Indie Oxford Interview: Cannelle Medispa
Today on the blog, we catch up with Emily from Cannelle Medispa to delve behind the scenes of this great Oxfordshire independent business. A business that has stood the test of time by investing in their employees and building a great community of loyal customers. How did it all start? Let’s find out! >>
Tell me about why Cannelle was set up.
France Baudet, an entrepreneur with no beauty background, started Cannelle Medispa in Summertown Oxford in 1997 with one beauty therapist and a short treatment menu. She recognised that whilst in France, beauty salons were abundant and treatments and wellbeing were seen as well deserved self-care, which should be taken regularly, in England beauty salons were few and far between and treatments like manicures, pedicures, facials and massage were seen as a ‘treat’. Over the years the client-base and team grew and France added new treatments based on advice from her therapists who had the beauty background she did not. It is this basis of sharing expertise, listening to staff and clients, trusting their knowledge and industry research which has built and continues to build such a successful solid business 20 years on.
Tell me about France’s background.
France was born and raised in the north of France and studied accountancy initially getting a job as book keeper / accountant in a small business. She went on to study business in Paris while working as a sales manager within the same small business after getting a promotion.
France left France to go to the USA in 1995. She then returned to Paris and moved to the UK in June 1996. As her English was not very good she volunteered at the Red Cross for almost a year. With improved English skills and an entrepreneurial passion France decided to create Cannelle Beauté (now Cannelle Medispa) in February 1997, opening the salon in December.
Who are your customers?
Our clients range from 16 years old to 90 years old. Around 10-15% of our clients are male and this is growing year on year. Most clients live locally to our Summertown salon but we also have clients who travel over 30 miles to come for some of the more advanced treatments like Laser Tattoo Removal and Laser Hair Removal.
What treatments do you offer?
We now offer a wide range of treatments from the more traditional core beauty treatments such as waxing, facials, manicures & pedicures, to the more intensive, long lasting Advanced Treatments such as Permanent Laser Hair Removal, Microneedling, Chemical Peels, Laser Resurfacing, Laser Tattoo Removal and Microblading. It is the combination of continuing to offer the traditional beauty treatments alongside meeting client demand for longer lasting more advanced anti-ageing and permanent solutions that makes Cannelle Medispa unique in the Oxford area.
Tell me about Cannelle’s salons.
In our Oxford based beauty salon we are a team of 11 employees with 11 treatment rooms and welcome over 1000 clients a month. Between our therapists we often complete over 1500 treatments a month. Our Henley salon is smaller but with equally strong, skilled and energetic therapists.Our team ensures that Cannelle Medispa provides a pristine, professional and restful environment for all clients. Our therapists train very hard not only in treatment and retail knowledge but also in client care and communications. Clients know when they visit our team they will be met with kindness and competence and feel very safe with all members of our team.
We are and always have been a diverse team each bringing our own cultural experiences and strengths. With 15 staff members from 10 different countries our salons are often buzzing with different languages from Italian & French to Polish & Turkish. Clients tell us they enjoy the diversity and positivity within our team which reflects Oxford and Henley’s international population.
In the beauty industry there is frequently a high turnover of staff but at Cannelle Medispa we have staff members who have been employed with us for 7-15 years. This creates a strong bond within our team and helps new employees who are often far from home. We support all staff in and out of work, from finding accommodation to encouraging confidence in their English language skills.
How has your business evolved?
Cannelle Medispa has grown over the last 20 years from a small salon in Summertown with a single beauty therapist offering a limited range of beauty treatments to a large Medispa comprising 11 treatment rooms, employing 11 staff and a client base of over 7000. A second salon in Henley-on-Thames has thrived for over 15 years with three treatment rooms and 5 members of staff. With clients wanting ever more permanent results the decision to branch into offering laser and medical grade treatments was a successful one.
How do you keep up to date with industry changes?
France has always added new treatments based on advice from her therapists who had the beauty background she did not. Industry Research is of course key to the development of any business but it is this basis of sharing expertise, listening to staff and clients, trusting their knowledge and industry research which has built and continues to build such a successful solid business 20 years on.
How do your treatments help with wellbeing?
Our treatments help on all levels of wellbeing. Beauty therapy isn’t only about improving skin or the body from the outside. From teenagers who have lost their self confidence due to acne or acne scarring, to 40 year old men who are miserable about a tattoo mistake they made, or over worked, high functioning, multi tasking individuals who just need some relaxation and head space our spectrum of treatments helps everyone’s wellbeing.
Tell me about your plans for 2020.
2020 will see Cannelle Medispa develop further into the advanced treatments market offering more long lasting treatments for clients who want results quickly and more permanently. Last year we were crowned a Small Biz 100 winner which is a nationwide competition to find the best 100 local businesses across all industries. This year we hope to continue to do well in competitions that celebrate the huge contribution that independent businesses make not only to the country’s economy but to ensuring diversity on the high street.
Lastly, what is your favourite independent business in Oxfordshire?
France’s favourite independent business is definitely the patisserie Gatineau in Summertown, just around the corner from Cannelle Medispa.
Mmmm, a Cannelle massage and Gatineau cake sounds like a great afternoon of self care to me! If you need some more wellbeing inspiration in Oxfordshire, head over to our directory and select Health & Wellbeing.