Welcome to EW‘s weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
This week we chat with the co-founder of Remedy Hair & Spa, Hannah Raleigh, on how she’s created a haven for guests with nature-based spa treatments to balance and restore wellbeing while addressing each guest’s unique needs and health concerns. From using Kevin Murphy products to providing bespoke services you’re sure to feel rejuvenated in no time.
EW sat down with Raleigh to find out more about the brand, her career and what made her want to enter the realm of the salon industry.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Psychology. My degree was in Developmental Psychology, and I loved learning about how each child’s minds develops and grows. As a people manager for a long time, my training and interest in human behaviour has been my most valuable asset.
What was your first job?
I’ve always worked; as a teenager, I worked in catering, was a nanny for several families, and even a choreographer for a summer theatre. My first job post-university was as an administrative assistant at a software company; I was extremely overqualified, having just graduated from a top US university, but the company had a development mindset, and the leadership invested heavily in me, so I quickly moved into professional roles which built my CV for a long career in software sales, delivery, support, and executive management.
What inspired you to go into the beauty industry?
My co-founder once explained to me, as she was colouring my hair, that the beauty industry is what is referred to as a “lipstick industry” and it’s relatively recession-proof. Women, no matter what is going on in their lives, whether they’re young or old, married or single, employed or unemployed will always have the drive to look and feel their best. Our most recent reminder of this was during the COVID-19 pandemic when women panicked over hair that needed removing, or roots that were becoming too noticeable, or nails that needed attention.
What eventually brought you to Dubai?
I moved to Dubai in 2011 to lead the Middle East region for a software company. I’ve long been working with software for hospitals, and we had several prestigious healthcare customers in the region that needed closer attention and care.
You launched Remedy last year. What’s the story behind launching your own salon here in Dubai?
From what I now know, this is a common tale of a customer opening a business with her hairstylist. I am a long-time customer of my co-founder, the amazingly talented stylist Samiha Bousselmi. After spending countless hours in her chair over the years, we had discovered that we share a passion for natural remedies to health issues, and Samiha had a yet-untapped talent for researching and creating natural treatments to address common hair issues, such as hair fall, skin conditions of the scalp, and hair damage from over-processing with hot tools and harsh chemicals. We decided to found Remedy together as a haven for women who share our belief that health is the essence of beauty.
What are the key elements of your role?
As the owner and creator of the brand, I work tirelessly to build and protect the concept and brand as we grow. I have a passionate and committed staff, who all embrace and endorse our brand, but I still oversee delivery to ensure a consistent and customer-centric experience for our guests. We’re a new and unique concept, so of course, I also take point on guiding our social media and public image, identifying great community events where we can showcase our talents and increase our exposure while designing monthly offers that will entice our current and new customers to try new services. We’re constantly improving our service line, so I oversee all of those development projects as well. Of course, I’m the sole owner, so I also do all the mundane tasks related to owning and operating a business in the UAE: visas and payroll and supplier contracts.
Talk us through your daily routine.
Every day is different but my three primary roles are:
- Single devoted mother to my 13-year-old daughter.
- Owner and Founder of Remedy Hair & Spa.
- MENA General Manager for an American software company, Health Catalyst.
My mornings start early, and always by making a cup of tea for myself and my daughter. After that, it’s a full day of meetings and touchpoints for both Remedy and Health Catalyst, usually finishing late in the evening with conference calls including my American colleagues at Catalyst.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
The Dubai salon/beauty market is saturated. If you want to be successful, you will need a very unique selling point (USP) and blind passion for your business, as well as a healthy dose of courage!
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Crazy is a luxury you can not afford.” My dear mother delivered this gift of advice when I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with the burdens of taking care of my newborn daughter, who arrived early and didn’t nurse well and was on a heart rate and breathing monitor. Although it didn’t feel overly sympathetic at the time, it stands as the single best piece of advice I’ve ever received. We all know those points in life when the stress of your burdens makes you feel like you want to fall to pieces or just let go of everything you’re carrying, and this advice always rings in my head as a reminder that for myself, and for the people who depend on me, I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and find my way through the hard times.
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And what is the worst?
When we searched for a location to create Remedy Hair & Spa, many people advised that we should restrict our search to malls, to ensure substantial walk-in business from passers-by. Ultimately, we fell in love the moment we entered the Wasl Road villa that now houses Remedy, and are so happy that this unique location allows us to have a peaceful, organic garden where our customers can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee during their visits. A mall location would never have afforded us such a special feature as our beloved Remedy garden.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Moving to Dubai as a single mother with my four-year old daughter in 2011. When I look back at it, I really don’t know how I managed to find my way through everything you have to figure out, all on my own. But I know I did it, and that gives me the courage to face other challenges in the future. One day at a time, and breathe.
What are your goals for 2021?
We love our customers and have already helped so many women to repair and transform their hair after horrible and damaging experiences at other salons and help them find peace through our natural facials and restorative massages. But in 2021, I want to reach further into the community and work with women who have suffered health conditions that have affected their self-image or feeling of beauty and well-being. We are actively looking for partnerships that will help us to introduce our services to cancer survivors, chemotherapy patients, and women with hormonal imbalances, sensitivities, or allergies that require special care and natural approaches to beauty and healing. Seeing our customer list grow to include these women and being able to help them with our talents and passion will help us fulfil our mission and give us even more pride in the work that we are doing.
Located on Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 1, Villa G6-U3, to make a booking visit remedyhairandspa.com
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