Glo Day Spa & Salon creator shares her glorious Bali life with us
One of the best parts about our job is the beautiful people we get to meet, and the incredible stories they have to share. Today’s supplier spotlight is a success story filled with passion, hard work and even a little bit of romance, as we chat to Georgia Sutherland from Glo Day Spa & Salon in Bali.
If you’ve ever considered a career change or dreamt about relocating to Bali, Georgia’s story might just inspire you to pack up your bags and take the leap! With a background in hotel management, Georgia was posted to Bali for what she initially thought would be a brief 2-year stint – but 21 years later, she still calls this island community her home.
Working her way up the hotel ranks, Georgia’s career took a 360 degree turn after being offered a management position in a new spa management company Mandara Spa on the island – and a brand new passion and business venture was born. Now owning and operating 4 incredibly successful Glo’s and employing over 55 staff (lovingly describing them as her Glo Family), it’s inspiring to see how Georgia’s motivation and dedication to her work has helped her build a dream business from the ground up.
As well as discovering a new-found passion for the beauty and wellness industry, Georgia’s decision to relocate to Bali changed her life in more ways than one, after meeting her husband – another member of the small expat community. After marrying on the island, Georgia and her hubby (who she names as her number one supporter) now have 3 gorgeous kids and are blessed to balance career, family and lifestyle in beautiful Bali.
If you’ve been keeping up to date with our real weddings here on the directory, you may have already seen the amazing work of Georgia and her talented Glo team. Priding themselves on keeping up with the latest beauty trends and wellness services, the Glo team ‘Glam Squad’ have helped hundreds of brides look and feel their absolute best. It’s a job they don’t take lightly, and it’s obvious how much Georgia and her team truly love what they do.
We loved chatting to Georgia about her experience as an Australian relocating to Bali, how she was able to create her dream lifestyle, and the creation and evolution of Glo. Read more from our interview below, as Georgia shares her key words of advice for others looking to relocate to Bali, her most memorable moments from her business journey, and some bridal trends and tips to look out for!
1. What brought you to Bali?
After graduating from hotel management school in NSW, Australia, my first posting was to Bali. I worked for two years at The Legian which was then a GHM hotel and initially was employed to do the pre-opening of the second two towers of The Legian – an all-suite boutique hotel, which back then was surrounded by rice paddy fields! I remember I used to judge how fast the year was going by, from growth and harvesting of the rice fields! There was nothing down Jalan Petitinget pretty much other than The Legian and La Luciola – which seemed like it was out in the sticks!
2. How long have you lived in Bali? Do you visit home often?
I am an Australian who has been lucky to call Bali my island home for over 21 years. I arrived in July of 2006 thinking that I would do a year or two here and then leave. I had no idea then how I would fall in love with this island, the people and the culture and still be here 21 years later. I met my husband here in Bali during the first month I was on the island. There was a very small expat community back. We married on the island and have three beautiful children. So, yes, we head home about 2-3 times a year to see family and friends; stock up on vegemite and other Aussie essentials and so the kids have some sense of belonging to Australia too! They truly love this island and think they are Balinese!
3. How did you start your career in Beauty?
I literally fell into the Spa & Beauty industry! After two years working in the hotel industry, the Indonesian Crisis Monetary happened in 1998 and many people were retrenched as the exchange rate to the US dollar went from about 2700 to 17,000. During that time, I also found my new passion – when I was approached by Mandara Spa and offered the position of Operations Manager. I remember telling my family and friends in Australia that I was joining this spa business – and their reply was similar to “Are you installing or building spas?” In Australia in the late 90’s, spas were considered Jacuzzis! The late 90’s was also the beginning of the Asian spa boom and Bali was certainly one of the pioneers of this boom. I have now been working passionately with spas, salons and wellness globally for over 19 years and have been involved in operation and opening of over 60 spas worldwide.
4. How was Glo day Spa created?
Indonesia has a wonderful history of hair and beauty, but 21 years ago there was very little available to Bali residents, other than a couple of little day spas offering hair cream baths and manicures or pedicures and waxing – which did not adhere to any level of hygiene or sanitation. I opened Glo Seminyak 12 years ago in 2005. I was actually focusing on my spa consulting business, however, realised I could not be the only resident on the island who was wanting an improved level of hygiene, sanitation and professional services using superior products. Glo Seminyak was actually the first city styled day spa on the island and initially just doing beauty services. Our guests loved Glo and we slowly over time expanded to offer spa services and then a full service hair salon. Glo Sanur opened a few years later in January 2011. Glo Sandy Bay opened July 2012. And Glo Canggu opened this year – May 2017. Plus my incredible team have done the training for sooooo many spas on the island!
