Shaper: Liz Warom

Show aired on 6th January 2018

Transcript

Elliot Moss
That was Dave Brubeck, the one and only with Unsquare Dance. Good morning, Jazz Shapers here with me, Elliot Moss on Jazz FM. Thank you very much for joining. Jazz Shapers is the place where you can hear the very best of the people shaping the world of jazz, blues and soul but luckily for you and me, we also get to hear from someone who is shaping the world of business and we call them Business Shapers. I am really pleased to say that my Business Shaper today is Liz Warom. She is the co-founder and managing director of Temple Spa; they are a skin care business some of you may know them, they are in the world of luxury, you can find them in Harrods and other fantastic spas around the country. You are going to be hearing lots from Liz very shortly. In addition to hearing from her you will also be hearing from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya some words of advice for your business and then we’ve got the music as I promised from the shapers of jazz, blues and soul; Avishai Cohen is in there, Ray Charles is and so is this one from Sarah Vaughan.

Sarah Vaughan’s great take on the classic, Fever. This is Jazz Shapers and Liz Warom is my Business Shaper today; Liz is the co-founder and managing director, the right title and the right person sitting here right next to me, and she is as I said, co-founder and managing director of Temple Spa and Temple Spa or those of you who know will know them because you have probably applied them to your face and body regularly and for those of you that don’t, it’s a luxury brand in the world of skincare and it is doing rather well and has been for almost twenty years. Hello.

Liz Warom
Hello.

Elliot Moss
Thank you very much for joining.

Liz Warom
Thank you for having me.

Elliot Moss
You have done many, many things over many, many years. You are in business with your husband who you married at a very young, tender age.

Liz Warom
Seventeen.

Elliot Moss
Seventeen. And you are still married?

Liz Warom
Yes.

Elliot Moss
This is fabulous, we are going to come on to couples and working together. Tell me a little bit about Temple Spa and then we will work backwards. What is it and why did you create it?

Liz Warom
Well we just felt that having created and run businesses and brands for other people that why not do it for ourselves so very bravely eighteen years ago, we just came up with a fabulous concept called Temple Spa and decided that we would try to do things differently with some edge and put our passion and our love and our expertise and give it a go so that was it.

Elliot Moss
And just tell me a little bit about the different things one can experience with the Temple Spa brand? What have you got?

Liz Warom
Well essentially it is a skin care brand and so it centres around products for the face but we have a whole top to toe experience. They are products and treatments that all come together for men and women and it’s a lifestyle brand.

Elliot Moss
Now way, way, way back I’ve read that you said you always knew that you wanted to do your own thing. Tell me about that because many people I meet say that to me and it, I think the world does split into at least two categories; those people who are happy working for someone else and those people that just won’t. How did you know that you were going to do your own thing?

Liz Warom
Well I have always been very good at fulfilling other people’s dreams. I’ve always been, you know, a very good person to throw a ball to and I’d jump in the air and run with their vision but in the back of my mind I always felt that if I could put together my skill which I think essentially is people and product, that I would just love to have the opportunity to do something myself. My husband happens to have really complimentary skills so as a team I just think having been married this long we always felt that there was a dream that one day we would be able to just work together and be one unit and heartbeat and create something fabulous so the dream was always there, whilst I served other people’s dreams when I worked for them.

Elliot Moss
And even just very briefly, even before you started working, it feels like to me there was something, there was a bit of a hungry spirit?

Liz Warom
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
Where would that have come from do you reckon?

Liz Warom
I am one of four children, I had three older brothers and I think getting married at seventeen was very different, it’s not always what your parents have planned for you, they happened to be very happy about it but because I didn’t chose an academic career I realised that if I wanted to succeed in life I was going to have to make it happen and soon after we got married I had three jobs because I was very determined that we were going to live in a nice village and enjoy travel and so I just worked hard.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for my hard working co-founder and managing director of Temple Spa, that’s Liz Warom. We are going to find out all about how she moved from dentistry into the beautiful world of cosmetics. Time for some more music right now, this is Avishai Cohen with Motherless Child.

