Hailing a black cab on a gloomy day in London, Deborah Mitchell is polished in a dusty pink trench. Her blonde lengths whip about in the wind, framing her high cheekbones. Clutching a non-disclosure agreement, I quickly clamber in behind her, signing the paper as we rattle along towards Covent Garden. The location, a private sanctuary, is kept secret for the benefit of her celebrity and royal clients, among them Victoria Beckham and Kylie Minogue. We exit the car to quickly disappear behind a nondescript door on a street filled with people. No one bats an eyelid. Mitchell, founder of Heaven Skincare, has built an empire in the world of beauty. She is the patent owner of bee venom abeetoxin, and her products are renowned for offering technological breakthroughs while using organic ingredients.
At the age of 18, following studies in beauty therapy, Mitchell worked at several salons in the north of England before going solo. Her struggles with acne inspired her to reach out to people with the same issues. “I wanted to help people look better, younger, and overcome whatever conditions they had,” she begins. While working on her own formulas, she met Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor’s wife, Tracy. It would be her first step into the world of celebrity and it wasn’t long before she started treating the band, too.
Mitchell’s work within the realms of better aging has been the driving factor behind the success of Heaven Skincare. “I have discovered two different ways of releasing collagen: bee venom and peptide,” she says. The first discovery was propelled by her beekeeper sister, who taught her about the inner workings of the insects and their hives. From here, her Bee Venom products were born, incorporating abeetoxin. The formula is often called a natural alternative to Botox, and also includes Manuka honey, a natural form of botulinum, and organic oils.
Is it safe to apply venom to your face? Mitchell nods and advocates that her mask be applied at home, three times a week. The white cream is worked into the skin with fingers and becomes clear when absorbed. It tingles gently when applied – similar to that of a tiny prick – but it doesn’t hurt. You can either apply a thin layer without rinsing it off, or a thick layer rinsed after 20 minutes. Skin is instantly tightened and brighter and the resulting complexion is matte, offering an optimal base for makeup.
Mitchell explains how it works: “When you’re stung by a bee, the muscles relax to stop the venom from traveling. The relaxed skin then sends for helpers, which are collagen and elastin. They aid in repairing the skin, which in turn saves it from aging.” Manuka honey helps to soothe and heal the dermis. Even people allergic to bees can use the formula without side effects. Mitchell works with organic hives and ensures all the bee venom is collected ethically. “The bees don’t die through stinging. They sting a pane of glass, stimulating the release of venom. The stinger stays intact.” She also donates a portion of the profits to bee charities that highlight their plight for survival.
Her latest innovation is prism light defiance technology, which she discovered while developing a sunscreen. It works with the skin’s natural peptides and defends the dermis against the full light spectrum and free radicals, including the blue light emitted by smartphones and computer screens. Mitchell’s Age Defiance Cream is another icon of Heaven Skincare. Beckham apparently swears by it for its ability to plump up the skin and diminish the appearance of wrinkles through the use of vitamins B and E, and hyaluronic acid. Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Simon Cowell, Jack Nicholson, and Robert Downey Jr also look to Heaven Skincare for its award-winning formulas. “I get pinch-me moments quite regularly,” says Mitchell about her celebrity clientele.
A savvy businesswoman, Mitchell has obtained several accolades throughout her career. “I won 27 Stevie Awards in one year,” she says of the premier business awards. “I think 34 in total.” On one occasion, Mitchell even beat out Google. She now sits on the judging panel, inspiring other women in business. As the Heaven Skincare line expands, so does her business. A defining moment for Mitchell was opening her office in Marina Plaza in Dubai in 2015. “I looked out over the marina and all I thought was, wow.” This year will see her opening an office in Shanghai and launching five new Heaven stores in Japan.
Mitchell is staying true to her brand, despite having been approached by some of the world’s biggest beauty companies to sell. Instead, she focuses on quality and exclusivity. This transfers to various spas around the world, where her treatments have created another foundation for her growing empire. The Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah is one of her particular favorites. “We train the staff really well,” she explains of its success.
As with every business, it hasn’t all been easy. “It’s been a long journey with various ups and downs,” she says. “When difficulty arises, you think it’s terrible, but it always works out to be for the best reason.” It is this drive and attitude that have made Heaven Skincare the success story it is today – and her unique formulas that do what they say on the bottle guarantee her future growth. And who knows, come May 19, Mitchell might be behind a certain royal glow…
Heaven by Deborah Micthell facials are available at the Waldorf Astoria Spa Ras Al Khaimah