Feet are probably one of the most neglected body parts when it comes to beauty, but as legendary podiatrist and professional foot beautifier Margaret Dabbs knows, the state of your feet can say a lot about your health and wellness. From government ministers to A-list actresses, Margaret and her expert team treat all manner of clients, going beyond the realms of the pedicure to take you from Hobbiton to Happy Feet . But how did she come to specialise in such an unusual sector of the industry and how does she set herself apart from the rest? Dip your toe in this interview to find...
Why did you decide to specialise in foot health?
I have no idea why I woke up one day and decided to study podiatry. I had been working very closely with a surgeon doing clinical and operating theatre work, and once qualified I found that the knowledge I had attained during this period of time was invaluable to me in that I saw the body as a whole and treated it as such.
When was your big break?
Once I qualified I opened my own clinic and performed the sort of treatment that I felt I wanted – I knew how I liked my feet to look and feel and I set about pioneering a treatment that delivered these results. The rest was word of mouth. I remember receiving a telephone call asking me if I minded someone writing about their treatment experience and it all went from there. It was the Daily Telegraph if I recall!
What does an average day look like for you (if there ever is one?!)
There is no such day as an average day and it can include such things as new product development, internal staff meetings, journalist appointments and meeting hoteliers or retailers. I also travel quite a lot now so invariably I am on email.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the variety of my job, and the fact that I can really change people’s lives and how they feel about themselves.
Are there any aspects of your job that you find challenging?
I have an awful lot to do, and the days and weeks go really quickly – that is what I find most challenging.
What's the most common question you get asked by clients?
People always ask me how on earth I thought of making beauty products for feet or setting up clinics, or even using oxygen in foot treatments. I think it must be a girl thing – all these things just occur to me. One of the things I am often heard to say is, “I have a really good idea” to which one of my long-term staff members says “ ...oh no, not another one!”.
Tell me about your team 'me'. Who do you rely on to keep you happy, healthy and sane?
I have a great team of staff – they’re really brilliant and many of them have been with me from the start. I am really active, have two beautiful children and a wonderful partner. I do a lot of charity ventures and I also have some very close friends – all of these people make me throw my head back and laugh. I work very hard, but I am also a great believer in having a good party and enjoying myself with my “me” team.
How is your industry changing?
Previously feet were not part of the beauty arena and I have been credited with putting them firmly into this space. Feet go through the ageing process in exactly the same way as the face and a big change has been the acceptance of my foot products which fuse both health and beauty, being both treatment remedies as well as as luxurious, beautifying and anti-ageing.