Avishai Cohen with Motherless Child. I am here with Liz Warom and Liz Warom as I said earlier is the managing director and she is also the co-founder of the Temple Spa brand. Millions of pounds of business, lots of them running around making sure that people are enjoying themselves when it comes to the management of their skin and their regimes and all the rest of it. Behind this brand is a lot of passion it strikes me and if I am right, your love of the Mediterranean; there was a little break that happened and we will jump around a little bit here. When you spent time, I believe you spent about six months in the Mediterranean between I think it was the Virgin business?

Liz Warom
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Which we will come to as well and then this one. What happens when you are actually taking a break because you are, you know, you are obviously a hard working person, it must have been quite hard to relax but it seems like something popped in your head?

Liz Warom
Well I had worked since I was sixteen and around the time I turned forty we took a sabbatical for a year and we had just worked continuously all of those years as one does but it was a little bit of a forced period of time, we were on a non-compete clause so we couldn’t stay within the industry so we decided to turn that into something really positive and we travelled and we were literally, took a one way ticket to Calais, and we were driving in our car and I remember looking at the map and seeing the blue see at the bottom of France and saying to Mark, ‘just get me down there as soon as you possibly can’ and so we drove and we got down there and we connected with different friends and family, sometimes stayed in hotels and literally unpacked ourselves; emotionally, spiritually, physically in every possible way. We had no clue really what we were going to do and obviously we would talk about it quite a lot and we ended that time of being in every country in the Mediterranean realising that visually it is the most incredible region, you’ve got the beautiful architecture and landscapes and our Mediterranean diet made us both feel an awful lot better and I guess it was an epiphany moment. We were there, we were renewing our vows in Cyprus and literally the day that we were going to do that at 6.00 o’clock in the evening, Mark had had an early morning swim and took this amazing photograph. He was swimming in a pool and he took a photograph and you could see the sky and the sea and the pool water and he came back to the room and said ‘what do you think of that?’ and I literally just said ‘well what do you think of the name Temple Spa?’ and he being him just straight away phoned trademark lawyers and registered the name and I was just like ‘oh my gosh, it was only an idea’ and that was the birth of it and then we had to run with it. It felt very real.

Elliot Moss
Do you think you would have been able to come up with that without the space? Because I think that obviously there’s a moment where all the years of work that you have been doing, the world that you have been in and we are going to come to the Body Shop and working with Anita Roddick a bit later and the Richard Branson experience with setting up the Virgin Vie business. If you hadn’t had that break and that space to just see what was around you, would we be having this conversation now? And if the answer is no, how do people inject a bit of space when they are super busy, they are running a business or thinking about moving from their job to a business?

Liz Warom
Well it is a good question. I think that we wouldn’t have been able to think of Temple Spa because we were so immersed in other businesses and you give yourself entirely, well I certainly have always given myself entirely to the company or the business that I am with but within the context of that, I am an idea’s person and I have got a lot of mental chatter so actually it is quietening down that mental chatter and sorting through the dross and pulling out the nugget of an idea and seeing one that has got legs that you can run with and I’ve always enjoyed, I actually love taking baths and now have the products to really enjoy those baths but you know, I have always felt that to take ten, fifteen minutes just to shut out the world and just take some time out – it could be a walk, it could be anything – I just think all of us are just running a million miles an hour and if you want to be an idea’s person and sort out your vision and where you are going, you absolutely need space to do that. It might not be six months but it might be six minutes or six hours.

Elliot Moss
Take some space today, that’s the advice. Take a few minutes and then the ideas will emerge we hope. Stay with me for much more from my Business Shaper today, that’s Liz Warom, managing director and co-founder of Temple Spa. Before that some words of wisdom I hope beyond taking space which is a very good bit of advice, that’s from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya for your business.

