Claudia Fallah of www.claudiafallah.co.uk is a Skincare Specialist for traumatised, stressed or sensitive skin with her own established natural sensitive skincare range and celebrity client list. Claudia and I share something in that we both have had to establish our own personal brands in countries that are not our own: no small feat as I’m sure you’ll agree.
I asked Claudia about her own journey to creating Claudia Fallah: the business and business woman, in London.
“I began training in Germany as a facialist and nutritionist, but decided to move from Germany to London in the 1990s. My parents thought I was completely crazy trying to “make it” in a foreign country not knowing anyone there, or speaking the language properly. My desire to move to London was far greater than focusing on how difficult the journey could turn out to be.
My dad said that if I chose to walk this path, I would be on my own! Although I thought ‘wow, that’s pretty strong’ but there wasn’t anything that could stop me now that I had made my decision.
Pack your courage and optimism, along with your skills
So I packed my bags, emptied my savings account and took off! London here I come with only £300 in my pocket. I had decided to have the courage and optimism to take the first step and see where my destiny would guide me on my way. Besides this, I have had a great education and knowledge, which I had gained in my full time three-year apprenticeship in the hair and beauty industry, working at the best salon in Germany.
Well, two years after I arrived in London in June 1997, I started to set up my own clinic in Marylebone. By 1998 I had been titled by the media as “the beauty guru” and “London’s best kept secret”.
Find a Niche
I developed my own range of products for people with sensitive/ traumatised skin. It soon became apparent that my clients really loved my products, and I started working with top cosmetic surgery clinics as well as celebrities wanting to get their skin camera ready.
When I saw my first product on the shelf, I was very proud of myself in what I had achieved in a foreign country. My parents are very proud of me now after they have seen what I have achieved on my own and my dad even tells me now that he was the one that suggested I should move to London. I couldn’t believe my ears and just laughed!
Keep your values close to you
My grandmother always told me if you work hard you will gain success. In order to finance myself, I worked very hard every day seeing as many clients as I was able to take on. The money I made, I then reinvested into my products. I therefore never needed to take out a loan or get myself in debt.
Business etiquette is a very important word for me. I must say, that etiquette in Germany is very important and people judge you on it very strongly, from my experience. You cannot afford a mistake with your etiquette in Germany. However, keep in mind I have been living in London for over 20 years and I am viewing my past experience and my perception.
When I came over to London at the beginning I enjoyed the fact that people were more laid back about etiquette. Later on, I started finding it very annoying and I always say “this would never have happened in Germany”. Also I must say living in London with so many different nationalities, everyone has a different upbringing and perception what etiquette means to them might be different to my perception. Etiquette also means to me, having respect for someone else and especially of their time.
Build on your heritage
I believe being German has helped build my brand. It’s a great asset! Everyone is always interested to know where I am from and it’s a great way to start a conversation.
My intense training and education in Germany has been vital. Knowledge is power! Being extremely organised and efficient with good time keeping was installed in me from a very young age. Also during my training I have always worked with natural/organic skincare products and treatments. Bear in mind this was 30 years ago and I was the first therapist in the UK to bring Herbal Skin Peeling from Germany to the UK. It has influenced the creation of the Claudia Fallah skincare brand.
Education is very strong in Germany and for every trade; there is a minimum of 3 years full time apprenticeship followed by a final exam at the end. If you fail your exam, you have a chance to repeat it again in 6 months’ time, but until you have passed you are unable to work in your industry.
There are also personal things about Germany that I cling onto: my Miele equipment in my apartment, my time keeping, honesty and organisation. It’s important to always be efficient too. My mum sends me a parcel every 3 months with all the things that I can’t get here.
I also celebrate Christmas on 24th December every year like in Germany.
Create your own journey
I have been brought up in a healthy and active environment by my parents. It’s all about taking good care of yourself, from drinking enough water to eating the right food and exercising. My parents are quite extreme and run marathons and would never touch any food that ‘isn’t right’ for them. In the past, I used to run 10K everyday but I have reduced my exercise down since I believe it’s all about balance.
I must say it has not been an easy journey (to put it lightly), more like a rocky road where with each step I have taken, I got more stones in my shoes metaphorically speaking. But it’s the constant feedback I am receiving that gives me the confidence that I am doing the right thing and fulfilling my purpose in life.”
You can learn more about Claudia, her specialized services and product range at www.claudiafallah.co.uk