From an early age, I took interest in holistic approaches to health and well-being. My journey began when I moved to Austria at the age of 19 and was introduced to an aesthetician. I had acne when I was a teenager and was told to watch my diet and find out what foods I reacted to. It was at this point that I began to learn that internal care was just as important as external care. I delved into the health and wellness industry after I married and had two children. I took many courses, the first being about kneippism. After learning about kneippism, I was fortunate to have been able to travel to different kneippism facilities in Germany and Austria. My studies on kneippism led me to eventually manufacture hot and cold facial therapy devices known as the Golden Spoons, which I introduced to the United States market in 1994. Then in 1996, I was introduced to Dr. Horst Spiller who explained his philosophy of developing products that mimic the skin’s own mechanisms to promote naturally healthy skin. His formulations fit right into my concept. Nature is our best teacher! I have learned so much through it all and feel very fortunate to have had such a wild, wonderful journey up to now. I have made many mistakes throughout my professional journey, but I have no regrets. It may be cliché to say, but I would not be where I am today without those bad decisions and experiences. A great example is when my business was just beginning to bloom… then 9/11 happened. A significant number of our clients were struggling to survive – some even had to completely close their doors. I was also faced with the possibility of having to close our doors, but instead I made the decision to move our 4,000 square foot facility into a small house to ride it out. Our “warehouse” was in the garage and we set up all of the work stations in the living room. That experience was humbling and taught me that there is always a solution – if you are willing to think outside the box. It also taught me that it is the products and people that make our business what it is, not some fancy building. The same is true for a spa. People come to a particular spa for quality service and therapists, a caring and balanced atmosphere, and savvy business planning. The size of the spa makes no difference. What separates the best establishments from the rest is true sincerity in their practice and hiring staff that share the same values.
Here’s more of our chat with Andrea:
DERMASCOPE: What credentials do you currently hold?
Andrea: “Skin Care Practitioner” and “Body Therapist,” (1993), Derma Scope Institute in Munich, Germany; “Herbal Essence and Cosmo Therapy,” (1996), Bio-Kosmetik Dr. Gumbel, Gunsbach, France; and “Color Puncture Therapy,” (1997), Peter Mandel, Karlsruhe, Germany.
DERMASCOPE: Which of these roles taught you the most or had the most impact on you and how?
Andrea: Becoming the distributor for Dr. Spiller Pure Skin Care Solutions has had the most impact on me, both personally and professionally. I had the great privilege of working with and learning from Dr. Spiller himself, and it shaped the face of my company today. He taught me not only about formulations and respecting the integrity of the skin, but also how to run a company that works as a whole, hiring caring individuals who represent the company’s ideals, and valuing every person within the company. A positive work environment automatically reflects in customer care and creates a snowball effect.
DERMASCOPE: What characteristics or skills set you apart from your peers and enabled you to be successful so quickly?
Andrea: My holistic education background has allowed me to be a resource to clients and peers. I am often able to share with them information that they have never heard before.
DERMASCOPE: What adaptations have you made over the years to stay relevant in the industry?
Andrea: I constantly educate myself on developments in the industry and I am proud to say that Dr. Spiller is continually on the forefront of the latest research, formulating and refining products accordingly. However, I realized long ago that chasing every trend in an attempt to stay relevant can end up leading you on a lot of wild goose chases. For example, 10 years ago we lost many potential clients because we would not allow them to sell our products online. Now that just about anything can be bought and sold online, we have clients that seek us out because we do not allow our products to be sold online. Also, I had many offers to pick up aggressive peels for distribution before anybody in the industry was talking about the importance of protecting the lipid barrier and while I could have made a quick buck doing so, I decided instead to stay true to the philosophies that I founded this company on. Slow and steady wins the race!
DERMASCOPE: What has surprised you most during your professional journey?
Andrea: What has surprised me the most is how truly giving and caring the people in this industry are.
DERMASCOPE: What are the greatest pressures, strains, or anxieties in the work?
