Catherine Howard Norfolk Mead Treatment Rooms
Catherine Howard Norfolk Mead Treatment Rooms

Meeting Team Mead: we interview the Manager of our spa Treatment Rooms ... Catherine Howard

Catherine talks to us about why she pursued a career in beauty therapy, the current self-care and well-being trend, and what makes the spa experience in Dubai one for the bucket list.

Hi Catherine … can you tell us how you first got into beauty therapy?

Well as a child, I always wanted to be a veterinary nurse and when I was just 13, I started working at my local veterinary practice each evening after school. It wasn’t until I was around 15 and I went to a friend’s birthday ‘pamper party’ at a salon in Norwich, that I started thinking about a career in Beauty Therapy. I loved having my nails done and chatting with the therapists, and I could really envisage myself doing that job when I was older. I have always loved taking care of people and making others feel better so it seemed like the perfect job for me. When I was finishing school, I decided to try and do my A Levels to give myself a couple of years to decide what I really wanted to do. It was an easy choice, and after that time, I still had a huge interest in Beauty Therapy so I applied for the course and enrolled. 

What is your role at The Norfolk Mead and what does it include? 

My role is not only to be a therapist but also to manage my team and the daily running of the Treatment Rooms. I love performing a wide range of treatments and also seeing and spending time with my lovely clients and making a difference to their day and hopefully making them feel better than they did when they walked through the door. I also do a lot of work in the office, designing new offers and treatments and looking into new ways to improve and keep the Treatment Rooms current. 

What makes a good therapist?

In my opinion, a good therapist should be friendly, understanding and always big on attention to detail. They should be able to put people at ease, help them to feel relaxed and comfortable and to be tuned into how their client is feeling. I think a good therapist should always be flexible and always go above and beyond for their clients. I also think personal presentation is key to being a good therapist. 

What do you love about beauty? 

My customers. I love making a difference to people’s days and making them feel better and relaxed. I love meeting new people and learning about their different and interesting lives. It’s a very rewarding job and it’s the people that make it so.

Do you have a favourite treatment you offer at The Mead?

It really depends on how I’m feeling on the day. Sometimes I love doing manicures and pedicures and having a day chatting and interacting lots with my customers and on other days, I love facials and massages where I really go into ‘the zone’; which also relaxes me as well as my client. Ultimately, I love all of the treatments we offer. 

What is a typical day like for you? 

Usually very busy! We start off by setting up the Treatment Rooms for the day and answering emails and phone messages. Normally there will be three of us working per day which means there will be two therapists in treatments from 10am-7pm, and then one therapist on reception; taking phone calls and answering emails throughout the day.

What are the current trends you are seeing? 

One current trend that I keep hearing and love, is self-care and well-being. Now, more than ever, people are taking time out for themselves, looking after themselves and not feeling guilty about it. It’s so important to take some time out for yourself every now and again and be kind to yourself. Whether that is a 30-minute manicure with a nice coffee and reading a book for half an hour whilst the nail polish dries; or a 90-minute full body massage with a facial – it’s doing something for yourself. I hope it’s a trend that stays around for a long time!

What makes the Mead special and what do clients enjoy about their visit?

I think it is how we strive to try and make each customer feel special and looked after. We do try and go the extra mile and offer something a little bit different. We like to build relationships with our customers and make a relaxing environment that can be their home from home

How do you motivate the rest of your team? 

I try to always listen to them and be tuned into to how they are feeling and what they are saying. I never ask them to do anything I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself and I try my hardest to always have a positive attitude and to give them the opportunity to have their say and try their ideas. 

What advice would you have for anyone thinking of going into beauty therapy?

I would say, it is an amazing career with so many different opportunities and variations throughout the industry. It is hard work with evenings and weekends included but it is a very rewarding job where you get to make a difference to people’s wellbeing and sometimes even their lives. You can make people feel better every day and no day will ever be the same. 

What do you like doing with your time off?

I like spending time with my family and friends. 

Why is Norfolk a special place? 

I think Norfolk is special because we still have that really old fashioned but nice way of life. Life isn’t too fast and we still get a reasonable work-life balance which I think is so important for a happy, healthy life. There are also some beautiful places to visit in and around Norfolk. 

If you could go to any spa in the world, where would you visit and why?

I would love to go to the Burj Al Arab Spa in Dubai. The attention to detail in Dubai is second to none. They think of so many extra little touches and make everything luxurious. 

If you could start your career again but not go into beauty therapy, what would be your alternative career choice and why?

I have two things. I love helping others, that is just a part of me, so I would have loved to go into counselling; listening to people and trying to get them better by just being there to talk to, and offering them comfort. Also, I have a huge interest in the police and always have but I’m not sure the long hours and night shifts would be for me as hard working as I am!

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