What did you want to be when you grew up?
A vet; I was always passionate about animals and wanted to help and improve lives. My dogs and cats are a source of great comfort and wellbeing for me.
What makes Spabreaks.com work?
A combination of a dynamic approach to marketing spas, accessibility of product and booking options, and our strong relationships with spa destinations.
We make the spa industry more accessible by offering a variety of price points, geographical spread, experiences (afternoon teas, groups, health retreats), ease of booking and also driving change within the industry when it comes to treating anyone with a serious health condition like cancer, an area I am extremely passionate about.
Our phenomenally talented and experienced team not only showcases the best the spa industry has to offer, but we really understand customer demand, and how to marry the two with integrity.
Reflecting this insight, our online bookings have grown from £2 m in 2017 to over £5 m in 2018 and projected figures are over £9 m for 2019.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Surround yourself with the best people, and once you have done that empower them to be the best versions of themselves. This creates a loyal, motivated and happy team – a powerfully energising environment to work in. It will also inspire you and carry you through the tough times.
What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
Energy, passion, self-belief and a ‘just keep swimming’ attitude that means you always find ways around things, even if they aren’t the perfect ways. Finding solutions and never giving up.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
My children and my business – and managing to juggle both for more than 11 years. I learn so much both from my children and my work; ultimately everything I do at work is for my family – partly to provide for them, but also to set an example. I didn’t get top marks at school, nor did I come from an especially privileged background. I want my children to know they can achieve anything if they work hard and commit. This empowers me so that even when I am stressed or worried, I know I can push through and make things happen. I also try to pass this onto my team by mentoring, particularly young women.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My working mummy friends. To be a working mum is hard, empowering, trying, liberating, humbling, an endurance – it’s a million things, and perhaps the hardest part is that it’s always changing. When your children are tiny it presents one set of challenges; as they get older it’s a completely different ball game as their schedules and needs change. I have three children and have worked for myself since I had my first son, so I’ve always had flexibility.
What is your recipe for success in business?
‘Just keep going.’ Most people don’t fail; one way or another they give up. Beyond that, know your industry, trust your gut (don’t ignore other people’s points, but don’t get blindsided by them, either), and surround yourself with good individuals who want to build others up, rather than tear them down.
What are your greatest fears?
In business my biggest fear is failing after sacrificing so much over the last 11 years; to realise the business hasn’t made the changes to the industry that I hoped it would, would be very upsetting. But more important to me, personally, would be feeling that my children weren’t proud of me or they resented what I have been doing during the whole of their lifetimes – that would be heart breaking.
How do you wind down at the end of the day?
I try to spend time with my husband. He also runs his own business and I get a lot of strength and confidence from sharing stories about our days. I also love to walk my dog, which gives me the headspace I need to prepare for the next day as a mum and a business leader.
What is your most treasured possession?
My health. Repeated slipped discs caused me to have a spine fusion, leaving me with chronic pain for more than two years. I have realised that without my health and physical and mental wellbeing, I couldn’t play any of the roles I want to in life.
If you feel inspired by Abi then why not register to come along to The Women’s business Network Surrey event on 8th March where Abi is one of the panellists. To register click HERE