Pulse August 2017 - Page 58

SUCCESSSTORIES INSPIRING TALES OF STARTUPS, GROWTH AND OVERCOMING HARDSHIPS Sue Harmsworth: The Ultimate Entrepreneur one holistic spa location. Today, that may seem straightforward, but in CEO ESPA International 1970s Toronto, it was a radical idea. o be a successful entrepreneur, you “That era in the 70s have to have more than just a molded my thinking going “can-do” attitude. You have to forward,” Harmsworth be brave, you have to have passion BY remembers. “My mother coming out of your eyeballs, and KELLY was a pediatric nurse and you have to be willing to put every- HEITZ my grandmother was an thing you have on the line for your dream. herbalist, so I had that mixture “Entrepreneurs tend to see the world and its of science and nature from an opportunities differently,” says Sue Harmsworth, early age. When I began learning steadfast entrepreneur, CEO of ESPA from the Eastern European therapists in ISPA International and this year’s ISPA Visionary Toronto, I knew that the skills and training they VISIONARY Award recipient. had was what people were looking for out of their AWARD Harmsworth credits her success with spa experience.” RECIPIENT ESPA to a lifetime of influence in all the right After selling her Toronto day spa to move back areas. As a child, she watched her father build to Europe, she ran a thalassotherapy center in a construction business from scratch after World France, then a health farm in the U.K. and branched out War II. His drive and tenacity showed her what it took to into designing spas for a major cruise line. Each step in her survive in business, and she still carries those lessons with her career allowed her the opportunity to gain the right kind of today. knowledge she needed to eventually open her own consultancy “I was born right after the war. We all had to start from business. nothing, but my father definitely passed that entrepreneurial In the early 80s, it was difficult to find natural, high-end spirit down to me. From him I learned that we are totally products that worked with the holistic treatments Harmsworth accountable for ourselves and our actions. I learned how to was creating. So, what does an entrepreneur do when she can’t own my responsibilities, which is what it takes to be a leader.” find what she needs? She creates it herself. Harmsworth’s first entrepreneurial endeavor was opening a “I had a lot of product experience from each step in my day spa in Toronto. At the time, spas dealt mostly in beauty, career path, so the goal was to bring it all together under one but after meeting and learning from the concentrated brand,” says Harmsworth. “Essentially, what I wanted wasn’t population of Eastern European therapists in Toronto who all available or only came in industrial quantities. You could get studied medicine before learning their craft, she had a vision to clinical aromatherapy in little brown bottles, or mud in great big combine health with beauty and natural with scientific into buckets, but nothing usable for everyday skincare. It wasn’t Sue Harmsworth n T 56 PULSE ■ August 2017