Beauty editor Jayne Beaumont speaks to beauty entrepreneur Elena Lavagni about her Belgravia salon Neville’s and the beauty treatments on offer.
Think of an energetic talented beautiful woman who is an all encompassing manager and communicator and Elena Lavagni is one of this rare breed.
As the Managing Director of Neville’s, Belgravia’s established go-to hair and beauty salon, she is always tuned-in to the new developments in her industry for the benefit of Neville’s loyal clientele.
Born and raised in a small Italian town, Elena was eager to travel and discover the world. Eventually she settled in London and gained a degree in psychology which she puts to use daily in her business life.
Her work in Neville’s began in 2000 managing the business and six hairdressers for its successful owner. With a vision to change and expand the business, she worked tirelessly over the following years building a team of more than seventy people including hairdressers, make-up artists and beauty therapists as well as a marketing and PR department.
With a natural elegance and charm, Elena’s vision was to create a lifestyle destination where women of all ages can call home and have all their beauty needs taken care of under one roof. After much dedication and hard work, this is exactly what she has now achieved.
According to Elena, people’s time has become more pressurised in recent years so there is a need for shorter but just as effective salon visits. She is always scouting the world for new products and treatments for the hair, face and body that take less time without compromising the optimum effects.
Her favourite facial is the Venus Diamond Polar treatment. It takes just 45 minutes using radio frequency and magnets and covers the face and neck. The specific eye treatment takes another 15 minutes and an optional mask adds 15 minutes more. It’s non-invasive tightens and tones the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Elena says, “my face feels more sculpted and defined straight away and it’s pain-free!”
Her essential skin product is a concentrated revitalising Omega 3 cream called Matis. Elena says, “It helps balance my hormones and is super-soft and kind to my skin”. After the Matis revitalising cream, she uses the Matis re-densifying concentrate. “It tones and plumps mature skin so it’s great for me”.
For her hair, her favourite product is the Oribe Texturiser Spray. She says, “It’s a must-have for creating volume for yourself at home”.
Out of the many foundations she is able to try, Elena has selected the Charlotte Tilbury make-up as her current preference. As she is allergic to lots of products, she finds this perfect for her skin.
To help keep her body in shape, she uses a Venus Legacy treatment. It provides similar technology to the Diamond Polar Facial so has the effect of lifting and tightening the skin. It’s also particularly good for those hard-to-remove love handles and the stubborn cellulite found on the hips and thighs. Of course, just lying on a treatment table does not attain a super shape and Elena is well aware of that so finds time to work with a Personal Trainer and also takes regular Pilates classes. As many working women know, when you have a fulltime job and a family, it’s difficult to fit in time for yourself. She manages a few sessions in a week,
Her industry moves quickly and is demanding. She says, “Contrary to opinion, the Beauty industry is male-dominated and is highly competitive”. But clearly she thrives on the challenges. Her character drives her ‘to get things done’.
Two years ago, she decided to expand Neville’s Beauty treatment areas. They now account for 25% of the business! Last year, she opened a Neville’s salon for the summer months in Mykonos to the joy of her London clients. It was a great success. It will be repeated this year along with two other summer venues yet to be announced.
Elena says, “The Fashion weeks are an exciting yet crazy diversion from the main salon”. Along with some of her hairdressers and make-up artists she often attends them, helping out behind the scenes. Last year, a Paris fashion week fell just before her 8-year-old son’s birthday and because of Channel Tunnel delays she missed it. So this year, she’s not going to risk that happening. Family comes first in her books!
Perhaps it’s her Italian heritage but she considers everyone who works at Neville’s as part of her family. ‘The new recruits are like my children coming into my home. They might be new to London and young so I feel we should look after them”. They often stay quite a while.
The favourite part of her work is seeing the reaction of her staff to their success whether it be after a photo shoot, a fashion show or creating a perfect new style for a client. She says she really gets great pleasure from the results of nurturing their talent and seeing them grow professionally. She emphasises, “Neville’s is a team. I am one part of that team and any success is our success. I need my team for everything to work well and I’m very proud of what we do”.
Elena Lavagni is a force of joy and talent who has created a happy and welcoming house in the heart of Belgravia that happens to be a hair and beauty salon with a world-class reputation. Quite an accomplishment!
Neville’s, 5 Pont Street, Belgravia, London SW1X 9E
For more information visit www.nevillehairandbeauty.net