TOP 10: Day in the Life | Kathryn Cousins, ESPA Spa Operations Executive
1. How long have you been at ESPA?
I've been in my current role for 3 years, though have worked with ESPA since 2002 as a therapist and manager in various properties around the world.
2. What did you do before you joined ESPA?
I was the Treatment Manager at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong...quite different from living and working in Surrey!
3. What is a typical day's work like for Kathryn?
The joy of this role is that there's no such thing as a typical day. I cover a whole variety of things - budgeting, financial analysis, marketing strategies, quality control to name a few. Because the spa partners that I look after are based worldwide, I'm very often on calls and webinars throughout the day...if not indeed visiting them in person. The role involves extensive travel, which I love - Cape Town one week, Dubai the next, then back to ESPA Head Office to catch-up.
4. What do you enjoy most about your role?
The variety in this role is so unique... and i enjoy it all. The most rewarding aspect is seeing a spa partner grow and realise their potential with our support, though I also love connecting with therapists, receptionists, and managers across the world. As well as building relationships and helping them feel part of the ESPA family, I also assist with their personal growth and development...to hopefully create great spa leaders of the future!
5. What is your favourite country or spa to travel to on business?
It may be a little obvious, but the Maldives has been a life-changing experience. I visit twice a year and every time i'm taken aback by the tranquility and peace there. The spa totally transports you away from the stresses and strains of modern life, the team are dedicated to wellbeing and offer hospitality like no other and, even though it is an intense working week, everything seems so much easier in such a paradise.
6. What is your jet lag skincare tip when you have to walk straight off a plane and feel on top form for a client meeting?
Long-haul really depletes my energy levels, so I definitely learnt the hard way. However I now have a routine which really does make me feel and look better. Five days before a long-haul trip, I supercharge my daily routine by increasing my use of Face Treatment Oil and a facial mask. On the day, I always take as much water as I can fit in my bag on the flight and apply Overnight Hydration Therapy when we take off (removing it 45 minutes before we land at my final destination… even going through transit with it on!). I may not be the most popular person to sit next to on the plane, but I avoid the crumpled lacklustre look of long-haul so I don’t really care!
7. How do you find working with international/non-English speaking accounts, particularly if liaising with therapists?
Face to face, it’s very rare that there are any issues – it’s actually fantastic to be able to work with so many diverse cultures. Occasionally calls and emails can be challenging, if there is a language barrier, which is why we always make the most of our visits but, in general, I’ve learnt so much from differing cultures that the benefits always outweigh any challenges.
8. What do you tend to find are the most popular requests for treatments or products abroad?
It differs geographically. Product-wise, in the Middle East, our top-sellers are the Balancing Range and Soothing Bath & Body Oils, whereas the Maldives, Mauritius and Cape Town love the Smooth & Firm Body Butter, Salt Scrubs and Optimal Skin Collection. Treatments are always reflected by people’s lifestyles in these regions and we adapt our menus accordingly. Undoubtedly massage is the most popular treatment across the board, though those treatments incorporating indigenous techniques or actives from the local culture are also very well-liked.
9. What do you tend to find are the big skincare concerns abroad?
In the Middle East, Indian Ocean and Africa, skin purifying and radiance are the big concerns… as a result, the recent launch of our Advanced Skin Radiance Facial in these regions has been hugely popular.
10. What is your desert island essential?
I have to go for the classic Pink Hair and Scalp Mud. It helps to counteract the humidity, sea water and barefoot lifestyle of a desert island beautifully.