At the recent New Zealand Beauty Industry Awards, Donna Smith received the award for contribution to the industry.
Says Donna, “I was humbled to receive this award, as I feel passionate about helping to create a very professional beauty and skin care industry in New Zealand. I strive constantly to ensure that our industry gets the recognition and respect that it deserves, especially as advances in products and treatments increase the liability and responsibility of the industry. I know that I am not alone in that objective and there are so many wonderful people who have come before me and who have worked or are working to achieve this. I would like to dedicate this award to all of these people, as none of us ever work alone; we are always surrounded by great people who help us achieve our goals.”
In 1994, Donna Smith, Director of Professional Skin & Beauty decided to make a significant career change from the dental industry. She trained first as a nail technician and purchased the nail salon at which she was a client and secondly she trained as a beauty therapist. Says Donna, “When my career path led me into the beauty therapy industry, I knew in my heart I had found my true passion, becoming a part of an uplifting and caring industry that makes a difference to people’s self esteem and confidence with effective products and treatments.” Eventually wanting to expand the nail business Donna employed a trained beauty therapist Sally Topper who introduced her to the Environ range which at the time was being sold by a Christchurch doctor. Donna and Sally decided to go into business partnership and became the Environ distributors for New Zealand. In 1998 Donna purchased Sally’s half of the business and began to run the Environ business out of her spare bedroom at home. Says Donna, “Things took off very quickly and all of a sudden I found myself working all hours trying to take orders, pack and despatch product and travel the country training stockists. Help was required! My builder husband stepped in by building an office, warehouse and training room at our house and for a while we ran along quite smoothly.”
The custom-built premises were designed to last at least five years but after two years Environ had already outgrown its home offices and Donna purchased the Onehunga premises where Professional Skin & Beauty is currently located. The fit-out included the addition of offices, a warehouse and a state of the art training room. The Jane Iredale brand was quickly added to the stable of products under the company name Professional Skin & Beauty, with NZ Spa added as a proudly New Zealand made and inspired body brand, and the business has never looked back since. All this growth required a significant increase in staff and Donna has built a loyal and committed team around her.
Says Donna, “It’s true that a business is only as good as its people and I am fortunate to have the most amazing team who give their all for the company and for our stockists. It has always been my goal to make sure that our staff gain personal growth and confidence – I don’t want them to just have a job but to have a career in the industry that I am so passionate about. And of course our mission is always to look after our stockists, who are the most incredible people. I have been very fortunate in my career to be surrounded by great friends, family and colleagues who have supported me in my goals and this is the same ethos we apply with our stockists. We aim to provide first class professional products and treatments along with post graduate education and training to ensure that New Zealand beauty therapists remain at the highest professional standard possible.”
Professional Beauty is the sole distributor for two well known brands, Environ skin care and Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup and in 2010 Donna formed NZ Spa Ltd, launching her own professional bodycare spa range. “As a proud New Zealander I saw a need for a professional quality spa brand that captured the essence of this beautiful country. With the help of my General Manager Michelle Woodyard we created a simple, yet affordable range that still had a luxurious feel. I wanted it to be New Zealand made in order to help support other New Zealand businesses and also linked to a deserving charity so that something could be given back to our community (NZ Spa donates to New Zealand Surf Lifesaving).
Over the years Donna has been at the forefront of a number of professional beauty industry initiatives along with being one of the founding members of the BISA Group (Beauty Industry Suppliers’ Association) which was established to help market the industry as a whole to the public. Donna was also instrumental in helping create the vision for the very first New Zealand Beauty Expo and Awards Dinner, along with setting up the “Give a Facial” initiative which supported Christchurch beauty therapists after the devastating earthquake.
Since then she has consistently contributed to the industry by way of involvement with TRoQ, mentoring upcoming therapists and unconditionally supporting Beauty Therapy Association AGMs and events, along with sponsoring Beauty Therapist of the Year on five occasions.
Donna has also pushed New Zealand into the limelight with her international principals, with PSB being honoured over the years with a number of distributor awards and more recently with a 15-year distributor award for Environ. They also received an international award for Most improved Distributor for Jane Iredale in 2013. “As PSB is a New Zealand owned and operated business we also like to give back to our own communities by supporting Breast Cancer, Look Good Feel Better, Westpac Helicopter, New Zealand Surf Lifesaving and New Zealand Guide Dogs.”
Donna says: “New Zealand beauty therapists have long been recognised around the world for their thorough training and hard working Kiwi attitude. I am very proud to be a part of our industry in New Zealand as we evolve into highly trained skin care professionals who are equal to the best in the world. It’s great to see that through dedication, focused training and advanced product ingredients the future of our industry looks very secure.
“I am also pleased that the TROQ (targeted review of qualifications) is well underway. This is one of the greatest opportunities we have to make changes in our New Zealand beauty therapy qualification at the training level and for this reason, PSB is proud to support and contribute resources to TRoQ. This is where change will come from and something in which we can all be involved to better our industry.”