Noella Gabriel has been the beating heart of Elemis since 1990. She’s co-founder of the brand, which is now available in 93 countries worldwide, and mother to a teenage daughter, Kate. She is involved in the creation of all the treatments and develops every multi-award winning product, always striving for exquisite textures, aromatics and unique actives that deliver results.
‘If I was starting out again today, I wouldn’t change a thing. Back then, I was young, hungry, passionate and wanted to learn everything about skin health and wellbeing.
However, when you are young and taking your first steps in business, you won’t know how to manage people – this is something that can only come with time and experience. As the saying goes, “I wish I knew then what I know now”. It’s all a learning curve and management skills grow with you and the role. It doesn’t matter how many books you read; you need to be doing it (the job) to get better at it.
It doesn’t matter how many books you read; you need to be doing it to get better at it’
As a training beauty therapist and aromatherapist, I always believed in treating the skin with a total approach. The method I took – of treating the skin from the inside out – was way ahead of its time. With this philosophy, I co-founded Elemis in 1990.
I am inspired as much now by the beauty industry as I was then. And I am constantly inspired by how the skin works. The skin mirrors our inner, emotional life and our lifestyle choices; when there is calm and balance, it shows. You always believed that the breath is key to this and I still do now; breathing fully and deeply supports each individual skin cell to function optimally and sends a message to the nervous system, which helps stabilise every process in the body. For me, singing and swimming have always been important to my wellbeing. Not just because I enjoy them, but because they help me focus on my breath. Simply noticing the rhythm of your breath is core to skin health and wellness.
Your toughest challenge will be losing your parents at an early age. It will be such a key event that it will mould who you become. Because of this, from a young age, I had a very different outlook on life and a great appreciation of the skills I’d been given. My parents gave me the most wonderful grounding for my future, and I overcame this sad chapter exactly because they instilled a determination in me – I had to pick myself up and dust myself down because nobody was going to do it for me.
‘It’s okay to make mistakes. You are enough’
My last piece of advice to you is that it’s okay to make mistakes. You are enough. In the past, I had a very tall yard stick. I’ve learnt not to beat myself up over little mistakes – learn from them and realise that you don’t know it all! My motto is to keep learning and listening. Really listen; don’t have the answer ready before the other person has stopped talking. Listen and then act.
This industry has been good to me. It’s given me back everything I’ve put in and more, and it has been very rewarding. Where does the future of the industry lie? In evolving. Never be afraid to keep evolving. As people’s physical and emotional needs evolve, the industry needs to evolve with them.’