DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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 now 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 oversees 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.com she has created her own brand, designing an exclusive collection of luxury, contemporary fine and fashion jewellery and artisan accessories.
Hellen has long been known as one of the industry’s foremost business gurus. In fact, trade magazine Hairdressers Journal have even dubbed her the ‘salon business powerhouse’ and leading beauty industry bible Professional Beauty named her the ‘beauty industry titan’. She regularly educates and lectures in her sector and is the go-to expert for business education for salons and manufacturers, conducting seminars and guest speaking both in the UK and internationally. Hellen also famously teaches her best-selling courses and workshops to other salon owners for a variety of companies and at L’Oréal’s Academies throughout the UK and Ireland.
Using her extensive 30 years of industry management experience at every level, and having developed her own company’s brands globally, Hellen is now renowned for conducting private consultancy in the hair and beauty industry for salon and spa owners, manufacturers and suppliers and also advises a diverse array of fledgling brands, training and tech companies and start-up’s looking to provide ancillary services to the sector as well as investors and VC’s looking to break into the market.
A board member of BAWE (British Association of Women Entrepreneurs), Hellen has also recently been elected Vice President. BAWE is an invitation only association run by women entrepreneurs for like-minded businesswomen to network and inspire each other across all commerce sectors. Hellen is also proud to be the first Ambassador of the newly launched NBF (National Beauty Federation) created by the NHF (National Hairdressers Federation) to specifically service the beauty and spa sector.
Hellen 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.
As a Past President, Hellen is a huge supporter of The Hairdresser’s Charity (previously HABB – Hair and Beauty Benevolent) 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 it’s 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.
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 Bronze, Silver and Gold packages, offering comprehensive management accounting and HR systems tailor-made for the salon, beauty and spa industry. Working in collaboration with industry software giant Shortcuts, she’s developed an integrated version of her Bronze Salon Management Systems exclusively for their users, syncing data from the Shortcuts system to fast track performance monitoring. Her advanced USM Silver and Gold packages (launched in 2018) are fast becoming the go-to management solution for any progressive salon in the sector, with Shortcuts integrated versions coming soon.
To contact her regarding consultancy, please email Hellen at [email protected]
Visit Hellen’s website www.hellenward.com