Macquarie Medi Spa – still propelling forward
It is dizzying to try and keep track of all the awards Macquarie Medi Spa have won and keep winning year after year. But for owner Karla McDiarmid, it is not just about collecting accolades or good marketing, she takes the award process seriously and sees them a chance to improve and further grow her thriving business.
“Definitely,” said Karla. “They make you ask things like: What are your plans for the future? What are you doing for the environment? What do you give back to the community? If you don't have an answer for those questions you don’t know where your gaps are in your business. So I always use it to reflect on what I can improve on for the next year and that’s what we do —you've got to be constantly working on it.”
And Karla is certainly not afraid of hard work. It is not uncommon to find her putting in 15-hour days between her Bathurst and Orange Salons. Even early on, when she first set off for beauty college after leaving school at Year 10, she would make the three-hour journey back to Bathurst to work whenever she wasn’t in class.
“It was a very long year. I used to travel backwards and forwards on public transport, I did three days a week in Sydney and four days a week at a salon in Bathurst,” said Karla.
Her hard work did not go unnoticed and upon finishing her study, Karla was offered a job at the Observatory Hotel in Sydney. And that role soon led to a job with skin care giant Dermalogica.
Just three years later, at 20 years of age, Karla seized the opportunity to step out on her own.
“The original salon that I did my year 10 work experience with at Bathurst was then for sale. So, I bought the salon that I originally started with, it’s a bit of a crazy story!”
Since taking over Macquarie Medi Spa, Karla has not stopped to rest on her laurels and is constantly striving for improvement.
“In that time, we've rebranded about three time, gutted the shop in Bathurst did everything again from scratch, changed the colours, changed the logos several times,” she said.
“In those early days we won Bathurst Business of the Year twice! For a beauty salon to win that twice in a town like Bathurst is just incredible, but that's what helped me keep propelling the business forward.”
In 2017, Macquarie Medi Spa Bathurst was named the Global Winner for Beauty Salon of the Year at the World Luxury Spa Award — a big moment for Karla and her business as it was the push she needed to open her second salon in Orange.
“That was absolutely incredible! And that was when I thought, ‘Oh my gosh this is an amazing business!’” said Karla.
“And then Myer was closing and we were getting Orange clients driving all that way to us for facials and we were posting products to Orange every second or third days, so it just became a no-brainer— the demand was there!”
And since expanding to Orange, Macquarie Medi Spa has grown month by month and now 20 staff are employed across Karla’s two salons.
“And we’re fully booked! We just had a fabulous end of financial year; it was on par with Christmas week that's how crazy it was!”
The awards have also kept coming for Macquarie Medi Spa. Karla has just returned from the 2019 World Luxury Spa Awards in St Petersburg, Russia, where she was awarded Best Beauty Spa in Oceania and Best Spa Director for Australia!
That same evening (a few time zones apart), Karla also took out the 2019 Orange Business Award for Experienced Business Leader of the Year!
And later next month, Macquarie Medi Spa are finalists in four categories at the Australian Beauty Industry Awards (Best Customer Care, Best Team Training, Best Team of the Year, and Best Spa Director).
Karla said she is incredibly proud of her team and believes constantly reassessing the way they do business and working to improve on what they do has been the key to their success.
“We just keep training; our staff are always training — every day,” said Karla. “I'm constantly attending seminars and educating myself, just constantly learning, looking at new product to bring into the salon, keeping ahead of the competition and being at the forefront of the industry.
“We are always working on providing 5-Star service and world-class treatments, but it is a constant work in progress, we never stop improving.”