Noella Gabriel: from treatment room to board room
Day two began with an opening address by Noella Gabriel, global president and co-founder of Elemis. Detailing her journey from treatment room to board room, Gabriel talked about various elements of her life and how each of these paved the way for her to become the leader of one of the industry’s most recognised brands.
As a young child she began singing lessons as a mezzo soprano, and at one point was destined to be a singer. It was at the Cork School of Music that she learnt the art of the breath. She went on to found Acorn Health Food Shop in Cork in 1979 and learnt about retail, nutrition and how to adapt to life’s challenges.
From small acorns…
Gabriel became a CIDESCO-trained beauty therapist and travelled the world before discovering the power of aromatherapy. In 1986 she joined Harvey Nichols, running the beauty department, where she took a deep dive into luxury retail.
It was there that she gained a true understanding of the importance of P&L, profit margins, customer care and the value of listening to the client. She told Spa Life Ireland attendees: “Never lose sight of the client, these relationships are so important.”
Her talk offered insights into her time leading Elemis from its New York office, the challenges of Covid-19 and selling the brand to the L’Occitane Group.
The insightful and thought-provoking presentation was delivered with humility, and she left a reminder for everyone attending: “Listen more, hear more… and women, be kind to other women in business. We are often the harshest critics.”