DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
As co-founder of the largest and highest grossing independent salon in the UK, Hellen is widely acknowledged as one of the industry’s foremost and formidable business gurus, with trade magazine Hairdressers Journal dubbing her the ‘salon business powerhouse’ and leading beauty industry bible Professional Beauty naming her ‘the beauty industry titan’.
Hellen completed her hairdressing training with a chain of concession salons within department stores upon leaving school in 1983. At the tender age of 19 she realised her future lay in salon management and she started running the salon where she trained and ran a column. The impressive results she produced ensured she quickly progressed through the company and Hellen was promoted to Assistant Regional Manager then Regional Manager, managing in-store salons up and down the country from Kendals in Manchester to Rackhams in Birmingham, and gleaning a wealth of knowledge that led her to experience salon management at every level. She returned to the South East region in 1990 and was then promoted to General Manager of Harrods Hair and Beauty Salon, Children’s Salon and Barber Shop, the youngest person before or since to hold that position, transferring in 1992 to grow and develop the bankrupt Neville Daniel business that her bosses had purchased.
After meeting Richard, the couple bought the business from the receivers in a management buy-out and set about the task of turning it around by combining Richard’s creative abilities with Hellen’s business acumen. Married in 1994, Hellen and Richard are parents to Elysia and Oliver. Whilst juggling her motherhood role with her career, Hellen continues to be responsible for the marketing, human resources, branding and development of the company — a role which she relishes for its challenges and diversity. In expanding the Richard Ward brand, Hellen now also helps oversee the company’s manufacturing and product division at a global level – Richard Ward Chelsea London and Tangle Angel (now in over 40 countries) – dealing with UK and overseas distributors and stockists such as Waitrose, as well as supplying the professional sector. Hellen’s other passion has seen her successfully retailing to a cult following of clients in-salon for many years, but in Azulara she has created her own brand, designing an exclusive collection of luxury, contemporary fine and fashion jewellery and artisan accessories.
With her extensive 30 years of industry management experience at every level and having developed her own company’s brands globally, Hellen is the leading business trend commentator, educator and lecturer in her sector. The go-to business expert in the industry, Hellen works with exclusive salon brands and manufacturers; conducting seminars, hosting workshops and events and chairing forums and panels as well as guest speaking both in the UK and internationally. Hellen is renowned for conducting private consultancy for prominent salon and spa owners, manufacturers and suppliers; she also advises a diverse array of fledgling brands, training, tech companies and start-ups looking to provide ancillary services to the sector as well as investors and VCs looking to break into the market. She famously teaches her best-selling, best-practice courses to other salon and spa owners in her award-winning salon under the Richard Ward Academy as well as at L’Oréal’s Academies throughout the UK and Ireland.
Hellen’s media profile is a testament to her success. She has written 3 books for the City & Guilds Diploma in Salon management (equivalent to a foundation degree) which have become the bible for ultimate salon management: Getting Established, Managing Finances and Team Performance – available in print and e-book. Hellen has been writing her long-standing must-read column for trade publication Professional Beauty magazine for over 100 editions and is also a regular contributor and columnist for many leading industry magazines, as well as a sought-after panellist and guest speaker at business focused industry events.
A board member of BAWE (British Association of Women Entrepreneurs), Hellen is also Vice President. BAWE is an invitation-only association and the UK division of FCEM, a worldwide network with a unique provenance. Started after WW2 for the war widows left to run family businesses, its modern-day incarnation BAWE is a unique platform run by women entrepreneurs for like-minded businesswomen to connect, mentor and inspire each other across all commerce sectors. Hellen is also proud to be the first Beauty Ambassador of the newly launched NHBF (National Hair and Beauty Federation), created to specifically service the beauty and spa sector.
As a Past President, Hellen is a huge supporter of The Hair & Beauty Charity (formerly The Hairdressers Charity) of which she is a Director, Trustee and board member, creating the Jayne Henderson Award in honour of one of her late team members.
Hellen’s involvement in the future of her sector’s training and education led her to Chair the hairdressing arm of Trailblazers from its inception in 2014 until 2018, leading a group of industry specialists working with HM Government Department for Business Innovation & Skills and the IFA (Institute for Apprenticeships) in recommending on the framework of Apprenticeship education in the hair and beauty industry to ensure trainees are job ready from the employer’s perspective. Hellen was also the first fully-serving female Chairman of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing chairing the Finance, Council and Events committees from 2014-2016.
Through her Ultimate Salon Management System, Hellen has shared her best practice systems and strategies that she has developed to run her own businesses into a downloadable format for salon owners to track and monitor their businesses effectively. At the helm of the largest and highest grossing independent salon in the UK, she has replicated her own internal long-standing, tried and tested systems for other salon owners and chains with her USM software packages, offering comprehensive management accounting and HR systems tailor-made for the salon, beauty and spa industry. Her USM Bronze, Silver and Gold packages have fast become the go-to management solution for any progressive salon in the sector. Working in collaboration with industry software giant Shortcuts, she’s also developed integrated USM versions exclusively for their users, syncing data from the Shortcuts system to fast track performance monitoring. She is shortly launching her USM programme as a 3-tiered on-line education platform, with each level containing 6 modules of downloadable tutorials that accompany her tried and tested systems.
To contact her regarding consultancy, please email Hellen at [email protected].
Visit Hellen’s website www.hellenward.com