The younger me founded her first business in 1991, aged 23. Pacific Direct was a specialist global supplier of luxury high-end brands, which I sold after 17 years for £20 million. Looking back, there were lots of battle scars gained along the way, but also so much experience, of everything from luxury brand licensing to private label development.
As challenges go though, your toughest will be the blending of our 100% natural aromas when we created Scentered in 2011. I would not be here without Fay, my partner, who put her heart and soul into the blend creation – so much hard work and study, bag-loads of trial and error, ingenuity and, importantly, the intellectual knowledge required to successfully combine therapeutic grade essential oils that really do deliver impact. Even as a young business woman I have always known the value of a team; everyone brings different skills, different viewpoints and sometimes different approaches, which often prove to be better than my own best effort.
Know this: Hard work pays dividends. Never stop working hard, continuing to learn and grow
Your passion for fragrance and functionality will lead you to creating Scentered; it’s what I’m most proud of in my career. My biggest mistake was not being brave enough sooner. But if I could do it all again, I really would change nothing. I never look back. I cannot quite believe how very lucky I have been to build the life I share with such wonderful friends and family. But know this; hard work pays dividends. Never stop working hard, continuing to learn and grow.
If I could begin in the spa industry again today, I’d try to gain more information on the lifestyle trends that influence spa guests – what drives them to treatments. Mapping the journey of guests, both pre and post treatment, really ensures we treat each person as an individual and deliver the best results. And I wish I'd known how important it is to see sales as a service extension; a natural part of the guest care experience, extending the treatment through the recommendation of products guests will benefit from post therapy.
the future of the spa industry lies in the hands of those listening to the needs of the customer
I believe the future of the spa industry lies in the hands of those listening to the needs of the customer. Especially those customers looking for integrated, full-service wellbeing and those understanding that portable therapy and agility will win out.
Mapping the journey of guests, both pre and post treatment, really ensures we treat each person as an individual and deliver the best results
I’ve been most inspired by both my mother and also a teacher I had when I was very young. She taught me to always do my best and convinced me that the more I put into life, the more I would get out. My Mum introduced me to the power of natural therapy and aromas and how they impact mindset. She saved my bacon by suggesting I utilised aroma oils for self-therapy, so I could treat myself in times of need. She is the inspiration behind Scentered and it makes me very proud that I’m now able to offer a product that really impacts people in a positive way.
There’s a piece of advice that’s stayed with me, that I wish you’d known: saying no more often than yes genuinely unleashes the best of possibilities. Learning to be focused, really sincerely, singularly focused on my goals and planning for the best outcomes. These are things I’ve now learnt, that I spend valuable time applying and I know that they make anything possible.
The best advice I could give you, my younger self, would be to write your plan and then break it down into bite-sized chunks, surround yourself with great people and lead by example. It’s true that if you put your customer at the centre of all you do, you will succeed.
About the Author:
Lara Morgan is co-founder and CEO of Scentered, a range of 100% natural aromatherapy products that are part of the Gerrard International family of brands. She’s a published author of the best-selling business book More Balls Than Most and is a co-founder of the Start Up Britain campaign, which offers inspiration, resources and guidance to help people start and grow their own business.