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SKINWORK's founder on how it is forging ahead with new partnerships and new launches

Lauretta Roberts
22 March 2024

Eilidh Smith is beauty executive turn spa/clinic and brand founder. After the pandemic she established a flagship location for her SKINWORK business in the heart of Soho and has just established a partnership with another institution born in the neighbourhood, Soho House. Her skincare line is about to be sold in department store group Fenwick and, later this year, will also be stocked by Selfridges.

Smith tells us about how and why she set up SKINWORK, her advice for the perfect skincare routine, how strategic partnerships are helping to grow her business and what new launches she has in the pipeline.

Before we get on to SKINWORK, can you please tell us a little bit about your background in skincare?

Before I founded SKINWORK, I worked with professional skincare brands like Elemis and Decleor, working in marketing and general management across their spa, salon, online and retail channels.

SKINWORK

SKINWORK's flagship location in Soho

You established the SKINWORK site initially within Alex Eagle and the just after the pandemic you opened your current site in Soho, can you tell us about the vision you had for it?

Yes, we had a wonderful and successful partnership with Alex Eagle. Post-covid SKINWORK SOHO – our Flagship location – really allowed us to bring the brand to life and continue to build our clientele and profile. The vision for the SKINWORK was to bring together the best of a clinic and the best of a spa. So targeted, performance-driven clinical treatments and expert advice with an elevated, relaxing experience in a modern informal environment. The brand has always been built to develop into a wholesale Spa and Retail business, offering our SKINWORK services and products through Spa and Retail partners in addition to our flagship location.

So, we have been really developing our brand, profile, professional treatment protocols, retail and professional products – and our training and business support offering ahead of launching into Soho House and Fenwick this year.

What are the core services you offer and which are the most popular treatments?

The number one concern our clients come to us for is lack of radiance, two is congestion and three is ageing – so we have created all products and treatments to address these concerns based on the data we have from our clientele. Every treatment is designed to target radiance, congestion and / or ageing and deliver quick results with the added bonus of relaxation.

We introduce new technologies and products only once they are tried and tested. Our bestselling treatment is the City Cleanse Facial (£165/65 mins), followed by the Clean + Contour (£145/65 mins) and Pro. Glow (£195/80 mins).

Our ‘SKINWORK secrets’ which are unique to us include modalities such as our extraction process and our electrical elements.  We have some new technology coming this year for SKINWORK Soho and for our Spa Partners which is exciting!

SKINWORK treatments include modalities such as extraction and electrical elements

You are all about treating people with busy, urban lifestyles, are there common areas of concern that you see?

100%. We created our treatments as a direct answer to our clientele’s most common skin concerns – lack of radiance, congestion and ageing. It’s not often that our clients have over an hour or 90 minutes to themselves – they want results, but also want to feel pampered. We really maximise every minute of their time to ensure they get the results they want on their skin, and they leave feeling relaxed and uplifted without taking hours out of their day. We include techniques like raising the legs to reduce pressure, heated beds, cocooning them with a duvet and neck, shoulder, hand and arm massages in every treatment and scalp pressure point in some.

A year ago, you launched your own skincare line. Can you tell us about the main products in the range, the formulas and the results that can be achieved?

Focusing on the main skin concerns that our clients come to us with – lack of radiance, congestion, ageing. We have created three initial products to address these concerns while still being suitable for blemish-prone skin types also.

Our Treatment Cleanse Homework Kit (£61) has been the bestseller across our Homework kits collections. The kit allows everyone to benefit from our SKINCARE wisdom – with a targeted collection of supercharged skincare to use at home. The products are built around our treatments to help target skin concerns seen on our clients every day, so the collection has everything you need for glowing, rejuvenated, cared for, good-night sleep skin! It was designed to give you a luxurious feeling all whilst delivering fast results.

It contains everything you need for a professional at-home cleanse and has been the bestseller across our Homework kits collections. Our TREATMENT CLEANSE Cream Cleanser (£32/180ml) was created to give that luxurious feeling and thorough cleanse you would get from a cleansing balm – but without any of the potentially pore-blocking oils. With ingredient like Aloe Vera, Zinc and Vitamin E. Our team have even said the TREATMENT CLEANSE has really improved the condition of their hands when they are delivering treatments all day.

