Winnie Taylor is an experienced health and skincare expert, Spa Therapist expert, trainer in Beauty, Health & Wellness and Cosmetic (Skincare) Products. She has worked in the Health & Wellness and Fitness industry for over 20 years in Kenya and South Africa. She has a passion to help people look and feel well. The urge to make people look and feel fabulous while living healthy inspired her to start her award-winning all-inclusive Skincare Brand. She is thrilled to be part of the health and wellness industry, to serve and offer solutions that help redefine wellness.
Winnie studied Health and Skin Care therapy at Camelot International South Africa. She founded Body Evolution By Winnie in South Africa in November 2006. Interview With Skincare Specialist & CEO Of Body Evolution By Winnie, Winnie Taylor
- Describe your typical day?
This question would have looked so different a few months ago. A lot has changed since the pandemic. Because of working from home and traffic is no longer something I worry about; my day starts at 6 AM. If I am exercising, I start with that then have breakfast. Once the children are all set for their online classes I jump right into my day depending on what is on the diary for me. If not exercising, I use the time to reflect. With all the changes we have had to make, one needs to constantly be quiet to see how to do things differently.
Working from home means we interact with the children a lot more and we touch base with the kids during their breaks. We have lunch together then I continue to work, and they carry on with classes if they have or homework if they not. I try to get my day to end at 5 PM but on the days I have virtual consultations (one of the new norms) it might go until 6 pm.
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be either a kindergarten teacher or a fashion designer. Apparently, I needed to be good at drawing to be a fashion designer. I not sure how accurate this information was and since I could not verify, that dream died just like that. I grew up in an era where we stitched and knitted. I had enough practice with my dolls which were homemade by the way. My mom had a sewing machine and she used to make our beautiful dresses. At some point, I was helping her, and I was a natural at it.
As for being a kindergarten teacher although it was driven by my love for kids, I am glad I did not become one. I thank God I did not. As a mother, I now know parenting and classroom teaching are two different things. As if parenting is not hard enough, teaching small children is not for the faint-hearted. I actually think it is a calling. Having seen my children at kindergarten, I have mad respect for teachers who teach them and deal with them all day. During this pandemic period where we have had to children with us, I am sure most parent will agree with me on this one.
I suppose what I didn’t realize then I wanted to something that allowed me to help people love themselves, take care of themselves both inside and out. Being in the beauty, health and wellness industry I am living that dream of taking care of people.
How I ended up doing what I do was that I was fortunate enough to have an older sister who helped articulate what it was that I wanted and that is how I ended up in beauty school. My first job was in fitness Centre that introduced me into the fitness industry, which I enjoyed. I then ended in South Africa to study fitness and back into beauty when I decide to advance. The two go hand in hand.
As for my teaching dream, it has come to be because I am a trainer at ByWinnie Training Institute, the school I founded.
- If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I am so blessed as I am in my dream career and I would not change anything. Planning a bit more before starting is all I would do differently. Like most people, I just jumped into business doing what I loved, and I knew I was good at it without much planning of the business side.
- What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job? 1. Technical skills. This should start with proper training. You are dealing with people giving treatments, products and advice that imparts their lives.
2. Passion and good customer service. It is one industry that people assume is easy and it is not.
3. Being innovative and keeping up with the industry trends as well as refreshing your knowledge. Clients will always want to know what is happening whether you are offering it or not.
- As a professional how is it working in the Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Nairobi comes with its challenges but there are opportunities for those willing to put in the work. The Kenyan consumer is sophisticated and knows what they want and are demanding it. This is great for us. The industry, however, needs to professionalize and raise the standards so we can meet the global standards.
The industry is one of those that has not been taken seriously for the longest time. It was looked at something for those girls that failed, or dint do well. Not been taken seriously affected the quality and standards of training offered and therefore the calibre of treatments can only go as far as training is available. This later will affect things like pricing of services, which imparts the therapists and their livelihood.
Also, the massage business has a negative side with brothels runs as “spas”. One of the issues is that the industry not regulated, which means anything goes.
With times changing and the world indeed becoming a global village, people are becoming more aware of the role the industry plays in our lives and sectors like Tourism. The above challenges become opportunities. We are in the process of registering an association in Kenya that will handle regulation issues.
We are doing something to educate the therapists in the workplace by networking and creating training workshops, so they know their importance. Future therapists getting into the industry will have access to better training programs at par with the rest of the world. Bywinnie Training Institute Is one of those institutions where this training can be accessed.
- What motivates you?
The desire to see people feeling fabulous, healthier and live longer. This drives my desire to create the solutions in products, services and training.
- How do you define success?
Being able to help someone live better, healthier and achieve longevity. This is tied to my motivation above and when I achieve this then I have succeeded.
- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I am a creator, so I am always creating effective solutions to various challenges my clients experienced. My children battling with eczema while they were smaller has inspired me to get a product for that too. While they may not have benefited from it as they have outgrown eczema, others will benefit in future. So, from creating a skincare brand, to signature treatments or training programs, they must be effective and be unique in one way or another.
- What is your favourite aspect of your job?
Seeing happy clients. When clients are happy because I gave an effective solution or imparted new knowledge to their problem.
- What would you say are the key elements to being successful?
Being passionate, persistent and innovative. Entrepreneurship is not as rosy as it is made out to be, so being persistent helps. Being innovative is important too to keep it exciting and being able to offer clients more or better as things change a lot especially in our industry.
- What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?
Start by getting the right training to be equipped to get things right. Once they start learning does not stop there. They must keep learning as the industry is changing very fast and new things keep happening.
The clients are different too with different challenges and being able to fulfil them will keep the business going. Getting help so they will not do everything themselves. Lastly, they must have a passion for the industry.
- What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of career?
Being able to impact people positively, both clients and students. This has been through the treatments, skin care products or training.
- What makes you happy?
Happy clients. When we solve their problems and they get the desired results.
- What are your hobbies?
I love reading and travelling. I recently rekindled my love for knitting which I picked up in my childhood, but I am just not getting enough time to do it.
There is not enough of non-work time when you are self-employed. I hang out with my family and friends. I am a social person.
- Where do you see yourself in around 10 years?
I will be a global brand, manufacturing in Kenya and creating jobs. I will have the most sort after Industry training institute, imparting women and youth in Africa.
Check out this article by her How To Avoid Breakouts And Acne From Wearing A Face Mask. Plus a review of some of her products – Product Review: Body Evolution By Winnie Products