I have a very special treat for you today--Ole Henriksen, a living legend in the world of beauty, has stopped by TrustYourStyle! It's actually going to be a two-part posting, with more on Monday about the world-famous Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa I just had the privilege of covering for Affluent Magazine.
I've been a fan of Ole's products and treatments long before I started writing about beauty, and could not believe my good fortune to strike up a conversation with him in line for a coffee at Sundance, only to find that I was speaking with one of my favorite beauty guru/icons. Please read on, I think you will fall in love with Ole (pronounced ooh-la), who in this interview, offers wonderful advice to anyone who runs their own business or is interested in becoming successful at what they do. I promise, Ole will inspire you!
mj: You've had an amazing career--did you always know that this was going to be your path in life? When did it click for you and you knew that this was what you wanted to do?
ole henriksen: I count my blessings every day, that I found a career that I feel even more passionate about today than when I started out. Had I not developed cystic acne in my youth, I would never have opted to seek out a career in skin care. An example that adversity and problems often pave the way for something extraordinary, which is exactly what happened for me. I became fascinated with skin and its amazing healing and transformational powers when treated correctly. At the time I was a show dancer in Indonesia, where I also received my first complexion treatments from my friend Lagita, who was educated as an esthetician in Japan. Shortly afterward I enrolled at The Christine Shaw Beauty College in London, where I studied face and body care, anatomy, cosmetic chemistry, make-up, electrolysis etc...Within days of starting my formal education I knew I had landed "In Skin Care Heaven" and I have never looked back.
mj: How has your career evolved over the years?
ole: There have been so many stages to my career over the years, and I think I purposely made it happen this way. I have never been afraid of change and newness, and if anything I crave it. That has been the foundation for how I have evolved my career and that of our company.
In 1975 I opened up the doors to Ole Henriksen of Denmark, on Camden Drive in Beverly Hills. I became known as the "Acne Expert" and the man that cooked all his formulations in his own kitchen and transported them to work on his bicycle. Barbra Streisand became my first celebrity client. My client Henry Jaffe, the producer of The Dinah Shore Show, decided that I needed to be brought to the attention of the American public. Henry put me on Dinah's Show where I did my skin magic with my kitchen formulations. My phones rang of the hook , with everyone wanting to book me and I also began a long career of doing literally hundreds of television shows.
In 1985 I published my first book for Macmillan, called Ole Henriksen's Seven Day Skin Care Program. The book featured my most beautiful client Nastassja Kinski on the cover, who in those days was an international superstar. Oprah featured me and my book on her show, and do I need to say more? The book sales that resulted and fan mail I received, demanded that I begin developing my own product range. That became the beginning of my mail order firm.
As a skin care expert I continuously created new treatments that had everyone talking,--including the media--that now began referring to me as The Skin Care Guru to The Stars. The newly launched ALLURE MAGAZINE did a beautiful feature story on me, focusing on how I treated the complexions of supermodels Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Karen Mulder. In those days I acted as my own PR agent and had fun generating media attention.
Itching to do something new, and groundbreaking, I built the Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa in 1997. I created a series of highly effectual Wet Room Treatments for the spa that unfolded like a tightly choreographed dance across the body. The whole concept of Wet Room Treatments was new to Hollywood and soon The Style Network produced a one hour Skin Care Special filmed at the spa. Charlize Theron, Cher, David Bowie, Iman, Mark Wahlberg, Renee Zellweger, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and many more to count made their way to Sunset Plaza.
I began developing even more products for my skin care range, and I decided to update my packaging, and make it modern looking. People went crazy for the new sleek look, which incorporated every vivid colour under the rainbow framed in defined squares,which was completely different than anything ever seen in the cosmetic business. Hip stores around the USA, like Fred Segal, Henri Bendel, and Harvey Nichols in London asked to carry the products. Today the brand is global, sold among others in elegant stores in Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Helsinki, Berlin and Moscow and this Spring, Shanghai.
Our biggest retail partner in The United States is Sephora, and the brand is in all their stores. In year 2007 I also began a very successful relationship with HSN, where I will be appearing on air 8 times this year. Finally, a new Ole Henriksen Face/Body - The Spa at Bluebird premiered on Kings Road in London in Nov. 2007.
