Sue Harmsworth Espa

I’ve always had a very strong affection for ESPA – it’s the first spa brand I ever tried, all the way back on my first job in publishing, working on the launch of UK Conde Nast Traveller. I only have to remove the lid from the ESPA Restorative Bath Oil and I am whisked back to a very happy time of my life.

But I don’t just love ESPA’s efficacious products, I admire the business which has seen incredible global growth over the past 23 years of its existence. That success has been spearheaded by the legendary Sue Harmsworth – and I don’t use the word legendary lightly: Everyone in the industry knows and respects her, and I am thrilled that she is the latest extraordinary woman to contribute her Day in a Life to LLG.

Over to you Sue:

Following over four decades working in health and beauty, I set up ESPA in 1993 with a small, dedicated team – turning my home into a training school and office. The last 23 years have flown and ESPA has grown a lot since then… we now have a team of 250, retail over 100 different products and are found in over 500 spas in 60 countries. Needless to say, life has got busier!

6am: I wake like clockwork, no need for an alarm. First things first, I have a quick spritz of Hydrating Floral Spafresh, which I keep by my bed, and pour myself a mug of hot water and lemon.

By 6:45am I’m in my home gym. Twice a week I have a trainer, the remaining mornings I mix interval training on my cross trainer with plenty of stretching. I’m in there for around 20 minutes each day, which makes a big difference to my energy levels as well as helping with the stiff joints I get from travelling so much. At 71, I wouldn’t be able to do all the work I do today if I didn’t keep fit.

Sue Harmsworth Espa

A quick breakfast of organic eggs follows (I follow a high protein and sugar-free diet) then I finish getting ready.

I’m fortunate to live close to our office, so the commute doesn’t take long. Usually, I use the time to have a call with Asia, but today catch up with my son Charlie who’s working on the construction of my holiday home in Spain.

8:15am: I arrive at the office and head straight into meetings. We’ve got 20 spas under construction globally at the moment, so I first meet with our design team daily to work on plans and pre-opening details, then new business to see what else is coming through. Following this, I catch up on emails and tackle my to-do list.

Sue Harmsworth Espa

12 noon: I’m on the road shortly, plus have a meeting in the diary, so take an early lunch of organic chicken, avocado, asparagus, radish and greens. Stephanie Moore – a Surrey-based nutritionist – prepared a programme for me, so lunch time involves two-thirds greens or vegetables to one-third protein.

Sue Harmsworth Espa

1pm: Our weekly NPD catch-up. I’m currently testing formulations for four different products sent up from our lab in Somerset. I won’t sign off a single formula until it’s perfect, which can mean a lengthy process (especially with naturals being so unpredictable) but we have a wonderfully talented team of Biochemists who work tirelessly to get the fragrance, texture and results just right. It always pays off… the response to our latest launch, Tri-Active™ Advanced Instant Facial has been fantastic.

2:30pm: I jump in the car and head up to London. At 3:30, I take a call from our San Francisco design team – we’re especially busy in the US at the moment with a Florida wellness destination, plus projects in New York, California and Massachusetts. It’s a really exciting time!

4:15pm: I arrive at ESPA Life at Corinthia London, where I’m co-hosting a press launch event this evening for our new Mindfulness Menu. I don’t spend a lot of time getting ready, but do believe in good grooming, so I’m booked in at the salon for a blow dry. While in there, I grab a snack – walnuts, brazils, cashews – to keep energy levels up, as I know it’s going to be late when I eat.

After this, I quickly refresh my make-up – I always prefer to do it myself. I’ve chosen a pink Amanda Wakeley jacket this evening, so opt for Lipstick Queen Saint in Hot Rose, then catch-up with ESPA Life at Corinthia Spa Director, Laura Vallati, ahead of our event.

6:30pm: It’s showtime! I discuss the reason behind our new Mindfulness Menu… the speed at which we pace our lives, plus the constant engagement with technology, is turning us into a generation who lacks concentration. We need to stop, breathe, visualise and refocus our priorities. It’s a great event and lovely to catch up with so many people.

9:30pm: I arrive home and heat up some broth for supper. I tend to prepare a batch each week – another recipe from Stephanie. After this I draw a bath, adding Epsom Salts, Bicarbonate of Soda, ESPA Restorative Bath Oil and ESPA Bergamot & Jasmine Foam Bath. The combination soothes my tired limbs and also really helps me sleep. Following this, it’s time for a little light reading on my Kindle before finally switching off the light.

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