In the UK there really is only one name synonymous with health care and pampering dedicated to the feet and that’s the beauty guru and successful entrepreneur Margaret Dabbs. Recognised amongst beauty press and industry leaders alike as a bit of a celeb in her own right, Margaret has literally put feet on the map. Since her beginnings in ’98, the business empire has been steadily building and the Margaret Dabbs brand now boasts top clinics in THE most exclusive parts of London and a phenomenal range of best-selling and award-winning products. There is no stopping Margaret and her dedicated team and more success is on the horizon. The Margaret Dabbs brand of Foot Clinic & Nail Spas can be found at Liberty, Harrods Urban Retreat and New Cavendish Street.
You’ve put foot care on the beauty map; how did you do it?
I have been credited with single handedly putting foot care onto the beauty map, and I am really proud of that. I have always provided foot care that has involved beauty as well as health. It is very important to me that feet are treated and cared for in their entirety, and that includes, for example, nourishing and treating the skin and nails as well as dealing with any areas of neglect or pain. I know how I want my feet to look and applied this to every treatment I ever performed, with amazing results and very happy clients.
When did you open your first site and what was your inspiration?
I opened my first clinic in 1998 in the Harley Street medical district. I immediately provided treatment that combined the health and beauty of the feet and always worked really hard with each patient to achieve the very best result that was achievable, and my clinic grew from strength to strength as a result of this, through word of mouth following these treatments. I pioneered some new techniques to achieve results not seen before in my industry. For example, I used a seaweed derivative for packing infected ingrown toe nails, which allowed us to treat and heal the nail without the need for surgery. I also developed products for use in our industry, which helped us achieve effective and long lasting results.
What is the brand’s trademark or most popular treatment?
We are known globally for the “original” medical pedicure. Our treatment has gradually evolved and can now also be combined with a number of holistic therapies to really provide foot therapy, which, for example, can involve foot acupuncture and Oxygen.
How did the product line come about?
I felt very early on that there were no products in the market place that really fused foot health and beauty, and was frustrated by the limitations this imposed. Nothing was available that was moisturising and smelled lovely, and nothing that was really effective without being medicinal in appearance, smell and application. I set about sourcing raw ingredients from Australia and started mixing them in my clinic, each formula aimed at producing a different result. I used these products in the clinic and my patients were so enthusiastic about the long-term results that I decided to launch a range for home use. Every time someone tells me that they love one of my products I still have the same sense of pleasure that I had the very first time I produced them. The products are used in all of our UK clinics, and are sold at Space NK throughout the UK, and at Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty, and additionally in the US, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Asia, and soon to launch in the Middle East – quite amazing really for a small brand.
What does an average day look like for Margaret Dabbs?
This is very different to how it used to be. I start the day early and either walk or run with Rafi my Yorkshire terrier – it keeps us both fit. Early morning often can be spent seeing patients; I often have staff training meetings, and retailer meetings. I may meet with my manufacturer and discuss new formulations, or my printer company for outer and label packaging of new products. I also take time out to meet with beauty journalists to talk to them about our treatments and products and any new developments. I am often on QVC showing my products and have some overseas meetings including Italy and the Middle East. I also will spend time with my office staff ensuring that as we grow as a business we have all the procedures that we need in place. Tonight I am taking part in a gastro pub quiz in Islington, which should be fun, and often evenings can be spent either running or training for one challenge or another that I have signed myself up for. Or at the gym, attending a business awards ceremony or dinner with friends and family. It does vary but it is almost always busy but full of life and fun.
What does the future hold for the Margaret Dabbs brand?
We are just about to open a new clinic and nail spa at the gorgeous and luxurious London Bvlgari Hotel, at 171 Knightsbridge, which is wonderful to be a part of. The summer sees us launching our new hygiene cream and extending our range into more of the Space NK stores within the UK. We are also launching the products into hotels and spas for treatment purposes. The autumn may see us opening our first overseas Foot Clinic – but for the moment this is top secret and I cannot reveal any more about it.