Life is grand, I am living my dream, the best part being that I get to connect with fascinating people all over the world. And yes, running an international business does have it headaches, but they pass like a breeze, because I always look at the big picture. The best part about the headaches are the valuable lessons I always learn, and for those I am grateful.
mj: What do you feel your greatest strength is?
ole: I embrace everyone that I come in contact with, because I sincerely care about my fellow human beings. Everyone that I touch is treated like a VIP. I can't stand attitude and snobs.
mj: What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs starting out?
ole: Work hard and focused; treat your associates with great respect, listen to your inner voice, take time for peace and quiet--that is when some of the best ideas will evolve, don't be afraid of taking chances, think outside of the box for that is what will bring you to the next level of success, and don't forget to be grateful every day of your life.
mj: Could you tell us a little about your #1 TV show in Denmark?
ole: Denmark is where I was born and raised, in simple but loving surroundings in the countryside. My brand is huge in Denmark, in both spa and retail, propelled by the many Wellness Seminars I have given throughout the nation. Additionally I have written two bestselling books, one for women and one for men. In Denmark they now refer to me in loving terms as the Cream King.
After many successful TV show appearances in Denmark they kept offering me my own show, and last season it resulted in the premiere of Ole Henriksen's Hollywood. In each show I am visited in Hollywood by a famous Danish man, from professional soccer player Stig Toefting (Denmark's answer to David Beckham), to dramatic actor Peter Gantzler and all the way down the line to the Minister of Defense, Soeren Gade. I taught some of the men relaxation techniques to help control stress in their life, others needed fitness training to get in better shape, others needed to learn how to better control their temper. So I became their lifestyle guru which I interjected with a lot of crazy stuff, like riding Harley Davidson's, competitive rope climbing, visiting a shooting range etc. Many scenes unfolded like a Laurel and Hardy movie between us men, because there is a bit of a clown in me. Next week we start filming the second season here in Los Angeles, where I will work with non-celebrities from Denmark.
mj: What is the most challenging part about working in the field of beauty and what is your favorite part of the job?
ole: The big challenge is to remain on top of your game, creating new exciting spa treatments and products with cutting edge ingredients that delivers results. But that is exactly what I love to do, it has always been my favourite hobby...But now that the company has become an international player, there is definitely pressure to grow the product sales every year, and blessedly we have delivered the numbers the last many years.
My most favourite part of the job is all the traveling I get to do all over the world in the capacity of Goodwill Ambassador for the brand. It keeps me in contact with the customers and I still do lots of one-on-one Skin Analyses and product training on those trips. I love people and I feel honored when they seek my advice.
Here are A FEW THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT OLE HENRIKSEN:
THE FOUR MOST STYLISH PEOPLE WHO INFLUENCED ME:
1. My former client David Bowie for his hip way of dressing--his wonderful youthful spirit--and finally his humanitarian work. I want to be David Bowie in my next life.
2. Fred Astaire for teaching me the importance of fluid and graceful body language.
3. Our spa's beloved client, Renee Zellweger for showing my staff and myself, that being a superstar doesn't stop you from being kind and gracious to everyone in your path.
4. My live in partner of 23 years, Laurence Roberts for his endless creativity with new and brilliant names for our products, stunning design ideas for the Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa on Sunset Blvd., and his endless sense of humour that has me laughing every day of my life.
FOUR OF MY FAVORITE DESIGNERS:
1. ETRO for shirts. I love the bright colours.
2. Armani is my all time favourite designer and hero in the world of fashion. The man is a creative genius and an example of how age is a mere number. Every season he tops himself.
3. Dolce and Garbana because they have infused mens fashion with sex appeal. I love their pants, belts and jackets.
4. For leather goods, PRADA is it. The style and quality is unbeatable.
FOUR JOBS I HAVE HAD IN MY LIFE:
1. My first job was as Milk Delivery boy in my village. I was 10 years of age at the time.
2. Working on the promotional team for Helena Rubinstein in London after graduation from The Christine Shaw Beauty College.
3. "Fabulous Faces" in San Francisco, my first job in The United States.
4. Elizabeth Arden's Red Door promotional team in California.
FOUR MOVIES I WOULD WATCH OVER AND OVER (AND DO):
1. CHICAGO the musical.
2. CABARET the musical.
4. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING.
FOUR PLACES WHERE I HAVE LIVED:
1. Jarkata, Indonesia.
4. New York City.
FOUR TV SHOWS I LOVE TO WATCH:
I don't watch any TV ever, with one exception, when I am in Florida I love to watch HSN prior to doing my shows with Sephora, and soon my own show.
FOUR PLACES I HAVE BEEN ON VACATION IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS:
1. Capri, Italy.
2. Paris, France.
3. St. Tropez, France.
4. Rome, Italy.
FOUR WEBSITES I VISIT DAILY (Or at least Weekly):
1. Ole Henriksen.com
4. My Space
FOUR OF MY FAVORITE FOODS:
2. Almond Butter.
4. Soft boiled eggs.
FOUR PLACES I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT NOW:
Thank you Ole, it was an honor to have you stop by!