Interviews: Louisa Ashforth and Adrian Ashton

Business Live 10 May 2019How salon boss launched skincare range; succession planning and impact measurement tips from award winning “neo-liberal stormtrooper” of social enterprise

Louisa Ashforth has run a beauty salon for 17 years. She’s seen her clients being bombarded by miraculous claims from the beauty industry. Four years ago she became so fed-up of the hype around skincare products, she decided to launch her own range. It’s now stocked in the UK and internationally.

How did Louisa do it? Get the podcast of my latest radio show below.

Also on the show: Award-winning social enterprise consultant Adrian Ashton has been described as a “thorn in the side” of national organisations, a “neo-liberal stormtrooper” and a “social media whore.”

Listen to his advice about how to embed values in your start-up so they are locked-in, even if you leave; succession planning; social media and measuring your social impact and value.

Here’s the podcast, which you can also access in iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify. Full timings are below.


  • 0 – 1:24 introductions,
  • 1:24 Louisa Ashforth started in the beauty industry aged 22 and by 24 owned her own salon. 4 years ago she launched her LA Skincare range of products – why?
  • 3:10 how did Louisa get her skincare range stocked across the UK and used by celebrities?
  • 6:10 to whom are Louisa’s products marketed to and used by?
  • 7:57 the products are vegan, fair-trade, not tested on animals and paraben free. Why is this important?
  • 10:35 listeners may be used to hearing pseudo-scientific terms and “too good to be true” claims from the beauty industry. How does Louisa demonstrate her products do what she says they do?
  • 13:25 how much did it cost to develop each of the 6 products in the range?
  • 15:00 Louisa’s aspirations to help other salon owners,
  • 16:15 how systems and processes have helped Louisa to develop her salon business,
  • 16:50 the biggest challenges in developing the LA Skincare range and how Louisa addressed them,
  • 18:00 social media has been especially effective for Louisa. She describes which channels have generated sales,
  • 19:00 how to get in touch and wrapping up with Louisa,
  • 19:19 introduction to Adrian Ashton,
  • 19:51 Adrian is a “thorn in the side” of national bodies, an award-winning social enterprise consultant, and a LinkedIn addict,
  • 21:05 LinkedIn’s new feature, reaction emojis. Is this a positive development?
  • 24:00 “I’m a social media whore,” says Adrian. Why does he use it? How does social media work for him? Does he generate work through it?
  • 26:50 Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook: key differences in how they work,
  • 29:40 Pubs: a catalyst for community activity,
  • 30:10 if you’re setting up a business or social enterprise when should you start thinking about succession planning?
  • 32:05 what is “founder syndrome” and what are the risks to your business from it?
  • 33:20 thinking through what will happen when you leave the venture you’ve started – what must you consider?
  • 35:30 power, control, decision-making, and money. What needs to be locked-in? How?
  • 36:35 amending your governing documents to embed values to endure for the long-term.
  • 38:57 creating a “notional sweat-equity” mechanism into a social enterprise – why and how?
  • 40:30 why grants are the riskiest type of funding and what the “clawback clause” is.
  • 42:40 how to measure impact,
  • 43:45 one of the earliest examples of a set of financial accounts,
  • 44:30 we’ve only been doing social accounting for 150 years or so, and a jamboree has sprung up around it,
  • 46:30 with no agreed global definitions around impact, it’s all a bit like Alice in Wonderland,
  • 48:50 start from “why” when it comes to measurement (and so much else),
  • 49:30 Adrian publishes his own social value and impact report. Why does he do it, what does he measure, and what actions does it lead to?
  • 51:30 accountability helps to avoid bad habits; benchmarking is a key element,
  • 53:20 where are the priorities for Adrian to improve?
  • 54:45 Adrian’s call to action to Social Enterprise UK,
  • 55:20 getting in touch with Adrian.

What next:

  • Enjoyed the show? Please leave a review or rating on iTunes or Stitcher. Subscribe for new podcasts too.
  • Louisa Ashforth’s LA Skincare range of products and her hair and beauty salon.
  • Adrian Ashton’s website, the pdf of his social impact report and his blog.
  • Sheffield Live’s website is here.
  • The Business Live radio show is broadcast live every Friday on Sheffield Live radio and available as a podcast in iTunes here.
  • To get new podcasts and practical advice in an accessible, entertaining format, join my free newsletter email list (if you’re not already signed up). Just pop your details in below and look out for a confirmation email.
Your email address is secure and NEVER shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.