Haylee Benton, CEO of Pamper Pad & Founder of The Silver Fern Group
Entrepreneur, investor and business mentor
Having set out from my homeland of New Zealand to travel around the UK, I spotted an opportunity to get involved in marketing.
I built the website for a signage company and, by the time I’d turned 22, I was running the operation, which turned over more than £2m a year.
Within four years, I’d gained a Business degree from Warwick University and grown the firm into a £3.5m enterprise.
By the time I left, we’d taken on too many people and lost some contracts. The business failed in the end, which was a heart-breaking but important lesson. Luckily, I was headhunted by another signage company.
In the background, I set up my own comparison website, Pamper Pad, which I call the ‘TripAdvisor of the beauty industry’. Nearly 8,000 businesses signed up within two years.
When I left the signage company after 12 months, I launched a platform to coach and mentor beauty business owners who were trying to learn how to run a business on the job. My USP was numbers, marketing and long-term strategy.
In 2017, I launched my own signage and events company on the other side of the world! I employed someone in New Zealand to take care of day-to-day operations locally, whilst I led on strategy from the UK. I later sold that business at a great profit.
My new thing is ‘global domination’. In the past 18 months, I’ve launched three beauty brands – a day spa, a hair salon and a skin clinic – with their own premises. I’m hoping to replicate the model in other affluent towns and have a site back home in New Zealand.
My ‘hobby business’ is launching a ladies’ luxury golf clothing range. I’m obsessed with the sport, but womenswear is hard to come by, so I’m making my own!
At 31, I’m learning to be less impulsive and to slow down. It’s really important to think about whether or not a business is viable before pouring lots of money into it.
I’m proud of my people management skills and work culture. I treat my team how I would want to be treated. You can’t do it all alone – especially when you have enormous goals!