Buro 24/7 Middle East Interview: Pedicure pioneer Margaret Dabbs
Buro 24/7 Middle East made a recent visit to the Sole Lounge at Level Shoe District to meet and interview its owner – medical pedicure pioneer, Margaret Dabbs, who runs clinics in various prestigious London locations; the Bulgari Spa, the Sole Spa at Liberty and her flagship location on New Cavendish Street in Marylebone Village. More recently, she has made the move to Dubai and landed where else but the world's largest luxury shoe store.
We enjoyed Sole Lounge's most luxurious pedicure treatment which comes complete with a 15 minute pure oxygen mask and massage chair, plus caught up with the woman on a mission to change the way we view our feet, one sole at a time...
Tell us about how you first started and how you ended up opening in Dubai?
Well I originally started in London and one of the head directors at Liberty department store kept walking past our clinic and one day he approached me and said we have a free space could you come up with a concept, and of course we did and that was one of our main starting points.
Today we actually have three of the original team here with us in Dubai. It took a while for us to get used to it here, but now I love it. I think that our concept is perfect for Dubai – the quality of our treatments (which are available for men as well) are all done on a professional level, attracting the best clientele. It's the same in London – our clientele range from politicians, musicians, footballers and socialites, so we regularly get people sitting in the chair tweeting about us. Graham Norton loves us, and we love him. He's such a hoot. We also have a lot of royalty coming in for treatments, once we opened here a local royal family who are longstanding clients from our salon in London, started coming to the Dubai branch, and are now interested in opening a Margaret Dabbs location in their city. We have had quite a few approaches from all around the world following our Dubai opening actually.
What's the story behind the medical pedicure?
So the concept purely came about as a treatment that a podiatrist would use. The key thing to note is that podiatrists can generally heal pain but they don't necessarily look at the beauty of the foot – and standard pedicures are not medical but they are what makes the foot look pretty. So I decided to combine the two together and call it the medical pedicure. I was doing this treatment first in my clinic on Harley Street in London and people loved it and would tell their friends about it, so it just grew organically.
All the products used during the treatment are made especially for different parts of the foot. They are very unique and loved by everyone. The scents we use for the products smell nothing like a foot product. Typically I would say people don't even use foot products. Firstly, most of them don't actually work and secondly they're too greasy. People always say to me I have tried everything and nothing works, but I always say please just try ours because all of them really work and smell great!
All of our products are formulated to do something specific in targeted areas. The foot cream stops the hard skin build up, the oil is for the cracks and the dehydration in the skin and the hydrogen cream which I formulated is for all problem areas. With the right ingredients you can fix the right things.
What makes this pedicure stand out from the rest?
I think even if you don't have problematic feet then you must try it at least once, the results last so much longer than a normal pedicure. Our methods always make the feet feel better, look better and smell better. Our feet carry us through our whole life we have to take care of them just like we do our face and other important parts of our body.
It's all about diagnosis as well, if there is an issue, we can try to solve it. We also do a lot of orthotics here. There's also the factor of diabetes – and there is a huge amount of diabetics here in the region so they really shouldn't be going to normal nail salons, they should only see podiatrists. We are all about natural beauty here.
Where are most of your customers from when they visit this salon in Dubai?
We get a lot of locals, especially from Qatar, and we also get a lot of expats. It's so funny they come to us in London and Dubai.
What would you say is the key thing people should do for the health of their feet?
I think the most important thing is to look after them by getting professional treatments. It's like a dental problem, when you have a problem with your teeth, you immediately go to the dentist, not leave it to swell up and get worse. I also think people should use the right tools and creams for their feet, I think that's really important.
Are the products you use only available in your salon?
We are really proud to be stocked online by Net-a-Porter. Of course visiting the salon is a great way to try the products with your treatment – and see what you want to take home, as well as take advice from our experts for what your feet need. I think our brand is really lovely and pure and I'm so happy that people enjoy it.