Switch to beauty industry paying off

The Beaute  Group chief executive and Comfort Zone New Zealand managing director Sian Adamson reckons she has found her perfect career in the beauty industry. Photo by Linda Robertson.
The Beaute Group chief executive and Comfort Zone New Zealand managing director Sian Adamson reckons she has found her perfect career in the beauty industry. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Dunedin businesswoman Sian Adams believes the city could do a lot more to promote it as a place to do business. She talks to business reporter Sally Rae about her own journey in business.

When Sian Adamson broke her back in a horse-riding accident in 2006, it proved a life-changing event.

Aside from the physical effects, which included having to learn

to walk again and being in constant pain - which was ''just hideous'' for the previously sporty and fit pharmacist - it was also a wake-up call.

It made the Dunedin woman realise life was very short and also that she was no longer loving the pharmacy industry, despite maintaining a passion for helping people.

Dunedin-born and bred, Mrs Adamson (43) owned Knox Pharmacy in the city for 10 years. Pharmacy was a tough industry and she felt her success was not completely in her hands.

''I had a really successful pharmacy business. I could have had a really lovely life, but I wasn't loving it.

''It's not just about the money for me. I want to create something. I want to take as many people on that journey as I possibly can and have fun with it,'' she said.

Three years after the accident, Mrs Adamson decided to sell the pharmacy and, after an 18-month stint in Sydney with husband Jamie and baby daughter Emelia, the family returned to Dunedin. An opportunity arose to buy a business, now known as Beaute, and Mrs Adamson entered the beauty industry, taking over five days after the birth of son Maddox.

In four years, she has gone from owning one day spa to three - one in Dunedin's Dowling St and two in Wellington, key inner-city locations in Taranaki St and Lambton Quay.

Her knowledge as a pharmacist was valuable when it came to the beauty industry. And she was still in a role that involved helping people.

Clients were ''not just coming in for a wax''; they were being helped to feel positive about their self-image and she felt very lucky she had a career she loved, she said.

Last year, Beaute was a regional winner in the Deloitte Fast 50 for fastest-growing services business. Going from one spa to three in four years was ''quite significant growth'' in a hugely competitive industry, she said. Beaute pitched itself as an urban day spa and the company's goal was to be the ''best in New Zealand''.

''I want to achieve. I'm really, really driven. If I find something I'm really passionate about, I'll give it everything until I make it work,'' she said.

The plan was to open spas throughout New Zealand and the decision had been made to franchise the business, she said.

In September last year, Mrs Adamson took over New Zealand distribution rights for Italian skin care brand Comfort Zone, produced by the Davines Group which, last year posted sales of 70 million ($NZ109 million). Comfort Zone chief executive Paolo Braguzzi was in Dunedin yesterday to launch the new New Zealand head office in Cargill House, Princes St.

Beaute started using Comfort Zone products two years ago and Mrs Adamson said she ''absolutely fell in love with the brand''.

The company's founder was a qualified chemist, something that resonated with her.

Mrs Adamson, who employs about 20 staff, believes in surrounding herself with people who believe in what she does and can help support her and share her energy and passion.

She also believes in helping women create the career path they want, combining motherhood and career.

When it came to balancing family and career herself, she is grateful for all the support provided by her and her husband's families.

Mrs Adamson enjoyed being part of the Deloitte Fast 50 last year, networking with people from other successful businesses and sharing the same passion. Fast-growing companies all experienced the same ''teething issues'', she said.

While it was not always easy doing business in Dunedin, there were ''a lot of pluses'' to being based in the Southern city it and she believed Dunedin needed to be promoting its strengths, which included affordable rent, a great lifestyle and a supportive community.

''I just think we could do so much more to promote Dunedin as a place where you can do business. It's affordable to do business here in so many ways,'' she said.

She and her husband, who is chief financial officer at Silver Fern Farms, had ''tried a big city'' when they lived in Sydney and it had made them ''love Dunedin even more''.

''I needed to do that to appreciate it,'' she said.

Asked what her secret to business success was, Mrs Adamson said she wanted to get better all the time, so she was always learning.

''I never sit down and read a novel - that's not me. When I read, it's business books,'' she said.


Sian Adamson
Position:
Chief executive of The Beaute Group and managing director of Comfort Zone New Zealand
Age: 43
- Married to Jamie with two children, Emelia (6) and Maddox (4)


- sally.rae@odt.co.nz

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Eastern Hammer HardwareWaikouaitiBuilding Supplies
Dunedin Rugby Football ClubDunedinSporting Organisations
Amisfield Winery & BistroQueenstownWineries
Folding Hill LtdMosgielWineries