From massaging Little Mix to supercharging Richard Branson’s spa – Clare Anderson has seemingly done it all. And now the Oxfordshire businesswoman has won the Health & Beauty Entrepreneur Award of the Year in the South East region.
Clare, who lives near Chipping Norton, was recognised for her contributions to the beauty and wellbeing industry at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards gala dinner at the five-star Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s bustling Westminster.
For Clare, who struggled through her school years and was later diagnosed with dyslexia, winning the award was a fitting tribute to her almost 15 years of entrepreneurialism. In 2009, the 47-year-old mother of one was responsible for introducing the luxury Lava Shells massage to the UK and Ireland.
Her very first account was Bali Leha spa on Sir Richard Branson’s private Necker Island in the Caribbean, and her self-heating shells are now used in over 2,000 high-end spas. Clare’s company, Shared Beauty Secrets, has trained over 10,000 therapists in their use.
But as the pandemic hit in 2020, the spa industry was brought to its knees. Clare had to work fast to generate vital income for herself and her clients.
The quick-thinking former beauty therapist decided to bring forward by a year the launch of two new products she had designed herself, self-heating eye and face masks.
Her brand Sensory Retreats sold boxes of self-heating scented masks, including the lavender-smelling Luna Eyes and jasmine-perfumed Dreamy Eyes, to spas and salons. The businesses could then provide their clients with an ‘at home’ spa experience whilst their doors were closed during the lockdowns.
Clare’s eye masks were highly commended in the 2022 ASOS Beauty Awards, and her Divine Glow self-heating face mask won at this year’s Pure Beauty Global Awards.
Clare said: “With the first lockdown, the professional spa and salon industry essentially closed for a total of nine months. Overnight I lost my income.
“I had no choice but to bring forward the launch of my Sensory Retreats self-heating masks by a year. It was a scary time as we had to move very quickly, but it proved to be absolutely the right decision.
“I have just launched an unscented version, especially for children, under my new wellbeing brand Elfland UK. This year, I have also published my first book for children, The Lost Wish.
“Our brands have wellness at their heart. All our products are designed to relax, balance, rejuvenate or de-stress, whether in the spa or at home.
“It feels fantastic to have been recognised at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and to have collected my award alongside a number of other amazing people running all kinds of different businesses.”
Judge Johnny Paterson, the founder of the Dr Paw Paw range of personal care products, said: “Clare has had so much deserved success over a period of time, and I’ve been impressed with how she has grown the business in the face of adversity.”
Francesca James, Founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said: “Celebrating Britain’s ambitious, driven and inspirational entrepreneurs for a decade has been an honour, and we’ve learnt so much from hearing all of their unique stories and perspectives.
“The extraordinary circumstances of the last few years have tested the resilience of our business communities, and the challenges were enough to give many entrepreneurs an excuse to give up. Instead, our award winners did the opposite. And through ingenuity, innovation and the ability to adapt, they thrived.
“We’d like to congratulate all of our 2022 winners for all of their hard work and achievements – we look forward to following your lead into 2023 and beyond!”
The annual Great British Entrepreneur Awards, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary, rewards the country’s most exceptional business leaders. Over 5,000 people entered this year’s awards.
The award ceremony saw 1,400 entrepreneurs and colleagues come together to celebrate a collective £2 billion generated in turnover and over 17,000 jobs.