‘From the initial product, to creating beautiful packaging, everything has been seamless. Last year apart from all the press awards we won, we also featured in lots of magazines and newspapers, and we have a 5-star rating on TrustPilot.’
My journey to founding two businesses, one in the hair care industry and the other in wellbeing, is one many people can relate to. In my 20’s I led a party lifestyle whilst juggling my career. It was a surprising diagnosis that kickstarted my passion and completely changed my direction.
Diagnosed at 21 with abnormal cervical cells, anaemia and a B12 deficiency, stress took its toll on my health and whilst on holiday in Dubai I started shedding my hair, which came as a complete shock. After trialing poor wigs, hair systems and ‘miracle products’, I realised that to get to the root cause of my hair loss, I needed to seriously readdress my diet and lifestyle from the ‘inside out’. I studied the science of hair and nutrition and adopted a complete change in lifestyle together with following a nutrient-rich diet, much to my surprise my hair grew back better than ever before.
This led me to opening hair salons and hair loss clinics, which took off very quickly. Whilst running my salon business, both my partner and my children suffered with health concerns, and the more I researched into gut health, the more I realised how connected our gut is to our health. I also saw a lot of people walking into my salon on a daily basis, many of whom were suffering with acidity, poor sleep patterns, skin conditions and hair and scalp conditions, and I experienced first-hand how many people are suffering with wellbeing concerns.
I made it my mission to empower my clients with the knowledge of how to heal themselves from the inside out by launching a wellness brand.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH BESPOKE ADVANTAGE?
Prior to working with Bespoke Advantage, I was experiencing a number of challenges in developing my brand. I had to learn more about ingredients, and which ingredients would be right for my products. I initially launched a product range but wasn’t happy with the branding or the packaging. I also realised the supplier had very high minimum order quantities which would be difficult to sell purely through my salon. I found Bespoke Advantage through luck! I had worked with suppliers and distributors, but I wasn’t aware that there was a company that I could work with to develop my brand.
BUILDING A BRAND
We decided to relaunch the brand, building the brand from the ground up. We started by sourcing new packaging, designing a completely new brand identity, from the name of the brand to the design of the products, website and marketing materials, keeping in mind the long-term vision of the brand.
We considered the packaging, ensuring it was eco-friendly packaging, paper and ink that we have used. We conducted market research tests to validate the claims on all products and registered the products with trade bodies (Soil Association, and Vegan Society). Explaining the science behind a brand is very important. We considered the commerciality of pricing, margins, and profitability. Many people don’t realise the importance of understanding pricing, and the impact this has on where you can sell your products. We created a clear launch plan supported by PR, sending out samples to the national press, and social media.
WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE WORKING WITH BESPOKE ADVANTAGE?
We initially launched the brand into Harvey Nichols pre-Covid, but soon realised that we needed to adapt our strategy. 2020 saw us focusing on building brand awareness and entering the products into lots of press awards, and at the end of 2020 we had won over 12 awards for the products. We had an incredible year with awards.
Things have changed from the initial business plan but then the whole world has changed. Since changing our strategy, we are now launching into professional stockists, and this has been a completely new learning experience for me. This year we are investing in a new website and new digital footprint and we have a number of new products in the pipeline. 2020 has been challenging, 2021 is a new opportunity, and I am really looking forward to building Simone Thomas Wellness and expanding it internationally.
Unless someone comes from a background in this industry, you wouldn’t know what is required, and you could spend a lot of money without achieving any real results. Not only do I have the support of an experienced team to help me to make things happen and to grow my brand, but I also have a great personal relationship with Janet and her team, working in this way means I have someone to turn to, to share the journey of running a business.
‘Through Janet’s management skills, expertise and proven track record on the job she successfully managed the purchasing of our retail operations and ensured the integrity of our brands in-stores. Her enthusiasm and total dedication, delivered results in any project she was involved in.’
‘Janet is one of the best people I have ever worked with in my career. She fully understands the whole process of product development, supply chain and marketing. Janet has in-depth experience of toiletries and international retailing. I would recommend her to any company or client.’
‘Janet has excellent beauty market knowledge. Level headed with clear vision, direction and the ability to drive business forward, Janet led the teams through a complete product design change advising on what the key marketing messages should be, incorporating her technical knowledge and beauty expertise.’
‘I highly recommend Bespoke Advantage to business owners across the beauty, spa and wellness industry. Janet has been a fantastic support to my business. Through her in-depth knowledge of the beauty industry she has provided me with strategies specifically tailored to my business needs, to help me to grow my business across the marketplace’.
‘Janet has a wealth of experience across retail, buying and marketing. She conducted a full strategic review of our cross functional business and the travel retail market to develop a comprehensive buying and quality control strategy that was signed off at board level. I highly recommend her as an asset to any business.’
‘Janet is extremely professional, knowledgeable and thorough, an expert of her field. This shone through from our first conversation, which instinctively led me to want to work with Bespoke Advantage. As a new skincare brand the expertise of Bespoke Advantage has been invaluable.’
‘Janet, absolutely fantastic to meet you today. Thoroughly enjoyed The Beauty Workshop. You definitely excel in your area and beyond.’
‘We have been really pleased to work with Janet. Through her 6-Month online coaching program she showed us exactly what we needed to do each step of the way. Really look forward to having future opportunities to work together.’
‘Many thanks again for all the help, support and words of encouragement, as I said before, best and most sensible thing I’ve done in developing my beauty ideas is to engage with you!’
‘It’s been inspirational working with Janet. We are in the process of launching a skincare brand however have received conflicting opinions from so many people we were really confused. I am so impressed by Janet’s knowledge and experience in product development, marketing and retail and the way she explains everything so clearly. She is very motivating and positive, and so much fun to work with. I have much more clarity and confidence in how to move things forward.’
‘Bespoke Advantage helped us to bring our brand to life creatively and strategically. We have a clear strategy in place, with a distinctive brand message that enables us to articulate our brand to retailers and to journalists.’