5. How important is securing the right team members for your business?
I have an incredible team of staff – who we call our Glo family. Glo would not be the success it is today without them. We are a team of 55 staff and still 8 of the team have been with me since the beginning. We have a very low turnover of staff which I am very proud of. I love my team and I know they all love working at Glo and this shows in their dedication, professionalism and passion in what they do. When I started Glo 12 years ago, no one was married or had their own family. Now, there are soooo many Glo babies!
6. What is the most important thing you’ve learnt about running a business in Bali?
Pretty simply – You get what you put in! Plus you have to be passionate about what you do. I love what I do and do not find it “work”. I love the industry I am in. I may not always, be the best Glo representative as I don’t always find the time to use the services that I provide but absolutely love what I do, my team and what we have created!
7. Who is the most influential person you’ve met along your journey and why?
I would have to say my husband as he has always believed in me and my abilities. He has been my sounding board and biggest supporter over the years. The week before I opened Glo Seminyak 12 years ago, I had a serious panic attack. Wondering if I had made the wrong decision investing into a business in Bali. I kept thinking of the saying “Build it and they will come” but I was panicking thinking what happens if they don’t come. It was my husband who helped calm me down and who knew that it would work. It has been his faith in me that has allowed me to take the gambles that I have over the years. As I have travelled for my passion (work) he has looked after the kids and been the best father and never said no but do it. I guess the other influential person in my life was my father. My dad had the best work ethic that I know – he never took a sick day in his career. He loved what he did and took so much pride. My father was never late for any meeting. He was a resort hotel architect and had his own business. We worked together on so many spa projects which I loved! I missed him very dearly when I was bringing Glo Canggu to life. The first spa I had to do without him.
8. If you could change one thing about your journey what would it be?
I don’t think there is anything that I would change…. I truly feel very blessed. I have an incredible team and friends and I have an incredible family. Having my own business has allowed me to enjoy a fantastic career, show my children that you can do anything – just have a dream and I am so lucky to say that Bali is my home. Living here has allowed me to have it all – career, family and life.
9. If you could offer any advice to someone about moving to Bali to start a business what would it be?
Take your time to set up the company correctly and get the right advice. Look after your team. Listen to your guests. Be passionate about what you do. Make training a priority and keep up with the trends of the industry you are in. I am passionate about training and keeping up with the trends. We have an incredible group of talented personnel in our Creative Team lead by two Australian stylists and make up artists. We bring in trainers every 6 months from Australia to refresh skills and keep up with the latest trends in hair, make up, beauty, nails etc.
10. Can you share your most memorable moment working with Bali Weddings?
Wow there are so many….. I have loved being involved with so many weddings in Bali and knowing that the work done by our Glam Squad is in so many photo albums around the world. I am very lucky that the Glo team are as passionate about what they do and their work, as I am. We love doing weddings, and make sure that our brides and their entourage are always thrilled. We make sure we communicate with our brides, and always allow for enough time so that we are not rushed, and the day is on time. We do highly recommend a trial of hair and make up with the bride before the wedding, so that the bride can relax and has the confidence to know that how she envisions her look to be, will be a reality. We also recommend that the bride has a refreshing facial the day before. This is to ensure the skin on her face is a beautiful smooth canvas to work on. We have a number of tricks of the trade and recommendations that we share with our brides too to ensure the day is simply, just perfect.
11. What have the bridal trends been like this year so far in terms of look?
There has been quite a bohemian trend this year with long loose curls and soft little flowers in the hair or loose plaits. With regards to make up, the latest trend is soft dewy make up. There is a trend for very subtle make up – like you are wearing now and allowing your natural beauty to shine through with glowing skin, lightly flushed cheeks, fresh pink lips. However, in contrast, we have brides who wish for dramatic make up with Smokey eyes. The dewy look is taking over with glowing skin not shiny skin. Strong, bold eyebrows have made a comeback and brown terracotta shades are popular for eye makeup. Braids are still big this wedding season, they are loose, side swept and textured. Hair styles are all about free-flowing locks and undone up-dos.
12. Any future plans you can let us in on?
We are just going to enjoy this for now….. We love making everybody happy at Glo! For Vanity & Sanity is our slogan and I think that fits perfectly. But yes, we have plans for 2018! Just too early to say!
See more from the Glo Team ‘Glam Squad’ below…