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Would you leave a comfortable finance career at GE to buy a beauty company? This guy did

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Ben Skeggs completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and upon finishing his Masters, he was lucky enough to be selected into a couple of General Electric’s leadership programs.

Skeggs subsequently worked in various finance roles all over the globe, from New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and Japan to the United States (New York, Connecticut and Wisconsin).

“It was not only a great experience but a steep learning curve too,” he told Anthill. “But ever since completing my business studies at university, I have always had an interest in going into my own business.”

Leaping out of the comfort zone

So mid-last year, Skeggs left General Electric to become the new owner of a beauty and medical company, Spectrum Science & Beauty, formally known as Wear Nothing.

“It was a tough decision to leave GE because I got great opportunities around the world, developed great friendships and learned from very experienced mentors,” he shared. “However, I saw great opportunity in the beauty and medical industry and particularly in Spectrum Science & Beauty, which has performed well despite turbulent economic conditions over the last few years.”

“If you look at history, people are continually seeking ways to look younger and feel better and the beauty industry is constantly adapting and innovating to keep up with modern perceptions of beauty, which makes it a very exciting industry to be in,” he explained.

The beauty of the beauty industry

Skeggs further disclosed that in his decision to purchase the company, he noticed that while other industries are struggling, beauty is one area where most of us are willing to continue spending.

“One area I see great growth potential for new salons is the male market. Gone are the days where a hairy chest was seen as cool. Young men are increasingly opting for the hairless body, so the opportunities for salons offering permanent hair reduction services are obvious,” he remarked.

“Furthermore, as machines become more effective in the anti-ageing field, I see opportunities everywhere for salons to offer clinically effective treatments to a growing market of ageing people that want to look their best,” he added.

The beauty industry has seen dramatic changes in the last six years, mainly due to the introduction of machines which until recently had been considered too expensive for salons. It is now growing by leaps and bounds, with projections claiming 8.5 per cent growth by this year.

What is the history of Spectrum Science & Beauty?

Spectrum Science & Beauty started out in the beauty business as the exclusive distributor of MagicTan in 2003 and it just so happened that their entry into the market coincided with the start of a revolution in the industry whereby a segment of the market moved away from services such as facials and waxing to more profitable services.

The company made the move from sunless tanning to more ‘heavy duty’ beauty equipment in 2006, with the launch of their Australian-designed IPL and laser machines their decision to manufacture in China gave them a crucial edge against their European and American competitors. It rapidly became one of the most popular IPL machines used by salons.

The company went from a period of relatively stagnant growth in sunless tanning to a dramatic expansion in business that saw it more than treble in size and staff numbers in the space of less than five years, along with a fivefold increase in customer numbers in the same five year period.

Skeggs has made several positive changes since taking over the company, one of which was merging the distribution business (Wear Nothing Medical & Beauty) and their equipment business (Spectrum) to create Spectrum Science & Beauty, a name change which has been made this month.

He also shared the dreams he has for the business saying, “In five years time I would like to see Wear Nothing/ Spectrum Science & Beauty regarded as the number one business in our industry for product quality, innovation and after sales service.”

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