Lesley Clarke is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nicky Clarke worldwide which includes the world famous Nicky Clarke salons, market leading haircare ranges and Nicky Clarke electrical.
Lesley arrived into the hair world in the late eighties, through her relationship with Nicky Clarke, (at the time, an up-and-coming young hairdresser and international session stylist). It was during the 80′s while Lesley was also managing a successful fashion label under her single name – Lesley Gale (which sold in Liberty, Harvey Nichols and Joseph) that Lesley began steering Nicky’s career steadily in the right direction.
With Lesley’s support and contacts, Nicky’s career as a top session stylist flourished, and Lesley continued to juggle her fashion business, lecturing at fashion colleges and the business of motherhood (Harrison was born in 1986 shortly followed by Tellisa in 1988).
Nicky’s career was very much on the ascendant during this period and in 1990 Lesley convinced him that the time was right to open their own Mayfair salon. From the outset Nicky regarded Lesley as “1st in command”. The salon doors opened in May 1991 to an unstoppable flourish of celebrities and royalty – the Nicky Clarke Empire was launched! Nicky was responsible for the creative image, whilst Lesley drove the business forward.
Lesley quickly recognised that Nicky’s success should be consolidated by the launch of a “signature” haircare range. Her interest in aromatherapy and expertise in formulations alongside Nicky’s hair expertise formed the perfect relationship …. Hairomatherapy was born. Designed to provide “affordable luxury”, and the latest hair care technology, Hairomatherapy (and Colour Therapy) have since become household names.
In 1996 Lesley and Nicky ended their personal relationship but continue as inseparable business partners as well as best friends.
Since 2000, Lesley has driven the expansion of the salon business, bringing the famous Nicky Clarke name to cities across the UK; opening three salons outside of London with Manchester in 2001, Birmingham in 2005 and Leeds in 2007.
Nicky says: “Without Lesley none of my journey would have even began… let alone succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. It was Lesley’s idea to open our prestigious Mayfair salon – complete with a celebrity and Royal clientele. “Together we launched the Nicky Clarke signature haircare products. “Her sound business acumen, drive and strong marketing savvy, combined with her push to promote me personally in the popular press with TV and media appearances have led to massive public awareness. My debt to her is immense, and I am really pleased to be able to acknowledge it here”.
Lesley is enthusiastic about the future of the company and its many projects.
“The business is continuing to develop and there promises to be even more exciting times ahead. We have some extremely talented people at Nicky Clarke – many who have trained under Nicky’s watchful eye.”
“My belief in the brand, and our ability to succeed, was, and is, almost fanatical”, states Lesley.
“The way forward is clear. I want to turn Nicky Clarke into a global luxury brand. It has been an exciting journey so far, but we’ve really only just begun!”
The next step in the Nicky Clarke story is the development of a new signature product range which Lesley plans to launch in early 2011.