The Entrepreneur: Lesley Reynolds, Harley Street Skin Clinic

The woman behind the famous London treatment centre talks growth challenges, learning on the job and landing a TV deal…

Company name: Harley Street Skin Clinic
Co-founder: Lesley Reynolds
Description in one line: A luxurious aesthetic clinic specialising in the very best procedures and innovations in the industry.
Previous companies: Distribution of cosmeceuticals (cosmetics and pharmaceuticals) from the US, beauty clinic, restaurateur

Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:

  • The energy of a five star beauty salon
  • The aesthetic services of a high end clinic
  • The calmness of a medical spa

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Becoming one of the most talked about cosmetic/skin/aesthetic clinics in the industry and landing a 10 part documentary series on Sky Living.

To what extent does your business trade internationally and what are your plans?

We have international clients who fly in for treatments and we also supply skincare to the Middle East and Spain.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Social media. It's an important part of our advertising and PR strategy and helps to expand the customer base quickly.

In terms of treatments, Radio Frequency and Lipo Sculpting have come on in leaps and bounds so now we can achieve smoother tighter skin without a scalpel.

Where would you like your business to be in three years?

International skincare in spa/clinics – I would like to have a chain of clinics in strategic cities in the UK and around the world including New York, Nice and LA.

I'm about to launch a new skincare range with my daughter Sophie called Rosina's Lotions and Potions. It merges vintage skincare secrets with the latest technologies. The range is inspired by my mother, Rosina, a dancer at the Eve Club in London, who first started to innovate beauty products in the 1950's to help counteract the harsh effects of the make-up she wore. Over the next three years I'd love to see the range grow in prominence.

Growth challenges

What is the hardest thing you have ever done in business?

Moving from two rooms in Harley Street to a six storey building. It's vital to have courage and confidence in business, without them you'll not fare well.

What was your biggest business mistake?

Expanding too quickly.

Piece of Red Tape that hampers growth most?

Employment laws. They need to become more balanced and they should protect both the employee and the employer. Sometimes it feels like the employer is not well served.

What is the most common serious mistake you see entrepreneurs make?

Over expansion.

How will your market look in three years?

The market will grow hugely and rapidly with the growing fascination among people to want to stay looking younger for longer.

The global anti-ageing product market alone is expected to reach $30.5bn by 2015 and cosmeceuticals have now become one of the fastest growing segments. New ingredients and new technology are being developed all the time to meet the needs of consumers who want maximum results with the minimum recovery time.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?

Don’t buy expensive equipment until you need it, watch your cash flow and if finances are not your thing hire an accountant to do it for you.

Personal growth

Biggest luxury?

Taking time out. Spending time in my garden and with my family.

Executive education or learn it on the job?

On the job! There's no better way. I Iearnt as I went along – it's also important to have mentors in areas outside of your comfort zone.

I'm currently working with Sue Fabian at umbrellabrand to help launch our new line of skincare into retail. The retail market is extremely competitive and something I have little experience of. It's essential I have someone who can help me navigate it, if we are to be successful.

What would make you a better leader?

Finding the time to be visionary.

Business book:

There's no better education than regular contact with clients.


(will not be published)