Hellen completed her hairdressing training with a chain of concession salons within department stores upon leaving school in 1983. At the tender age of 19 she realised her future lay in salon management and she started running the salon where she trained and ran a column. The impressive results she produced ensured she quickly progressed through the company and Hellen was promoted to Assistant Regional Manager then Regional Manager, managing in-store salons up and down the country from Kendals in Manchester to Rackhams in Birmingham, and gleaning a wealth of knowledge that led her to experience salon management at every level. She returned to the South East region in 1990 and was then promoted to General Manager of Harrods Hair and Beauty Salon, Children’s Salon and Barber Shop, the youngest person before or since to hold that position, transferring in 1992 to grow and develop the bankrupt Neville Daniel business that her bosses had purchased.
After meeting Richard, the couple bought the business from the receivers in a management buy-out and set about the task of turning it around by combining Richard’s creative abilities with Hellen’s business acumen. Married in 1994, Hellen and Richard are parents to Elysia and Oliver. Whilst juggling her motherhood role with her career, Hellen continues to be responsible for the marketing, human resources, branding and development of the company — a role which she relishes for its challenges and diversity. In expanding the Richard Ward brand, Hellen now also helps oversee the company’s manufacturing and product division at a global level – Richard Ward Salon Professional and Tangle Angel (now in over 40 countries) – dealing with UK and overseas distributors and stockists such as Waitrose, as well as supplying the professional sector.
Hellen's media profile is a testament to her success. Her regular TV appearances on ITV's Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast and BBC News see her commenting on industry issues and she is regularly asked to quote on news-related stories by the Press Association, appearing regularly in The Daily Mail, Mail On Sunday, Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times. She is a regular guest for a host of online seminars and panel debates for HJI and Pro Beauty TV, discussing pressing industry issues.
Hellen is a co-founder of the newly formed SEA (Salon Employers Association) - formerly SOS (Save Our Salons) - a group of salon directors and educators campaigning on behalf of a large group of salon employers in the industry. Hellen is a member of the government's BEIS group (the government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy that represents the Hair & Beauty Sector), feeding back on the very real issues that salon owners face. She campaigned tirelessly for VAT reform during the pandemic with her fellow SOS co-founders, highlighting the cause to the media. SEA has been co-created by Hellen to ensure parity across the sector's business models and campaign for fairer taxation for those employing staff in salons. Hellen also sits on the British Beauty Council's hairdressing committee.
A board member of BAWE (British Association of Women Entrepreneurs), Hellen is also their Vice President, and in 2019 she was awarded their coveted Joyce Award, joining a prestigious list of only 23 previous recipients considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the organisation. BAWE is an invitation only association and the UK division of FCEM, a worldwide network with a unique provenance. Started after WW2 for the war widows left to run family businesses, it's modern day incarnation BAWE is a unique platform run by women entrepreneurs for like-minded businesswomen to connect, mentor and inspire each other across all commerce sectors. Hellen is also proud to be the first Beauty Ambassador of NHBF (National Hair and Beauty Federation), a new arm of the NHF created to specifically service the beauty and spa sector.
Hellen has written 3 books for the City & Guilds Diploma in Salon management (equivalent to a foundation degree) which have become the bible for ultimate salon management: Getting Established, Managing Finances and Team Performance – available in print and e-book. She has been writing her long-standing must-read column for trade publication Professional Beauty magazine for over 150 editions and is also a regular contributor and columnist for many leading industry magazines, as well as a sought after panellist and guest speaker at business focused industry events.
As a Past President and current Vice President, Hellen is a huge supporter of The Hair & Beauty Charity (formerly The Hairdressers Charity) of which she is a Director, Trustee and board member, creating the Jayne Henderson Award in honour of one of her late team members.
Hellen’s involvement in the future of her sector’s training and education led her to Chair the hairdressing arm of Trailblazers from its inception in 2014 until 2018, leading a group of industry specialists working with HM Government Department for Business Innovation & Skills and the IFA (Institute for Apprenticeships) in recommending on the framework of Apprenticeship education in the hair and beauty industry to ensure trainees are job ready from the employer’s perspective. Hellen was also the first fully-serving female Chairman of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing chairing the Finance, Council and Events committees from 2014-2016.
Through her Ultimate Salon Management System, Hellen has shared her best practice systems and strategies that she has developed to run her own businesses into a downloadable format for salon owners to track and monitor their businesses effectively. At the helm of the largest and highest grossing independent salon in the UK, she has replicated her own internal long-standing, tried and tested systems for other salon owners and chains with her USM software packages, offering comprehensive management accounting and HR systems tailor-made for the salon, beauty and spa industry. Her USM Bronze, Silver and Gold packages have fast become the go-to management solution for any progressive salon in the sector. She is shortly launching her USM programme as a 3 tiered on-line education platform, with each level containing 6 modules of downloadable tutorials that accompany her tried and tested systems.
Hellen’s other passion has seen her successfully retailing to a cult following of clients in-salon for many years, but in Azulara she has created her own brand, designing an exclusive collection of luxury, contemporary fine and fashion jewellery and artisan accessories.
To contact Hellen regarding consultancy, please email her: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa: www.richardward.com
To find out more about BAWE: www.bawe-uk.org
To find out more about Tangle Angel: www.tangleangel.com
To find out more about Richard Ward Salon Professional: www.richardwardchelsea.london
To find out more about Azulara: www.azulara.com