Andrea: It is a lot of pressure knowing that the livelihoods of so many people rest on the decisions I make every day. My employees are like family and I always want to do right by them. Outside of that, the only thing that causes me anxiety in the work place is the rare instances of dishonesty I have encountered. I lose sleep at night when I learn that someone has been dishonest with me for one reason or another.
DERMASCOPE: How did you decide that your current career is the right one for you?
Andrea: It was not so much a decision as it was continually taking the next step in the direction I felt drawn to, and here I am. Feeling energized at the end of each day instead of drained reminds me that I ended up in the right place.
DERMASCOPE: How and where do you find inspiration?
Andrea: I find inspiration interacting with people and nature.
DERMASCOPE: What do you see are upcoming trends in the industry?
Andrea: Upcoming trends I see are the incorporation of holistic methods into the treatment of the skin and the industry rising up to meet higher standards for organic products.
DERMASCOPE: Is there a particular moment or procedure where most professionals go wrong? What could they alter for a better result?
Andrea: Professionals go wrong when they do not respect the integrity of the skin. We cannot continually tear down the skin; we must also build it back up. There is a time and a place for more invasive treatments, but they should be used judiciously and they absolutely must be followed up with products that help repair the lipid barrier.
DERMASCOPE: Is there a particular ingredient that you feel is a “super” ingredient? If so, why?
Andrea: This is a very difficult question because there are so many “super” ingredients, it all depends on what you want to achieve. One ingredient is good for one person but not good for another. That being said, I think silk peptides are one of the most underrated anti-aging ingredients today. They got overshadowed by newer peptides that came on the market shortly after, but in my experience I have found silk peptide products to give superior results over time.
DERMASCOPE: Do you have a signature treatment or technique that your clients love – a classic of sorts? What makes it so loved?
Andrea: Our “Celltresor and Silk” signature facial has that “wow” factor for which we are all looking. Hyaluronic acid and nourishing silk protein peptides hydrate and plump the skin while a peptide-based fleece mask smoothes fine lines and wrinkles. The effect is immediate and visible; the skin just glows afterwards!
DERMASCOPE: What tool(s) would your treatment room (or business) not be complete without and why?
Andrea: My treatment room would not be complete without computers. It is amazing to think back to the beginning when our computers were mainly just for writing letters and running our accounting program. Now we rely on them for literally every aspect of business.
DERMASCOPE: What is the one piece of advice you give to every client you see?
Andrea: I try to pass on the importance of the “energy” that you give off to those around you. This is especially important when performing a treatment as this energy is passed along to the client.
DERMASCOPE: Do you or your company support any particular causes or charitable organizations?
Andrea: If so, who and why? My company supports Oncology Estheticsâ USA. We partner with them to promote awareness in the aesthetic industry of the special skin care needs of individuals undergoing treatment for cancer. b. We also support our local Rotary Club and do charitable programs within our community.
DERMASCOPE: You wear so many hats in this industry. What is your secret to keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey?
Andrea: They say if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life and that is very true. This business is my passion, so I never feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of it. I stay balanced by spending time outside of work with my family who live nearby.
DERMASCOPE: What are your hobbies when not working?
Andrea: I love to cook for my family and friends. I especially love sharing traditional Austrian dishes with them. I also enjoy doing all kinds of arts and crafts.
DERMASCOPE: Do you have a company or personal motto by which you live?
Andrea: Do unto others as you would have them do to you!
DERMASCOPE: Can you share something that most people would not know about you?
Andrea: My father was stationed in Nicaragua when I was born. My mother traveled to Atlanta for my birth, but Nicaragua was my home for the first four years of my life and Spanish was my first language.
DERMASCOPE: Other than your products, what are the greatest assets and strengths that your company offers?
Andrea: We are caring, personal, and accessible to our clients. I know most of them personally and they can call up anytime and get me on the phone directly. We make exceptions to all of our “rules” and honor special requests. If a client calls in an order at the last minute that they need ASAP, it is all hands on deck to get it out that day. Customer care is our top priority.