Education is Key – but Laughter is Everything

I want to tell you about a recent event that TLF had the huge pleasure of not only attending; I got the chance of co-hosting and bringing in ideas for the occasion! This article is a bit tricky for me to write as there are three partners involved: TLF, Intercontinental Dubai Marina SPA (ICDM) and ESPA. I want to declare right here and now that I’m not an official part of the last two companies and with that, I can only give you the TLF point of view. That itself doesn’t mean that I imply this to have been a TLF Masterclass, I just feel the need to say so, in case questions will arise later on.

I founded TLF because I wanted to create a platform dedicated to high-end beauty where science, history, heritage of the brands and the industry and in-depth information about products were allowed to flourish. I’m a teacher by heart (and education) and I firmly believe that education is key when it comes to everything in life. I doesn’t have to be formal education, I’m talking about the constant investment you do in yourself by learning more about everything and anything.

When it comes to skincare one can always write articles about it, or even set up “mingle events” for a product launch but I personally know that when a product is really good it sell itself when you get to touch it, feel it, smell it and understand it’s background.

Kinda like dating hahaha.

Already back in 2016 I had a meeting with Intercontinental Dubai Marina (ICDM) as it is my second home and a haven for me when I need peace and quiet but still want to feel like I’ve got family around me. That’s what a number of people in this establishment are to me. Their beautiful SPA caters for all my needs and comes with a very high level of knowledge and education – qualities that can be hard to find in Dubai where so many levels of education and backgrounds blend together. At the SPA I know what I’m getting and I also enjoy the fact that it is a dedicated ESPA London spa facility. This is why we initiated conversations.

We wanted to spread some awareness of both the ESPA range and the SPA and all my heart really wanted to do was to set up a Masterclass at the spa and make it really active, interactive, intimate, luxurious and educational. And so the journey started. I’m not working within PR but I do work with many PR professionals and I attend events of all kinds of shape and form. Obviously, I have formed a personal opinion over the years and it is this: less is more, keep it educational, bring in the right people to represent the brand and the right people to attend. Oh, and with the right people I don’t necessary talk about social media influencers. I talk about the people that are right for the specific product. I’m still old fashion and I believe that spreading awareness that lead to engagement is a mouth-to-mouth deal, not everything can be measured by the number of likes on an Instagram snapshot!

For this very first ESPA masterclass we decided to invite a small group of ladies who we thought would be open for the idea of an educational journey; who wanted to learn more and be interactive with each other and the trainer.

We also knew that truly participating in the class meant to take off all you makeup, take part in building up a full skincare routine and learn. It takes a lot of courage to strip down that polished exterior and be without your shield in a room with people you don’t know that well! I can only say that I’m deeply thankful for everyone that attended, who really put their mind and heart into the game! These women, OMG.

Ms. ThidaSPA Manager of ICDM had created a setting for the event in the most beautiful way by making room for us all inside the SPA next to their fabulous tranquility pool. The room smelled of ESPA essential oils and candles and we were all greeted with a healthy and beautiful breakfast to get the event going. I must say this: it was my first event ever when upon arrival, the food was not the centre of attention: we were all so busy learning, connecting, laughing  and just having fun.

Thida had set the table for all of us and during the event, her amazing staff assisted us with hot cloths, mittens (oooh, I want those mittens!!), cotton pads soaked in essence and anything else we needed. It felt incredibly pampering and luxurious. Professional but never ever stiff.

We had the pleasure of getting Ms. Katrina ESPA Spa Division; SPA Operations Associate and Trainer to fly in all the way from London to teach us about the range and although I’ve worked with her and had a lot of email contact with her previous to the class; I didn’t fully understand her brilliance until seen in action: the way she and Thida led the class was not about teachers standing up and simply selling products with PR language. It was FUN, high and low, questions being answered as we all where laughing so hard when the makeup came off and the true faces where exposed!

To me; ESPA can be summarised as a brand with an holistic approach where everything you add to the skin shall also be in lieu with what goes on inside your body and your state of mind. It is a sensory journey for sure, as the products are built not only with high quality essential oils but also with such pure ingredients like cucumber where you can actually detect the clean scent. Nothing added, nothing fixed, just nature and science together. The technology is advanced and sophisticated.

Katrina took the time to fully guide us through the extensive ESPA range of products while teaching us how to build a daily and a weekly routine while at the same time she somehow managed the art of making it personalised to each of us around the table! We all got a fair chance to find our own skin concerns, the condition of our skin and preferences for scents and ingredients. She started the class by asking us all how we felt right then and how we wanted to feel when we left the session. Goals, what we needed the products to do for us. That Luxurious Feeling all the way because if you don’t know the goal, how do you know what ingredients or products to search for?!

As I sat back, playing with my products I was listening to the room: Katrina’s soft voice as she explained the history of ESPA as a pioneer brand in the SPA industry, mixed with all the ladies who were giggling, laughing, talking over each other, extending personal stories about skincare failures and victories and so on. A table full of women without makeup invited by TLF without knowing each other before the event. I could hear them connect, create friendships, discussing the products, scents, viscosity, colours and one thing was clear to me: as they fell in love with the brand as much as I am they also got a fair chance of understanding what each product could or couldn’t do for them. They all got to find the products that would work for them without being rushed or pushed to purchase and they got to see exactly the way that the SPA is operating by interacting with the staff and Thida as well as experiencing the whole beautiful area. It’s hard to describe it really without sounding corny, but it was just a happy morning.

After the event, I’ve heard several ladies saying the same thing: the fact that Katrina felt more like a friend with a lot of knowledge rather than a “trainer” made us relax and prepared to ask those silly questions. When she also with ease could answer all of our questions without ever sounding superior or trying to back-talk any other brand or ingredient was well noticed and appreciated. A lot of respect went on in that room and I think that’s why the brand sold itself so well. To be able to conduct a class for over almost 2,5 hours without any cheat notes or reading out of a script for ingredient preparation is not easy, not when you’re discussing a full range. I think we all recognised that and felt the authentic approach as truly refreshing and inspirational.

We had a very good time and I’ve heard people being curious of ever attending another session, should there be one :). As for myself, this was the very first time that I got the chance to be a part of hosting an event, to see my little logo on an invitation and to be welcomed to sign the handwritten Thank You cards. It meant a great deal to me; this is what I love to to. The education, to create awareness and do it in a soft and comfortable way. I want to thank ICDM and ESPA for the great opportunity given, and for those magnificent gifts that we all received.♥

    1. Dear Esnath, Thank you so so much for reading and truly understanding what we all wanted to achieve. It was such a wonderful event and personally I dream of some day being able to do something similar but for MEN as well. ESPA is such a fabulous range and education is a huge part in discovering and loving a brand. Lots of love from Dubai, xx M

    1. Hahahaha I felt VERY bold as I wrote that; I might get a lot of angry looks for even mentioning it but I still think this is true. Not everyone who shop get their ideas from Instagram hehehe, I rather spread education, knowledge and create brand loyalty that way, than being an “influencer” on social media. Kisses and THANK YOU, M

  1. Hello and thank you for sharing this experience with us. I wish I was there as I love SPA environments. You are a very good writer and teacher.

    1. Wonderful Daphne, I think this might be the most beautiful comment ever! It touches me as all I ever wanted to do in life is to teach and create awareness. I would have LOVED to have you at the SPA session as I know you would have brought so many good questions and laughter to the table. Lots and lots of love, xx M

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