Haylee Benton is Founder of The Silver Fern Group, a trio of hugely successful beauty businesses and Pamper Pad, the TripAdvisor of the hair and beauty world.
Her mission is to turn failing hair and beauty salons into high-street sensations.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m originally from New Zealand. My parents divorced when I was six so money was scarce during my childhood. I quickly learnt that you need to work hard for your money so I did any job I could to raise some cash. From the age of ten, I set up lemonade stands, mowed the neighbour’s lawns and took on a paper-round – then at 14 years-old I worked in the local supermarket after school.
It was during this time, that my passion for business was ignited, so I studied economics and business in class. In fact, my first start-up was a company at school which personalised underwear for high school students and their parents! Our team won a young enterprise scheme award – so that really was the spark that started everything off.
My first job out of school was as an insurance consultant and then I came to the UK to work for a signage company which unfortunately had financial trouble. I watched the owner deal with that and then helped him transform the business into a multi-million pound company in just six years, but sadly the business continued to be financially unstable. To gain extra skills I began a degree at Warwick Business School in 2012, after completing that I decided to set up my own consultancy to coach company owners looking for advice.
The inspiration behind the creation of Pamper Pad came when I was looking on TrustATrader for a plumber. I thought why there wasn’t anything like this for beauty treatments. I couldn’t understand why my beautician friends couldn’t market themselves correctly – and the rest is history. Alongside the hugely successful PamperPad site which now has more than 8,000 members, is a service called Sell My Salon, where struggling salon owners can seek help.
My proudest achievement to date is launching a trio of bespoke beauty businesses in the hair, skin and spa sectors called The Silver Fern Group. Based in Berkhamsted, these three salons have gone from strength-to-strength and we have plans to open up more sites in 2021, here and across the globe.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Absolutely not, all I knew is I wanted to lead a team and be an entrepreneur
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Working for a company in financial trouble on the front line taught me some very hard lessons. Spending a lot of money on business ideas that were not in a position to be monetised.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Launching The Silver Fern Group, which is a trio of hair and beauty businesses based in Berkhamsted.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I love mentoring start-up businesses
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
Men taking woman more seriously in business
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Be careful what you spend your money on with business- costs add up
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Global domination with my beauty empire 😉
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