You are listening to Jazz Shapers here on Saturday morning with me, Elliott Moss. I am very privileged because I get to meet people who are doing really interesting things in the world of. If you have missed any of the previous programmes go in to iTunes, put in the words ‘jazz’ and ‘shapers’ you can find some there. British Airways Highlife another destination and one more just for the road, CityAM.com. Right now, right here Liz Warom is my Business Shaper; she is the co-founder and managing director of Temple Spa, the skin care business. Liz, we have been talking about space and all that and it obviously in your life up until the point where you created this business, there was not much space, you were running at things. You’ve done various numbers, you realised that being a dental nurse wasn’t going to put you in the manner that you wanted to be accustomed to, it wasn’t financially going to be for you. I know that you then built another sort of business up with thousands of people in the world of… you were a top consultant I believe and you were based in recruitment and all those things. The thing that then hits me is obviously you moved into the world of cosmetics and that’s where your heart is I imagine. Tell me a bit about the Body Shop because of course Anita Roddick one of our famous and sadly now passed away, heroines of the world of business and heroine campaigners and the Body Shop is still going strong. What’s it like working for a person like that?

Liz Warom
Well Anita was an amazing person and she, if you were in a good place together and she and I were in an incredibly good place together, she gave you massive opportunities to grow and to express yourself and I was in charge of the make-up brand in the Body Shop and she trusted me and so she let me fly and that worked very well. Again my husband and I were working together running that business and she took her hands off it so in that sense she gave me lots of opportunity to flourish but I travelled with her quite a lot and she was a very demanding person, she was very emotional and I found that those traits, they help you. If you channel them and you use them wisely you can really motivate people and you can really give them direction and vision and have them then carry your vision. So I really enjoyed working with Anita.

Elliot Moss
So demanding and emotional?

Liz Warom
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
Are you both of those things?

Liz Warom
Oh yeah, for myself personally? Yes. Yeah definitely.

Elliot Moss
Is that what your team would say… that Liz whoomph?

Liz Warom
I think that they wouldn’t say I am emotional in a negative way, I think they probably would say hopefully that I am quite inspiring and that I keep the vision alive and I keep the drive alive and I remind people of that because when you get the disappointments and you get the down days and you get the no’s and you get all of those things that happen in business then I think to work for someone who is quite light hearted and I thank people a lot, I am very grateful to people, I am quite a generous person so I hope that the emotion, it comes out in a very positive way.

Elliot Moss
What was it like setting up a business with Richard Branson which is the next thing you did which is you know, it must have been an experience…

Liz Warom
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
…and he is again another incredibly inspiring person, big name in the world of business.

Liz Warom
Yes well we didn’t set out to do business with Richard, what actually happened was that as we were coming towards our time in Body Shop I think we had a vision for creating our own business then so we came up with a brand called Vie which is French for life and it was the mid-90s and I think our idea was probably a bit too niche and we realised that we needed to perhaps give our idea to a power brand which was very much the theme of the 90s and we were out to supper with some friends and they literally said ‘well come on you two, when are you going to launch this brand of yours?’ and I said ‘well I think that possibly we need to talk to a power brand’ and they said ‘like who?’ and we kind of said Nike and things like that and then I said ‘Virgin’ and the whole table laughed and said ‘oh so you are going to get hold of Richard Branson’ and again being that daughter of you know, three older brothers it was like don’t tell me I can’t do something, I’ll show you and literally within two weeks we were sitting in his house in Holland Park given our twenty minute slot to sell the idea in and he probably spent the first ten minutes asking us about how an earth did we manage to work with each other as a married couple, 24/7 and then he said to me ‘you remind me of someone’ and that apparently was Lulu and we hadn’t even got our business idea out at this point. So two hours later he just kind of put the name together and said Vie, Virgin Vie that sounds great, why don’t we do this and that’s how it happened.

Elliot Moss
And you did and there you go, you’ve got to go for it and make sure, be careful not to push Liz Warom and say she can’t do something because you know what’s going to happen.

Liz Warom
Yep.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for much more from her, she is my Business Shaper today talking all about her journey and what she’s been up to. Time for some more music right now, Ray Charles and Georgia On My Mind.

That was Ray Charles with the lovely thoughtful Georgia On My Mind. Liz Warom is my Business Shaper today and if you haven’t heard I am going to tell you again, managing director, co-founder of Temple Spa. The business that you set up with Richard Branson, it went well, you got backing, you personally had to go out and raise the money to actually launch this brand?

