Talking to... Nicci Anstey of Elemis

The global training and education director is taking Elemis’s education to the next level, with new masterclasses and academies.

As global training and education director for British skincare brand Elemis, Nicci Anstey is in charge of everything from strategic planning of training across all markets, to the management of the brand’s Academy of Excellence in Birmingham, and implementing new treatment protocols. “We’re in more than 70 countries, so ultimately our education is across the board, but the heart of it is here in the UK,” she says. This year, the company upped its training offer with the introduction of three business courses – Consulting for Success, Retailing for Success and Operating for Success – which teach spa managers, owners and therapists the crux of running a successful business, from the knowledge of the headcount needed to make a spa profitable, to what makes a great consultation and how to maintain clients.

“It’s a skill set to go from being a beauty therapist behind a closed door to managing a team; it requires a lot of investment,” says Anstey. “Most therapists can see the target – how many clients they need to book in a day to hit their goals – but won’t necessarily think about the retail opportunities or the treatment upsell with each of them. In business, every little counts.”

Ahead of the curve

The courses are modular, which means they can be combined, and the brand is hoping this will prove popular with large accounts such as Hand Picked Hotels and health club chain The Bannatyne Group. “For example, for Bannatyne, which is our number-one business group, we can be flexible and give them a 360-degree education plan covering every part of their business, training everyone from spa managers, therapists and regional fitness directors to those in the call centres,” says Anstey.

Anstey is looking to roll out more business courses in the future but for the time being will focus on updating the information of the current courses on a quarterly basis because “the most important thing with training is making sure the content is relevant,” she adds. The brand is also working on the launch of a new concept entitled Train the Trainer – bespoke education for head therapists at big accounts on everything from business skills to product knowledge, tailored to that business’s wants and needs.

“This will be great for accounts that might, for example, have a lot of staff who only work part-time or at the weekend,” explains Anstey. “Instead of trying to get everyone to travel to Birmingham for four days, we can train the head therapists who can then go back and train the rest of the team.”

Therapists undertaking courses at Elemis's Academy of Excellence in Birmingham

Expanding portfolio

As part of its robust plans for brand expansion in the US, the company is also opening a new House of Elemis spa, with a built-in training room, in Miami at the end of the year. But to compete on a global scale, some of the brand’s courses have had to be adapted due to how the US is licensed.

“In the states, you’re usually either solely a massage therapist or an aesthetician – not a dual-therapist like here in the UK. So, massage therapists will have a great knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the body, while aestheticians will be very knowledgeable about face and technology but not necessarily the whole brand’s approach,” says Anstey.

“Therefore, we’ve had to customise our training modules. For example, if we’re teaching aestheticians then we wouldn’t be incorporating, say, a scalp massage. It has its restrictions but for us to be able to compete in the global market we have to be able to cater for that.”

Two more training academies will be opening in the UK and the first, due to launch next year, will be in London, “probably around the Kings Cross/Euston area as it’s where a lot of international clients tend to come and it’s easy to travel to,” says Anstey. It will have four practical training rooms, a development room and retail and theory training room, and will hold up to 70 delegates. The second will be in the North, somewhere between Manchester and Leeds, but a launch date hasn’t been set yet.

Artist's impression of the inside space of the new House of Elemis in Miami

Leader of the pack

It’s not only the education side of the brand that’s adapting to today’s business climate. “People’s lifestyles are ever-changing; they’re placing more demand on their body and skin – spending hours looking at computer screens and smartphones, which can cause stress and ‘inflammageing’. Therefore, the demands of the skincare brand are now greater and we have to deliver,” says Anstey.

As a result, Elemis will be launching 12 new products in 2017 including a Pro-Definition Facial Oil (due in spring), which will help blur the appearance of tell-tale marionette lines; a Pro-Collagen Facial Oil (summer), which has an anti-photoageing and anti-inflammatory formulation to promote the skin’s natural defences; and an aromatherapy and science range (spring), a line of bath and shower products, fragrances and candles formulated with essential oils to enhance wellbeing and deliver maximum skin health.

The development of treatment make-up is also underway. “For some people, the entry point into skincare is make-up, so we’re looking at different textures and formulations – tints, veils, powders – that kind of thing,” says Anstey. However, she warns that it can take a minimum of three years, sometimes longer, to get a product from idea to the finished thing. One thing is for sure, we can expect big things from Elemis in 2017.