Ruth Butaumocho : Gender Profile
She has graced the local and international road tracks as car racer of repute, leaving her mark as a black woman who dared to be different. In business, Laureen Adam has become an international icon, with a series of accolades flowing her way. She has earned a position on the global scene of women who are determined to break the glass ceiling in the entrepreneurial world.Laureen is the owner of Amara’s Health Spa, one of the country’s renowned wellness centres, which offers an array of top to toe health and beauty treatments.
The services are offered in a beautiful picturesque, environment, using the latest treatment methods and equipment.
“I like to succeed in anything that I do no matter how small it is,” said Laureen in an interview recently.
For someone who started off with nothing – having lost both her parents whilst she was only 18 – in just eight years, Laureen has managed to build a reputation and a flourishing business in personal health.
Situated in the leafy suburb of Borrowdale, a stone’s throw away from Sam Levy’s Village, the state of the art wellness centre boasts of a spa, restaurant and salon, all under one roof.
Her passion to succeed against all odds, has defined her parameters as a doyenne in personal health, not only in Zimbabwe but across the globe.
She recently clinched an award at the internationally coveted 2016 World Luxury Spa Awards in Switzerland for her health spa’s outstanding achievement in service delivery after Amara Spa was voted by guests and industry consultants.
Only last year, she was the recipient of the Megafest Female Entrepreneur of the year in recognition of her consistency and achievements in business.
Dermalogica Living Skin magazine based in California, United States also featured her in their publication her as one of the women to watch in the world.
Laureen also left an indelible mark in car racing, becoming known on the international motor rally racing circuit as Zimbabwe’s first black woman and fourth in Africa to compete in the sport.
Riding on such a fertile crescent, Laureen concedes that all her achievements did not come on a silver platter but were as a result of hard work and determination to succeed.
Laureen recalls that when she started her health spa, the business was met with so much resistance, even from financial institutions, who were hesitant to fund the business project despite the possibilities of growth in that sector, which looked very promising.
“I remember I approached several banks, negotiating for the installation of POS and swipe machines, payment systems that were ideal for the clientele that I was catering for that time, but I was turned down,” she said.
Being a woman and struggling to find her footing in business largely viewed as elitist further compounded her woes.
Convinced that her business idea had the potential to offer a unique service to Zimbabweans, Laureen did not despair.
Fulfilling her dream to start a viable business meant that she had to dig deeper in her pocket to fund the project.
A former ZBC employee who was part of the team that produced hilarious billboard “Timmy naBonzo”, “Sportnet” and “Coca Cola on the Beat” among others, Laureen immediately embarked on her project.
The project progressed well, giving birth to a state of the art luxurious place which boasted of a gourmet restaurant, hair salon and children’s play centre.
Using all her resources, Laureen proceeded to set up a world class spa that has become a household name locally and globally for offering top notch services to the discerning clientele keen to look good while caring for their health.
Amara Health Spa boasts of state of the art equipment housed in a cool ambiance that is therapeutic.
Using natural healing methods, Laureen has been able to grow a loyal clientele that is satisfied with her services.
She initially hired a Chinese doctor to heal through the arts of acupuncture, cupping and Chinese medicines.
“These methods, which have been used successfully in Asia for thousands of years, worked wonders for people with all types of ailments.
“But unfortunately, the local health authorities had no category to place this line of treatment and could not offer me a practising license,” she explains.
This resulted in her having to do away with some of the treatments and adjust what she could offer her clients.
Despite the setback, Laureen has not been deterred.
Instead she is now focusing on growing the knowledge and experience of her staff through international training, by sending them around the world to master natural healing arts in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and China.
“I have been able to create a wellness centre that has been well received and most of our clients are generally impressed with the service that we give.
“While many might want to regard the service that we offer as a luxury, it is actually the opposite.
“It is a necessity that is important in dealing with stress-related problems. It is heartening to note that a lot of people now realize the importance of the services that we offer.
She added that the service that Amara Health Spar offers is ideal for people in senior management and individuals who holds stressful positions in different spectrums.
A philanthropist who is currently paying fees for more than 100 rural school children, Laureen believes that despite some challenges that may befell any start-up, entrepreneurs should persevere.
“As an entrepreneur you should realise that a start-up may fail due to a number of reasons. You should not be discouraged and be overcome by fear but you will have to start again.
“Fear is what limits people’s abilities and dreams,” she said.
Buoyed by her recent achievements and her track record in business, Laureen now wants to spread her business tentacles globally.