Career Path: Anna Gedman

Founder and managing director, Beauty Solutions

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Anna Gedman.

Background

I was born and grew up in the North West of England. After finishing school, I decided to study for a Bachelor of Science at Huddersfield University. I have always known that I have had a strong passion for retail so after that, I went on to do a Post Graduate in Retail Management at Manchester Metropolitan and then another Post Graduate in Fashion Buying and merchandising at the London College of Fashion.

Big Break

I was lucky enough to be offered a Graduate Programme straight from my studies with B&Q, a famous retail store chain across the UK. This taught me valuable business skills and I learned all about profit and loss, shrinkage and essential people management skills. After this, I managed to move into a category I absolutely adored as I then managed four beauty stores in Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 4. I then went on to join the beauty buying team at World Duty Free. I was absolutely ecstatic as I had exposure to prestigious brands such as Chanel, Dior, Tom Ford and Jo Malone.

Mentors

Professionally, I look up to Richard Branson and Alan Sugar. Charlotte Tilbury is also a huge inspiration to me as she has managed to create a bestselling brand that competes with longstanding industry favourites. I am also fortunate enough to meet numerous brand founders and owners who I have huge amounts of respect and admiration for, including Maria Hatzistefanis and Donna Benton.

Challenges

Founding and managing a business by myself as a young woman is definitely a challenge. When I first decided to set up my business, the market was very strong. Unfortunately, I saw a decline in business across the market very early on and it also proved very difficult for me to get clear and sound advice on things such as legal matters and legislation. I kept a strong focus and was soon able to hire a strong team of beauty and sales experts who continue to help me grow my business, which in turn, gives me the opportunity to continue to work with the best influential beauty brands on the market.

Highlights

I would say that one of my biggest achievements has been being able to buy an office and set up and design the Beauty Solutions headquarters. That was definitely a memorable experience for me. I have also been fortunate enough to be able to launch a second company and successfully diversify into different product and market segments. Nothing beats seeing the brands you represent displayed in the top retailers across the region.

Best Advice

Times will most probably get tough when you venture into owning your business. Just remember to never give up and don’t accept first answers (if they are not the ones you are looking for!). Your persistence will pay off. Surround yourself with a group of similar business-minded people and colleagues as these are the people you will be able to trust and bounce ideas off of.

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