Gill Meets Margaret Dabbs

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What was the inspiration that drove you to launch Margaret Dabbs, London?

I was working as a Podiatrist in my own Clinic in Central London and I felt the need to treat feet the way I wanted mine to be treated. I wanted them to feel good, but also to look good, and I set about creating treatments that did just that! It really wasn’t anything conscious or pre-meditated and was just an organic development. The response was unbelievable as I got busier and busier all from word of mouth and then people started writing about their experience; it was quite surreal.

Who would you say has been a big influence on your life and why?

My father was a big influence in my life. Growing up I was one of four children and we always believed we could achieve whatever we wanted to achieve. I remember I was 13 when the first London Marathon took place and I remember telling him that one day I would run it. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t achieve that. The trouble is I didn’t stop at one!

What is your life philosophy?

You get out of life what you put in. I truly believe you will get back what you give, and in my view this is for all aspects of life and not just to be applied in business.

How do your treatments differ from other foot clinics?

People who don’t know the Margaret Dabbs treatments may be fooled into thinking we are just cosmetic – well I am pleased that yes we do worry about the cosmetics but first and foremost we are foot specialists, and we specialise in the health and beauty of the feet. There is nothing we don’t do medically. Whether it be orthotics for gait related issues, nail surgery or foot joint mobilisation with manipulation and we are really proud to combine traditional medicine with holistic therapies which include O2 therapy and acupuncture for feet.

What inspired you to formulate your own products?

I was working as a Podiatrist in my own Clinic in the medical district in central London and found it frustrating that I was unable to find products that fused both the health and beauty of the feet for use in my own Clinic. Beauty products that were available were not focused on the health aspects, and health and treatment related products I felt barely addressed the health issues and never were pleasant to use.

Why Emu Oil?

Emu oil is a completely natural and organic by-product which has amazing healing benefits, and indeed, in its native Australia, the indigenous aborigines have been using the oil for years for its healing powers. It is a fatty acid that is readily accepted into the skin, with the same irritant value as water when applied to the skin, it is known to reduce bone and joint inflammation, is naturally antibacterial, non-pore clogging and naturally contains vitamins A and E; associated with skin renewal and repair and is an amazing emollient. It is safe to use on diabetics and absolutely perfect for the hydration and repair of the skin and joints of the feet.

How do feet age?

Not many people know this. I am constantly confronted by people whose first statement is …”my feet never used to look like this” but of course they didn’t. Feet go through the ageing process in exactly the same way as the face. The subcutaneous fat layer is lost, the skin thins, the muscle tone is lost and the sweat glands reduce in effectiveness…. It’s no wonder therefore that the feet need attention to keep them looking and feeling good. The result is secondary skin disturbances from the gait and soft tissue related changes, such as callus and plantar corns, with the subcutaneous tissue loss comes the expression “I felt like I was walking on stones” and the skin is much drier resulting in cracks in the skin and the need for rehydration. The circulatory system of a female is very different to a man, hence the complaining of cold feet, this is because the blood supply of a female is centered around the reproductive organs and that leaves the extremities in short supply hence the cold hands and feet!

What steps can be taken to slow the aging process of the feet

A little bit of attention goes a long way! Gait related issues can be reduced with the prescription of bespoke orthotics, worn inside the shoes, and will help have a positive effect on joint pains of the ankles, knees and back. Regular foot treatments can help treat and then prevent many soft tissue disturbances and the use of the Margaret Dabbs range of foot products will help keep infections of the skin away as well as keeping the feet well nourished, prevent hard skin build up and help to keep the joints mobile.

What are your plans for the remainder of 2013

2013 is going to be a very busy year. In May we are celebrating World Foot Health Awareness Month, and I will be travelling to Canada where the products have recently launched. We have trips planned to New York and LA when we will also be introducing and launching the new Foot Hygiene cream. I am also considering another charity trek – this time a bike ride, but this may have to wait until next year.

How would you describe your legacy?

If you look after your feet they will look after you! I believe that I have fused health and beauty and put feet into the beauty arena, and I’ve encouraged people who have a loathing for their feet to care for them and love them.

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