A Black Country entrepreneur has secured a £100m contract to supply beauty products and treatments to China, creating up to 3,500 jobs.
Deborah Mitchell, of Wolverhampton-based Heaven, has signed a 10-year distribution deal to supply 2,500 Chinese stores and salons, and included in the deal is the employment of at least one Heaven-trained therapist from the UK in each store.
To help facilitate the contract, Ms Mitchell is carrying out work on a £120,000 refurbishment of her Shifnal salon. The work includes a full upgrade to the salon and a new training facility, where the 3,500 qualified therapists will spend three months learning all about Heaven treatments and products before heading to the Far East.
Ms Mitchell opened her first store in Taiwan earlier this year, and has since added three more outlets there, as well as signing distribution deals in Japan, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong, though the China contract is the biggest to date.
Besides the Far East, Heaven has also recently taken on new distributors in Cyprus, Ireland and the Canaries.
Ms Mitchell said: “I have had reports my treatments are so popular on the Canaries that women are flying to the resorts especially to have Heaven treatments, from countries where they are not currently available, or where there is a waiting list.”
One of her most popular treatments is her Bee Venom Mask, which produces similar anti-aging effects to Botox, but is made from completely natural ingredients. It is used by a string of A-list celebrities, including Dannii Minogue, and most prominently, the Duchess of Cornwall.
Ms Mitchell is now recruiting therapists to train and send to the Far East, where they will work on a three-month rotational basis.
“All my students will need to have reached a certain level before they can train with me and I am aiming to take on about 3,500 in total,” she said.
Work on the Heaven salon in Shifnal is expected to be completed in mid-September. The three-storey building is being gutted and in addition to the training school there will also be upgrades for the treatment rooms and spa areas.
“The refurbishment is obviously an extensive project, but it was time to give the salon a new look, and the perfect time, given our plans to set up the training school,” she said.
“It is a considerable investment, but Shifnal is where Heaven began, and though our brand is now truly global, I still want the salon to be at the hub of what we do, and to truly reflect the quality of what Heaven is all about.”
Ms Mitchell has also recently moved her production base to new premises in Shifnal, which employs a further 22 staff.
Heaven already has around 50 outlets in South Africa, 45 in Dubai, and there are plans to move to the United States later this year.