Everyone knows the name Leighton Denny, synonymous with the nail and beauty industry and his star-studded client list including Kate Moss, Penelope Cruz and Adele, but did you know he’s a former Forklift Truck driver from Bradford who rose to success creating a multi-million pound empire?
Denny has just won ‘Entrepreneur of the Year 2019’ in the in the British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) Awards 2019, sponsored by Dermalogica UK, and has been announced as an official ambassador for the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) to help raise awareness and improve access to diagnosis and support for young people with dyslexia.
In 2015, Leighton, who was told he would ‘end up in the gutter’ by a teacher, was awarded an MBE by the Queen for his services to business. Leighton’s message to young dyslexics is, “I know you may have problems with reading and writing and find it hard to keep up in class. This does not mean you are ‘stupid’ – you just think in a more creative way. Find things that interest you and pursue them with all your passion. This passion is what will keep you going when things get tough – and life is always full of challenges even if you’re not dyslexic.” Talking about his appointment as a British Dyslexia Association Ambassador, Leighton added, “Growing up in Yorkshire in the ‘80s, dyslexia just wasn’t recognised. It meant I completely disengaged with school and if it hadn’t been for my dad finding me a home tutor, I never would have achieved what I have.”
40 percent of self-made millionaires are dyslexic, and Sir Richard Branson announced at the Made By Dyslexia Global Summit that the Virgin Group will no longer ask job candidates about their exam results.
Branson started the charity, Made By Dyslexia, to campaign for a greater awareness of the neurological disorder, which affects around one in 10 people’s ability to learn and process information, so negatively affects their exam results.
But Branson credits dyslexia with giving him the imagination to become an entrepreneur and start the Virgin Group, which now employs over 70,000 people – one of the skills of “dyslexic thinking” is entrepreneurism. Charles Schwab, Ted Turner, Sir James Dyson and the late Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad are other dyslexic billionaire entrepreneurs, and this is sure to resonate with many beauty industry workers who run their own businesses, whether salon-based or freelance.
Leighton has now sold enough of his Light & Dark fragrance range to fill an Olympic Swimming Pool, enough of his iconic Crystal Nail Files to wrap around the world… twice! And, so much of his award-winning Sun Believable tanning range that he could have kept the whole of Scotland glowing with a weekly self-tan application for 3 years!
Leighton is an industry veteran with over 60 industry awards and four award-winning brands in his beauty empire – look out for a guest blog coming soon!