Liz Warom
Yes that was a little surprise.

Elliot Moss
He was saying ‘yeah you can have my brand but I am not going to give you any money’.

Liz Warom
Well kind of. I think the plan was that he was going to use his money and then I think what was happening economically it seemed to make better sense for him for us to set up a shell company and to actually go on AIM so Mark and I suddenly found ourselves being you know, really passionate product people and being able to pull a great team around us and all of a sudden we had to sort of get on helicopters and go around the country literally raising twenty million, which we did.

Elliot Moss
Had you done that before?

Liz Warom
Absolutely not no.

Elliot Moss
And just briefly, how did you get your head round it? Is it relatively straight forward once you get going?

Liz Warom
Well to be fair we obviously worked with some executives within Virgin and also KPMG to sort of pull together the business plan so you are guided through the process and you accentuate what you are good at which was selling in the concept and the products and the vision for the stores and all that that was going to be and then you just hope they say yes I’ll put my money down so.

Elliot Moss
At that time was it again about, was the ambition because I want to do my own thing and I need some backing or was it about, you know what we can make a chunk of change here?

Liz Warom
Well of course one hopes that…

Elliot Moss
Truthfully.

Liz Warom
…yeah, when you approach a business like that you hope that you will get a good shareholding but that isn’t really what… we have never chased money. That is, that is not what drives us. I think at the time we probably started out thinking it was for us and then soon you discover that you are part of a machine and you flow with it until such time as you’ve gained your training, you’ve gained some success and it was a huge success and then one day you just think well actually now maybe we have done this for other people for three or four times now, it’s time for us to do this for us which is you know, how we came up with Temple Spa.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for more and my final chat with Liz Warom plus we will be playing some music from The Blackbirds, that’s after the latest traffic and travel here on Jazz FM.

That was The Blackbirds with Walking In Rhythm and if you could see us here, it was Liz Warom and Elliot Moss dancing in their seats and singing as well. Liz knows all the words because she is a Jazz FM fan. It is always nice to have one of those on the programme. Liz, if you didn’t know is the managing director and co-founder of Temple Spa. We have been talking about all sorts of things from Mr Richard Branson to Mrs Anita Roddick and now we are going to talk a little bit more about that moment you had the epiphany – I am going to go back then – you also had to put some money in when you set this business up, a quarter of a million quid.

Liz Warom
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
You really did back yourself. Was it just because it was time Liz? Was it just like, do you know what we are going to be good or was there still nervousness?

Liz Warom
Well I think there’s… I live with nervousness. It actually drives me. You know that sense of dissatisfaction is I think a very positive thing and nervousness goes with the territory but I think if we had known how big it was going to be we probably would have walked to the mountain and thought oh maybe not but I don’t think… we knew that there would be a price, we knew that the price would be sacrifice and that we would have to get our heads down. I had managed a very large team in Virgin, we had lots of people doing lots of things and then all of a sudden you wake up and it’s the two of you and that’s a bit sobering. But you make it happen and I think because there was just two of us frankly there is no politics and so you just get on with it. You want to make each other successful, you want the business to be successful so we took our seed fund which was pretty small in comparison to most businesses, it was about a quarter of a million and we knew we wouldn’t earn any money for three years and so it just forces you, you just work seven days a week tirelessly and focussed and then suddenly there is daylight, it is like someone actually says ‘yeah we’ll go with you’ and you get your breakthrough.

Elliot Moss
In that relationship that you have with Mark, your husband, obviously its super successful and productive. Do you make time just for the two of you not to talk about business and did you in the early days or was it just impossible?

Liz Warom
I think in the early days it was more difficult just simply because we were getting in the office at 7.00 and we never left until 7.00 and so we might have had dinner together but usually one of us would be working on a report or doing something so frankly no I think in the early days but we are good mates and so actually it didn’t matter and I think now we definitely have boundaries and you find yourself sort of drifting in to talk about it but it’s a pleasure, it’s not a stress you know, it’s a fabulous thing, we love it.

