How I came to Face The World… – by Lizzie B, Founder FTW
If someone had told me back in August 2004 that I would be founder of a UK-wide holistic massage school and skin care brand, I’d have thought they were mad. Back then, I was still Operations Manager of a private forensic science company and at the pinnacle of a highly successful career. I’d completed an MSc in Genetics to become one of the first DNA Database specialists working for the Home Office, right through to running a DNA Unit of 120 scientists. By 2004, I was in charge of all forensic casework, staff and scene of crime management for the north of England and knocking on the Board of Directors at the age of 32.
So what on earth changed?
They say that it can be just one particular case that ‘breaks’ you. This happened to me in September 2004.
As a forensic scientist you just look at the science – applying your expert knowledge impartially to deliver the best quality results. As a manager of forensic scientists, you allocate cases based on skill set, workload and availability – emotions just don’t come into it.
That was until the case came in. It was a pair of pink Barbie knickers belonging to a little girl. They were to be tested for a particular body fluid, suspect her father. It was ironically a straightforward case. I’d started to look at which team was available and the TRT expected when suddenly my heart just physically ‘sank’. It was like going over a roller coaster but filled with dread. It was an awful moment. I wanted to move but nothing would happen. I just sat and stared at the item in front of me and actually knew right then that I couldn’t do this any more. It was petrifying, I was about to lose everything I had worked so hard my whole life for.
Things quickly went downhill and I handed in my resignation. Despite being offered alternative roles in the organisation, I knew I had to leave – and start my life again.
Having moved back to my Midlands home, I had no idea what to do or where to start – so watered-down my CV and applied for a data entry clerk position in Wolverhampton Council. I hit rock bottom at that point, but it gave me time to bury my head in the sand and work out where life would lead me. 3 years would go by, during which time I was able to graft my way back up to become a Regional Co-ordinator for Social Care funding over 4 West Mids Councils…
A new small salon had opened just down the road from where I worked – an Indian mother and daughter team – with an introductory offer of just £10 for a 1 hour facial. That was enough to tempt me (and many colleagues) to head their way.
It was quite an experience. The mother therapist beckoned me into the treatment room (she spoke little English), where she was playing an old tape cassette of Indian music. She used products with an unusual ‘spicy’ aroma and her hands instinctively moved in time to the rhythm. I had transported myself to a beautiful Indian beach spa where the sun was setting and exotic spices filled the air…. but then the cassette suddenly ended with a clunk and the radio auto-clicked in (playing 80’s disco music). The magic was of course over! But it made me think about the link between music and massage – and the therapeutic power of the mind.
Having been a fan of facial massage for over 15 years, I realised that the background music had literally always been just that – and somewhat hit and miss. From silence or chat, to radio, to easy listening, Zen and yes, “dolphins” of course. However, none has played a direct part in the treatment. I decided to research this further and after hours then days scouring the Internet, nothing came up.
I decided to research this idea further – now including the concepts of fragrance, temperature, textures and techniques as well as music – i.e. concentrating on the whole ‘holistic’ sensory side to massage. To my surprise, nothing at all existed that combined any or all of them directly in the same treatment.
That was it. The perfect combination of music therapy, aromatherapy, technique/massage and (ethical) products was to take a client on a virtual voyage around the World – bringing together the indigenous holistic elements into the experience for each country visited. The name Face The World was a perfect fit and already bouncing round my mind. I had to do this.
After consulting industry experts, I formed a National Panel of therapist volunteers to put together the ideal package of a results-driven skin care system but within such a unique, industry-first treatment. Everything was created from scratch and tested by these volunteers and their clients over the next 4 years as funds and time would allow.
From zero practitioners, no marketing budget nor national campaign the business has organically grown from the National Panel via word of mouth, social media efforts and PR. Today, Face The World has a patent for choreographed massage, 15 UK-wide tutors, over 300 accredited practitioners and voted the UK Holistic Business of the Year in September 2013. We’re now engaging with FE Colleges and have founded a UK Volunteer Therapist Group of over 1400 members, taking holistic, well-being and beauty treatments to those in society who need it most – from palliative care patients to injured war veterans. I’ve also been invited to write regular articles for the Holistic Therapist Magazine Blog and have been one of four National judges for the UK Holistic Therapists Award since it’s launch.
I feel very blessed to continue to be of service to others – I’ve simply exchanged the power of technology for the power of touch! 😀
All I’d say to those reading this is to never give up and always believe in yourself. Oh – and it doesn’t take rocket science to change someone’s life for the better.
If you follow your heart with passion, the world really is your oyster…