“Being in a male-dominated industry was challenging, but now I’m set for global domination.“ – Haylee Benton
We at BoxHuman are passionate about highlighting and celebrating inspiring humans; especially the ones who are inspiring, helping, and bringing light to the world. We do this to rebalance some of the negative messages we often hear, see, and receive daily. We met up quickly with one of these amazing individuals…
Hi Haylee, it’s great to meet you. Thank you for taking part in our BoxHuman Business Inspire Series. Let’s start…Can you please tell me a little bit about you, where you are from and what you are especially known for?
I’m originally from New Zealand but moved over to the UK in my early twenties. I was travelling in Europe at the time and instantly fell in love with the culture, atmosphere, and opportunities that the UK provides, so I decided to make it my permanent home.
Throughout my time in the UK, I’ve worked hard to help new businesses get off the ground. This is including my recent foray into the beauty sector with PamperPad and The Silver Fern Group; Alchemy & I, Cecily Day Spa, and Koha Skin Clinic.
I consider myself very resilient and a go-getter. I love starting new projects and watching them flourish before my eyes, particularly when it comes to nurturing successful teams and overcoming any challenges that get in our way.
A perfect introduction, thank you. Wow, congratulations on the launch and success of all of your businesses, that’s very impressive and very inspiring! Can you please tell me in your own words when did your inspiring entrepreneurial journey begin? Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur and what inspired you to do this?
I distinctively remember Business Studies being my favourite subject at school so in some way being an entrepreneur was always on the cards. When I reached working age in New Zealand, I worked tirelessly climbing up the corporate ladder with the eventual aim of starting up my own business and becoming my own boss.
After a few years in the UK, I decided to continue to follow this ambition and work towards a degree in Business from Warwick University. It is something I greatly cherish as the skills I learned during university helped me take the crucial first steps towards launching my own company, PamperPad, which still runs strongly today.
PamperPad has become a trusted resource for both consumers and professionals in the beauty and wellness sector, allowing customers to find the very best local deals. At the same time, pamper professionals can also achieve great exposure to their business at an affordable rate.
That’s certainly a website I will bookmark, thank you for sharing that. So what would you say has been your biggest challenge that you’ve had to go through since becoming an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had to overcome many adversities on my journey, but perhaps the biggest challenge I’ve faced was at the very start of my career. Being a 21-year-old woman in New Zealand in a male-dominated factory and signage industry. I was always going to be up against the odds, but I never expected it to work how it did. Trying to manage a predominantly male workforce who were very traditional in their ways was a challenge all in itself but, unfortunately, I was part of the company during its demise and due to this had to oversee redundancies which are never a pleasant part of business.
It was from here I gained my visa to work in the UK and set my sights on furthering my entrepreneurial journey in another country. Challenges are always going to be an unpleasant part of life but what makes a person stronger is how they overcome and learn from them.
Great advice Haylee. You’ve certainly inspired me so far, thank you! I think it’s a good time to start OUR BoxHuman Business Inspire questions. Let’s go…
1) Can you tell us why you decided to leave the signage business and start a beauty business.
2) What inspired you to do this and why?
I decided to start working within the beauty industry as I saw a gap in the market for creating a unique experience for the client. The standards that we’re trying to achieve at Alchemy & I, Cecily Day Spa, and Koha Skin Clinic are on another level compared to a lot of standard salons.
Each business is focused on delivering a personal and memorable experience that will help with client retention. Clients know that they can come in with their friends, get pampered together, and not worry about the real world.
All three businesses offer a hybrid experience, combining high-end, luxurious customer experience with high street accessibility. Whether it be relaxing treatments at the immersive Cecily Day Spa, skincare procedures at Koha Skin Clinic, or hairstyling in a high-end establishment, including a personal cocktail maker, at Alchemy & I. Similarly, PamperPad is like nothing else in the industry, with over 8,000 beauty businesses listed in the extensive directory.
This is extremely impressive and inspiring to hear that you are running more than one business so successfully. There is a common misconception that you can only be good at one thing. It’s great to know that the sky is really the limit. Continuing the positive questions can you please tell us…
1) Why did you become a mentor?
2) What challenges do you think women face when becoming an entrepreneur and how should they overcome it?
Mentoring is a great way to give back to a younger generation, and I loved being able to speak to my mentees on both an intellectual and friendship level – that way a bond of trust was created, but we kept to the task of spurring them on to the next phase of their career.
There are a lot of boundaries women need to overcome to become an entrepreneur. Today more than ever, gender equality is being talked about, and there is a definite need to defy social expectations, especially when working within a male-dominated industry.
So, unfortunately, women do sometimes need to work harder and get creative to be taken seriously by investors and their peers. However, this will pay dividends in the long run as the rewards, and lasting change, are well worth the effort.
What brilliant insight and advice! Knowing that you are successful and that the rewards are worth it, is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your success, Haylee. It’s sad to say, but we’re nearly at the end of our time together. I think this the perfect time to now start our BoxHuman Inspire questions…
1) What’s been your biggest achievement and proudest moment so far?
2) What makes you smile and inspires you on a daily basis?
I’d say my most significant achievement was when I launched my own signage and events company on the other side of the world! Back in 2017, I started the company in my native New Zealand and employed someone to take care of day-to-day operations locally while I led on strategy from the UK. I later sold that business at a significant profit.
What inspires me is simple: success. I look to other successful women in business, such as Baroness Karen Brady, and seek to emulate her natural entrepreneurial spirit and positive efforts to become a role model for young women in business.
3) If there was one positive thing you would say to someone to inspire and empower them what would it be and why?
Be true to yourself and what you believe in.
Too often, people listen to bad advice and don’t follow their gut instincts. Those instincts are there telling you to do the right for you, so you should listen to them. I’ve found success when I’ve believed in myself and followed what I’ve thought was best for my businesses. Being able to dig deep and find that self-motivation and self-empowerment will be the only thing that will drive you through tough times.
4) What future life goals do you want to achieve and why?
5) In three words how would you describe yourself?
My new thing is ‘global domination’. In the past 18 months, I’ve launched three beauty brands – a day spa, a hair salon, and a skin clinic – all with their own premises. I’m hoping to replicate the model in other affluent towns and have a site back home in New Zealand.
If I had to describe myself in three words, I’d say I was…
“I am resilient, creative, and forward-thinking.” Haylee Benton
Congratulations again! Finally and to conclude this very inspiring interview…A BoxHuman is an empowered individual. They will not be defined by society’s labels. They show the better qualities of humankind, such as strength, kindness, and inspiration. Can you please tell us what makes you a BoxHuman?
I never believed I could fail and didn’t worry about stepping on anyone’s toes.
“Thank you, Haylee.”
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