutionary treatment you now offer?

BTL Unison is by far the best, advanced treatment for cellulite I have ever seen and I had to invest in the technology and bring it to Scotland. Cellulite is notoriously difficult to treat but our new Unison treatment makes a genuine and instant difference. Only four short sessions are required to achieve a significant improvement and the long term results we have seen for our clients have been incredible.

What has been the most notable learning curve of your career?

It is vital to make each and every member of staff an ambassador for your brand – they, after all, are the face of the company. It requires incredible effort to maintain high standards every day and it has taken me years to develop the processes and systems to we now have in place to nurture talent and maintain a consistent level of service.

It’s not just your business that has aged well. What treatments do you personally have to help stave off the ageing process?

I find regular peels really keep my skin glowing and healthy.  I am a huge fan of LED light therapy and have really enjoyed the benefits of several Rejuvapen treatments over the last couple of years. At home I use a high quality SPF all year round, swear by Skinade and believe in the value of cosmeceutical grade skincare products, especially retinol based products.

You’ve had many successes over the years but does winning this year’s UK salon of the year award feel like the icing on the cake?

It has been a great honour this year to be recognised as the best salon in the UK by BABTAC/CIBTAC, the industry standards and qualifications body. It is a lovely tribute to the efforts of the wonderful team of dedicated therapists and receptionists who try so hard to make each client visit a special experience. And I’m just thrilled we’ve had this accolade as we celebrate our 20th anniversary and evolution from one boutique salon with just one therapist to a multi-award winning brand with 32 staff located across the city centre and 26 national awards.

Carrie Mitchell is the features editor for I-ON Magazine and a lover of all things to do with fashion and beauty.