Shannon Esau was raised in the professional aesthetic industry –– inspired and mentored by her mother, Rhonda Allison, founder and CEO of the globally recognized brand, Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals. Today, Esau serves as the director of education and sales for the company, and in her 17-plus years in the industry, she has become widely respected for her devotion to furthering the education of skin care professionals, empowering them to remain at the forefront of their careers.
How did you decide that skin care was the right industry for you?
I grew up in the industry. In the early days, I used to help at my mom’s day spa and saw the impact she was making in the lives of her clients by helping them achieve healthy skin –– they always left feeling better and more confident. When my mom launched Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals, I then saw the impact she was making in the careers of aesthetic professionals. I was hooked –– not only in how the right ingredients and techniques could affect change in the skin, but also how, through education, skin care professionals could really advance their careers. I dedicated myself to this path more than 17 years ago and haven’t looked back since.
What do you see as an upcoming trend in the industry?
Consumers have come to expect more pure, effective ingredients and results from their skincare products. They’re savvier than ever about what they’re putting in their bodies and on their skin. They want to be knowledgeable about ingredients and how they impact the skin. This presents a wonderful opportunity for aesthetic professionals to really become that trusted, go-to resource for their clients.
A secondary trend we’re seeing currently is the rising incidence of acne among people of all age groups. It will become increasingly important for skincare professionals to understand how to treat acne skin and restore skin back to health through the right ingredients and treatments, and mastering the art of extractions.
What is your biggest hope for the industry going forward?
One of the main things we work to instill is for aesthetic professionals to become the directors of their own careers. We’re constantly advocating for advanced education and for professionals to keep their practice sharp through continuous learning. Education will be the only way to keep our profession advancing and to raise the bar on the level of standards.
Why do you think people are loyal to certain brands?
Brand loyalty comes from delivering on the promises made and serving a deeper purpose. When you operate from an altruistic foundation of serving people first –– and that’s all people, from your customers to your employees and partners –– it has a ripple effect that’s felt by all who interact with the brand. We believe you can truly affect change in the skin with the right ingredients and techniques, and make a difference in people’s lives – professionally and personally. From this belief, we work hard to stay on the leading edge of next generation ingredients and to equip professionals with the knowledge they need to better serve their clients and ultimately advance their careers.
What advice do you have for someone planning to start a career in this field?
Believe in yourself and never lose passion for your craft. Keep it on the forefront of your mind: you can make a difference and transform skin. Commit to ongoing education to not only deliver the best possible results to your clients, but to enlighten them by transferring your knowledge. Be proud of the positive changes you are facilitating for others. This is an incredibly complex field and those who maintain curiosity and drive will always find success.
Which honor or achievement are you most proud of? Have you won any awards?
We have an outstanding Rhonda Allison team of professionals who have helped us reach new echelons of growth and achieve new milestones. For me, personally, I’m most honored to have opened the RA Education Center in Colorado; and what we’ve been able to do in that facility in the few short years has been extremely rewarding.
How do you approach the unknown?
In our company, we embrace opportunities for growth – and much of what happens when we are facing something unknown is exactly that. Sometimes, we are forced to discover new solutions or challenge the status quo. I believe it is important to seek out wisdom and as much knowledge as possible when faced with the fear of the unknown. I also feel it is key to keep my intentions pure and my heart open as this will only lead to positive change and new endeavors.
What’s the best way to keep your eye on future results?
Start with the end in mind. When you have that vision of the end result, you’ll know what success looks like along the way and you’ll be able to overcome challenges and obstacles with greater strength.
How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making?
We always operate from a place of compassion and caring, and I believe when you operate from a people-first mentality good decisions will follow. I don’t like to check my emotions at the door but do intentionally take a breath before making decisions to ensure a place of respect and thoughtfulness, and that I’m keeping the bigger picture in mind.
What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed?
I love making a difference in people’s lives. From our educators, to our clients, to their customers, it’s a dream come true to know my work is positively impacting so many people each day. One of the quotes I love is “We all make a difference, you just have to decide what type of difference you want to make.” I want to make a difference that is positive, caring and brings value to the people I have the privilege interacting with.
How do you give credit where credit is due?
Everyone has different motivations and ways they like to receive praise. So, I try to acknowledge in individual ways. Sometimes sending private message of appreciation and thanks goes a long way. But the primary recognition, acknowledging their good work, is through pay increases, bonuses, and fun activities throughout the year.
What is your number one priority?
Educating as many skin care professionals as possible about the importance of quality ingredients, understanding the skin and how the right technique will make all the difference in transforming skin. Also, continuing to educate and empower our staff to bring the highest level of support and success to every interaction they have.
When is breaking the rules okay?
In many ways, innovation and being on the cutting edge is “rule-breaking.” When we challenge the way it’s always been done and introduce new ideas, we help keep the entire industry moving forward. When you challenge the status quo for the betterment of the whole, I believe breaking the rules is necessary.
What values are you committed to?
Rhonda Allison Skin Care has always been committed to three main values: providing aesthetic professionals opportunities to advance their careers; innovating advanced cosmeceuticals to transform the skin; and bringing awareness to consumers through education.
What do you do to live a balanced life?
We are strong believers in work/life balance at Rhonda Allison. I do keep busy, however, we offer the entire team a regular four-day work week. This allows us time with family and friends, and time to rejuvenate. For me, time with my family, church, and pilates keeps me balanced and focused.
Who has influenced you the most?
Of course, my mom, Rhonda Allison. I have watched her commitment to the aesthetics industry for years and have witnessed how this has changed so many lives. She has faced many challenges and has continued to rise above them. I am honored to follow in her footsteps.
How do you spend most of your time?
In business, many things get my attention, but most of my time is spent educating. When I’m not on the road leading trainings, I’m usually hosting educational webinars or in-person trainings with our team at our Education Center. Outside of work, however, I love spending time with my kids and husband. We live in Colorado, so there’s plenty of wonderful outdoor activities for us to get into.