Plane trips a great time for reflection. As I write this I’m on the first leg of my journey home after a week in London – LHR to DXB. It was a busy week. Lots of meetings. Lots of discussions. But one has stood out. One made a real impact – I think on both of us. My meeting with Lee Duke.
The great thing about regularly publishing content and sharing it across social networks is when people react and respond to it in a positive way. It’s precisely because of these responses that I decided to do the Tomorrow Spa Meet Ups whenever I travel. When I announced the date for the London Meet up, one of my recent ‘Twitter Friends’, said he’d love to come but he was working that day so he couldn’t make it. His job? Looking after kids in residential care. A job which is ‘close to my heart and gives me great satisfaction’, he said.
He said the only day he could make it to London was Wednesday. As luck would have it, that was the busiest day of my week. But here was a guy who genuinely saw some value in chatting with me and he was doing important work. The least I could do was find an hour in my day for him. I found a 2-3 hour window on Wednesday. He said he’d make it work. Our rendezvous was set. Until I had to re-schedule and change the venue. It didn’t matter. He still made it work.
Lee was my third meeting for the day. All at different venues around town. I thought I’d had a busy morning. But then I asked Lee where he’d come from. Plymouth. It had taken him over 5 hours to get to London for our meeting. He also had to make the same journey back afterward to get there in time to start his 48 hr shift. And remember, this is a guy doing important work. Kinda put my busy day in perspective.
I was fascinated by this crazy guy before me. He had so much energy. He was so excited. Not just about meeting me – which he had mentioned at least 4 times in the first 10 minutes. Even being in London was exciting to him. This was a guy who personified positivity. A guy who was truly grateful. He was working with underprivileged kids. He was also working on his side hustle, selling bath soaps, salts and beauty products. I meet lots of interesting people on my travels. But Lee was different. There was something special about this guy.
Lee wasn’t here to sell me his product. He just wanted to show me what he was doing. To get my thoughts on it. He had made notes on articles I’d written, videos I’d posted. Some of the ideas, thoughts, and concepts I had shared over the past year and a half had resonated with him. He wanted to meet me and thank me in person and he made a big effort to do that. To me, this all seemed a bit insane. Incredibly humbling, but insane. Honestly, I had never expected any of my content to make a big impact on anyone. I had just hoped that a few people might consume it, give a little nod of acknowledgment perhaps, then move on. To have this kind of impact on just one person, especially one who was doing so much good for others, left a lump in my throat. Really.
One of the possible business models I have suggested for the hotel spas of tomorrow in my article, Retail Spa of Tomorrow, is Retail First. Lee loved that one because was applying this concept to his business in what I think is a very clever way.
Savon Paradis is Lee’s side hustle. His company produces natural and organic bath products. Nothing particularly special about that though, right. There’s more. The inspiration for his company came from losing a family member to cancer. Around this time, one day in the shower he read the label on the shampoo bottle and saw an ingredient that he couldn’t even pronounce. To him, it sounded like some crazy chemical created in a science laboratory – and that’s exactly what it was. He figured that couldn’t be healthy. Curious to learn more, he did some research. It wasn’t. That particular ingredient had even been linked to cancer. Now it’s personal. Lee was compelled to create his own healthy alternative. He knew nothing about it. But he was determined. He could figure it out. And he did. Impressive stuff.
Next Lee told me why Retail Spa of Tomorrow helped him. It kinda validated his business model. Here’s how Savon Paradis works. Lee makes little gift sets with soaps, bath salts, bath bombs, etc. Natural and Organic ingredients wherever possible. Only the good stuff. When you buy a pack, you get a nice letter inside inviting you to go down to the local spa for a FREE service or treatment. If you buy the $50 set, you get a free mani/pedi. Buy the $100 set and you get a free massage. You get the idea. Smart, right? But here’s where the genius of Lee’s model really comes in…the spa gets full price for their service. Lee pays them. Through some clever negotiations and smart production processes and A LOT of hard work, Lee can produce his $50 set for $5. The price of the mani/pedi is $30. So even after Lee pays the spa, he can still make a $15 profit per set.
The customer wins as they’ve bought a quality product at a fair price AND been rewarded with a FREE treatment/service.
The spa wins as they get another sale – and at full price. There are lots of group buying and discount options for spas to get more business, but very few that bring them full paying customers.
Savon Paradis wins as they are still making a tidy profit per unit.
And just when you thought this story and this business couldn’t get any better, guess what Lee is doing with his profits? Pouring it back into the underprivileged kids he’s looking after. Bloody hell! Could this guy possibly BE a better human being?!?! And it’s not just about using the profits to buy them stuff. Lee’s mission is to help them learn about business skills and life skills so they can work their way out of their situation.
I really hope I’ve managed to convey the true humility, kindness, genius, integrity, and compassion of this man Lee Duke. I’m not sure a few hundred words here ever could. I’ve tried my best. At the end of this article, you will find some links to find out more about Lee Duke and Savon Paradis.
I hereby pledge that I will do whatever I can to help Lee Duke and Savon Paradis to grow the business and provide even more support for the kids he cares for. Not only because it’s a noble cause but because it is a smart business.
I know there are some of you out there reading this who have incredible skills in various areas. You all have your own priorities. But if you have heard this story AND you see merit in what Lee is doing AND you think you could help him, please contact me directly and let’s see what we can do.
I would love to be able to create a mini Task Force of sorts where Lee has access to knowledge, advice, and connections that can help him move his mission forward.
This is not a call for money – though I’m sure if anyone has some to throw in, it could be put to good use – it’s a call for support.
If I have given you any value from anything I have shared over the years, it would mean the world to me if you could do something to bring some value to Lee.
Twitter – @SavonParadis
Website – www.savonparadis.com