Fantastic Female – Helen Ritchie, Founder Gym For Your Skin

Fantastic Female – Helen Ritchie, Founder Gym For Your Skin

From a consultancy and clinic background, Helen Ritchie believes everyone should have the advice of an aesthetician, like how everyone has a fitness trainer or nutritionist. 

In 2015, Helen noted that no-one was offering professional skincare consultations in the online retail space and set up beauty concierge.

In 2019, when she didn’t see any strengthening skincare in her field, she created Gym For Your Skin (@gymforyourskin), to help younger girls and guys from their teens get a lifetime of healthy skin.

Gen Z spend their whole lives constantly tuned in & on display. 

It’s a lot of pressure. Skin confidence is vital. Most go-to anti-blemish skincare products aimed at young adults add to their stress by pushing harsh products and treatments that weaken skin and actually CAUSE inflammation, irritation, breakouts, and early ageing. 

We are the opposite. While others weaken, we strengthen.

I needed to educate everyone on the importance of STRONG SKIN and help more people than I could reach in my clinic, and make healthy skin easy. Because when skin is made strong many common skin problems naturally fade away.

Fantastic Female – Helen Ritchie, Founder Gym For Your Skin

Gym For Your Skin

How did you balance being a mother and professional?

I left my full time career in 2007 so that I could be a working mum on my own clock. I’d squeeze consultancy and clients around the family schedule so that I could take the children to nursery or school or on days out. The truth is I didn’t want to relinquish my career, nor did I want to miss out on the children growing up, so naturally it meant working around the children’s hours and longer days. They say if you want something doing, ask a busy person. I think the busier you are, the more you are able to get though.

What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career?

I don’t think I’ve sacrificed anything – I’ve had the best of both world’s. If I’d have been 100% career I’d have had more money yes but limited time with the children so I’d be poor in enrichment. And if I’d chosen to be 100% mum and house person, I’d have let my academic and professional skills go. I’m really proud of the mum work balance I struck. I’m not saying it’s been easy but none of these options are. At the end of the day, the children come first and I can’t be a good mum if I don’t look after myself. The children have been given all the opportunities we could offer and my businesses have scaled organically with my life. I wouldn’t have been a ‘climber’ within an organisation – I’ve never been bothered with all the politics.

Who inspired you and why?

From an early age I wanted to make my parents proud of me. They invested in my education and gave me a wonderful childhood, made sacrifices. I’d say I want to be the best version of me whatever that is and do what makes me happy as that would make them happy. I think the change in my career from employed to self-employed was a combination of push and pull factors. I just needed that leap of faith.

I’m inspired by so many people especially those who show kindness to others. Whether that’s someone who cares for other humans or someone doing something great for the planet, like David Attenborough. I’m highly motivated by unusual thinkers and great orators.

What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

Look for the talent in an organisation. And look for givers not takers. Try to put a mentorship programme in place if there isn’t one. Learn from the best you can.

Do you think women feel intimidated in business?

I think possibly yes in professions which play by old school rules. I think that means they have a more difficult choice to make if that’s their career path. But I think the working world changes fast and there are so many strong women who don’t feel this way. TIme is a big healer of past discrimination in the workplace.

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?

Out running or walking the dog in the countryside and having breakfast out. That’s a real weekly treat.

What do you love about your job?

Helping others and being so proud that customers believe in me and the brand enough to spend their hard earned money on us. I never forget that.  I love creating and working with creatives to articulate my vision. I hope to be more of an ambassador for strong young people in the future.

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?

Leaving the 9-5 employed world.  

What’s the worst career decision you’ve ever made?

Investing in another’s brand without any equity in place. Foolish move but one I’ve never forgotten and will never repeat.

How do you organise your time?

Badly. I’m learning to look at my list of activities and choose those which are going to create most impact. I’m also learning to implement the 80:20 rule in all areas of life. I think it’s very easy for work to fill the time you have available and when you are self-employed you feel that should be all of the time. I think I’m getting wiser and more efficient as I get older!

What do you think is your greatest strength?

I’d say my biggest strength is natural optimism. I always think things will work out for the best.

What do you think is your greatest weakness?

I’d also say it’s my optimism. When things don’t turn out the way I hope, plan or how I think they should. That’s a killer for someone who looks on the bright side of life and humanity.

How do you make decisions?

I gather information, lots of information and then base my decision on my findings. Sometimes I make decisions on a whim. It depends on how great the impact of doing or not doing would have on my stability. How much risk I perceive.

Fantastic Female – Helen Ritchie, Founder Gym For Your Skin

What do you read?

I read non-fiction books especially where I learn a new skill. I like a lot of design books.

What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve got to?

You have to have a great idea. Be it a tangible brand or thought leader. Me too brands – riding on the back of someone else’s hard work and investment, really make me uncomfortable I’d say on top of that, my secrets are my supportive husband, childhood and family and hard work. Having had cancer I decided I would no longer wait to do the things I wanted to do, everything is possible and I decided I wouldn’t worry about those who don’t have my best interests. Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and your ideas and support you is so important as the early days are lonely and full of self-doubt

Fantastic Female – Helen Ritchie, Founder Gym For Your Skin

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