Pro. Glow Hydrating Gel-Cream (£44/75ml) is our moisturiser- super lightweight but still hydrating and gives visible results. The moisturiser has a low percentage of Lactic Acid so you immediately see a brighter, more radiant, soft and bouncy complexion, while it continues to work on treating congestion and smoothing skin texture.

Skincare can be quite complex – consumers are very knowledgeable but can sometimes get carried away with actives, for instance. From your perspective, what makes a good basic skincare routine?

This would be my go-to skincare essentials that everyone should incorporate into their routines!

  • SPF – every day, no exceptions.  SPF is one of the keys to having good skin look flawless. You can identify those who are diligent as they have no pigmentation and a totally even complexion.
  • Cleansing – thorough.  No excuses very thorough cleansing, this ensures great skin condition, minimises any congestion and keeps skin balanced and clear. We always recommend a cleansing cream like our SKINWORK TREATMENT Cleanse Cream Cleanser (£32/180ml) and a cleansing mitt for the most thorough Cleanse.
  • Exfoliation – light and regular. To keep skin Hydrated, glowy and clear of congestion a 2-4 times weekly application of light chemical Exfoliant. We love Salicylic and Lactic Acid found in our SKINWORK HOMEWORK AHA + BHA Exfolaiting Peel (£46/125ml).
  • Retinoid – another essential for flawless skin.  Routine varies but you want to build this up to maximum usage - this combined with SPF will give the best, flawless skin tone. And regular usage to improve texture and lines.
  • Hydration – best to use is Hyaluronic Acid.  A high-quality Hyaluronic Acid will give fast results and the skin serious bounce and natural radiance.  Essential for healthy skin.
  • Gua Sha – if you find your skin is stressed, use a Gua-sha to relieve the muscle in your face to help redirect the energy flow back to your skin. We actually have a SKINWORK Sculp Roller + Gua Sha Tool (£24) that we advise to use 3-5 times a week and is perfect at de-stressing and de-puffing the skin.
  • Water & Sleep! – need I say more?

SKINWORK's results-focused product range

You have just announced a partnership with another Soho institution, Soho House. Can you tell us what that involves?

Yes, SKINWORK services and products are available at Soho Farmhouse! Were offering a selection of treatments: the City Cleanse, Clean + Contour, Skin Fix, and Pro. Glow Facials. We will also be available at Babington House from May this year. Services and products have been extremely popular at Soho Farmhouse already - we are currently discussing some other activations!

Your ‘Homework’ skincare is available through Soho House, in your own salon and online on your own website. Do you have plans to widen distribution into retail or other professional settings?

Yes, we are partnering with Fenwick from May, which is super exciting to take the brand across the UK which such an amazing team to work with at Fenwick – and Selfridges later in the year. We are also launching into more Hotel Spas with our next partner being Foxhills in Surrey who we are delighted to be partnering with.

SKINWORK

Eilidh Smith in her Soho site

Do you have any plans to extend the line and is there a particular area you have your eye on?

We have multiple professional-only and retail products coming this year. Launching in April is our Healthy + Hydrated Lip Treatment Balm – so this will be the next launch to look out for.

What about the treatments. You are experts in face, are you considering widening into body for instance?

Our Body Facial (£120, skinwork.com) was designed to bring the same results we give on the face to the body, so we incorporate microdermabrasion, peels etc – these are results-focussed treatments on the body, unlike most body services in spa/salon which typically are only about relaxation. They still represent a small proportion of our business.

What’s been the biggest learning for you building your brand and business in the post-pandemic era?

Adapt and focus on the potential areas of growth, consumer behaviour. Observing and adapting to changing patterns of work and behaviour.  Impact of tube/train strikes and national events on central London footfall and working patterns.  Strong business to be able to manage these challenges.

All SKINWORK products are available at skinwork.com.


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