UKSA hosts first Scottish networking event

The event, held at the Sheraton Grand hotel and spa in Edinburgh, was attended by 116 spa operators and suppliers


By Wendy Golledge

08 March 2024

“Communication, conversation, connection and community is what we’re all about,” said Yvonne Ebdon, as she welcomed delegates to the UK Spa Association’s first networking event in Scotland.

Introducing Bobby Griffiths as the association’s new full time general manager, Ebdon praised the industry for its growth and resilience during her three-year tenure.

The event was attended by 116 operator and supplier delegates from across the industry.

Supplier partners and sponsors included Temple Spa, Sothys, JK Wellness, Germaine de Cappucini, Trybe, Evolve, Brass Monkey and BC SoftWear.

They were joined by Elemis, Journey, Spabreaks, Skinwork, Omorovicza, Grown Alchemist, Natura Bisse, QMS Mediocosmetics and Tommy’s.

“It was a pleasure to be hosted by Sheraton for our first – and long overdue – networking event in Scotland. It was amazing to see so many of our members make the effort to be there. I’m now handing over to Bobby and look forward to seeing the UKSA go from strength to strength. Together, as an industry, we can achieve great things.”

Yvonne Ebdon

General manager, UK Spa Association

Wellness: the highest form of hospitality

European Spa’s Sarah Camilleri kicked off the speaker sessions, introducing the new European Spa Platinum Resource 2024 as a leadership and guidance companion for everyone in industry.

“The industry is changing rapidly and one of our goals this year was to help busy spa managers stay ahead,” she said.

“Wellness is the highest form of hospitality today and it’s really undervalued; we want to help change that.”

Steve Ewing, Jenny Jones, Teresa O'Farrell, Holly Webster, Beata Aleksandrowicz, Paula Norwood, Yvonne Ebdon and Sarah Tester

Five key strategies to build mental resilience

Keynote speaker Emma Bell asked the assembled delegates to consider ‘what does mental resilience mean to you?’ and ‘how does adversity define you?’

Bell offered five practical strategies to help her audience show up and thrive, every day.

“Resilience is like a muscle you can build through every choice, action and decision,” she said. “Every time a small adversity occurs, you can stop and make a conscious choice. Ask yourself ‘how do I thrive in the face of this?’

“Choosing to do difficult things also builds resilience. If you’re not uncomfortable you’re not trying. Be uncomfortable at least once every day.”

Emma Bell’s mental resilience strategies

1. Take control of the narrative. Choose a narrative that allows you to show up with understanding and compassion.


2. Apply the three-second pause. Breathe in deeply, to the bottom of your lungs, and ask yourself ‘how can I thrive here?’


3. Which thought bus are you on? Is it going in the right direction. If you’re thinking negative things, you can neither control or influence, get off that thought bus.


4. Stop complaining.


5. Ask what is possible? Don’t think about what’s probable; think about what’s possible.

The power of touch

Intuitive practitioner and global educator, Beata Aleksandrowicz shared her wisdom on the power of touch.

“Touch is the mother of all senses; if we receive touch regularly it helps us to grow emotionally. Touch is what makes us human,” she said.

“But nobody touches each other in public places anymore; the environments where we receive touch are narrowing.

“What an incredible opportunity this us for us, as in industry, to globally contribute to healing on the big scale, because lack of touch is everywhere.”

Beata Aleksandrowicz talked about the power of touch

Aleksandrowicz stressed that therapists are the ones making that difference, but their growth and development is still not a priority in the industry.

“The new role of the therapist is as an educated active advisor, not passive provider.

“They need to be better trained so they can answer clients’ wellness queries, be authentic, and provide human experience, personalising services beyond the physical,” said Aleksandrowicz.

UKSA board members: Sarah Tester, Victoria Dello Ioio, Rachel Well, Yvonne Ebdon, Emma Pridding, Sarah Roncetti and Steve Ewing

How are you doing today?

Other speakers included mental health professional, Ramin Salehi, who encouraged delegates to ask their teams ‘how are you doing today?’ and really mean it.

“It’s one of the most important questions we can intentionally ask,” he said. “Be brave enough to ask that question. Teams are 80% more productive if they feel cared for.”

Spa education and training

Diane Hey, founder of Armonia Training and chair of the Habia Steering Group brought delegates to date on National Occupational Standards.

“It was great to share the updated proposals for the new SVQ Levels 5&6 in Beauty therapy and nail services with our Scottish operators and colleagues,” says Hey.

“We’re providing a competency framework pathway to meet their needs for developing their talent pipelines of the future.”

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