Elliot Moss
Just thinking about looking forward just before we go to your song choice. In terms of the thing that really matters to you most as a person – what is that right now as you look forward to the next few years?

Liz Warom
You know I am just very centred on people. I have a passion for people. I work in a predominantly female organisation, we have about two thousand franchisees that are private consultants and take our products into private homes and I love them and I know that I am a mentor and I know that I am a figurehead for them and I take that very seriously. We have a credo on our brand and it’s basically ‘Love Who You Are’ and I think we want our products to be a tool in the hand to make people feel good about themselves, life is very stressful, it’s very full on and I think if ours can be a bit of a mantra to say ‘you matter’ you know ‘take some time’ and use Temple Spa!

Elliot Moss
I thought you were not going to do it but she did it. She is shameless. It’s absolutely brilliant, I would expect nothing less. It’s been a real pleasure to talk to you and hear all about…

Liz Warom
Thank you.

Elliot Moss
…how you’ve arrived at this very, very good point. Please carry on doing what you are doing, good luck.

Liz Warom
Thank you.

Elliot Moss
Just before I let you go, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Liz Warom
My song choice is So What by Miles Davis. My husband introduced me to jazz when we literally started going out together and I have a love of it but this particular track to me epitomises real jazz and it’s… the minute I listen to it, it’s instant relaxation.

Elliot Moss
Here it is just for you.

That was Miles Davis with So What, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Liz Warom. She is a challenger, someone who if she is given a challenge will absolutely rise to it and make the very best of it. Someone who talked about having the space to have that idea, to have that epiphany and finding that space on a daily basis is critical and someone who also backed herself, her and her husband, partners in crime backing themselves at the critical moment with their own money. A real lesson in belief. Really good stuff.

Liz Warom

Managing Director Liz Warom is co-owner & co-founder of Temple Spa alongside her husband and business partner Mark.

Liz launched her career whilst working for American brand Jafra Cosmetics. She became the company’s top consultant and manager, breaking international sales and recruitment records. After eight years, Liz left to try her hand at a very different type of cosmetic discipline. Working for Europe’s largest cosmetic manufacturer, she was appointed Senior Account Manager, in charge of a portfolio of prestigious clients. Her creation and management of The Body Shop Colourings account lead to her ultimately being head-hunted by founder Anita Roddick, when she became Global Brand Manager for the make-up division. Mark later joined the company. During their time, they re-launched the Colourings brand taking sales from £10m to £124m in just four years managing the trade in over 50 countries.

Liz and Mark created a concept for a top to toe cosmetic brand and decided to approach Sir Richard Branson with the idea and a ready-to-go business plan. Virgin Vie achieved £10m sales during the first year.

After running the company for three years, Liz and Mark decided to launch their very own brand: Temple Spa. After fifteen years in the market place, Temple Spa is established as a luxury lifestyle brand with exceptional products and experiences that restore skin, body and soul.

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“Having been married this long we always felt that there was a dream that one day we would be able to just work together and be one unit and heartbeat and create something fabulous.”

“The dream was always there, whilst I served other people’s dreams when I worked for them…”

“Because I didn’t choose an academic career, I realised that if I wanted to succeed in life I was going to have to make it happen.”

“… our Mediterranean diet made us both feel an awful lot better and I guess it was an epiphany moment.”

“I literally just said ‘well what do you think of the name Temple Spa?’ and, he being him, he immediately phoned trademark lawyers and registered the name. I was just like ‘oh my God, it was only an idea!’”

“I think all of us are just running a million miles an hour and if you want to be an ideas person and sort out your vision and where you are going, you absolutely need space to do that.”

“I am very grateful to people, I am quite a generous person so I hope that the emotion comes out in a very positive way.”

“I live with nervousness. It actually drives me. You know, that sense of dissatisfaction is I think a very positive thing and nervousness goes with the territory.”

“I had managed a very large team in Virgin, we had lots of people doing lots of things, and then all of a sudden you wake up and it’s the two of you and that’s a bit sobering.”