×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 31566
Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets (17)

Anyone have a client who comes in every single month for a treatment, buys retail, and their skin still looks like a nightmare? Tanned, lined, dry, and so dehydrated it vaguely resembles parchment paper? The first time it happened, I was convinced I was the worst aesthetician in the world. But, during a marathon laundry session with my manager, who was also an aesthetician, I…

Getting Over Guilty: Selling Products to Clients Featured

Written by Shelly Steadman
Show of hands if you hate trying to sell clients retail products? There better not be a single hand waving in the air. Homecare is essential to good skin. Without it, anything you do in a treatment room is a waste of time. So, why do most aestheticians and hairstylists abhor the thought of recommending retail? I have a theory, well, I have three, actually…
Client expectations often aren’t realistic. Let’s take, for example, our lovely associates in the world of hair. How many times have you sat down in a chair with an airbrushed picture of some lovely model, who more than likely is sporting extensions or even a styled wig, and informed your stylist you wanted to look like that? There was no consideration of texture differences or…

ASIMichelle D'Allaird-Brenner has been in the beauty business since 1988; as a licensed cosmetologist, aesthetician and CIDESCO diplomat she has pooled all of her knowledge and expertise into education and raising the bar for professional aestheticians around the world. Michelle is the owner of Aesthetic Science Institute, a NYS licensed aesthetics school in Latham, N.Y. She is a regular contributing author for DERMASCOPE and Les Nouvelles Esthetique & Spa magazines, a speaker and host for aesthetics conferences across the U.S. and has co-authored two major industry textbooks. Michelle is a consultant for an International cosmetic company having provided education in over 18 countries around the world. She is also the educational director for the Aesthetics International Association.

I have been in the aesthetics industry since 1988 … I like to tell people I started when I was five! Throughout the years I have been an aesthetics director for a chain of skin care centers, a school owner, educator, author, speaker, host and consultant. A great deal of my time has been spent writing curriculum for aesthetic education – leading to me having the first NYS approved paramedical program and laser program approved by the department of education. Hands down I believe that education and customer service are what separates the best clinics from the rest? Which makes it important for aestheticians to be able to cut through all the marketing propaganda to find the skin care line(s) that are right for them? Education is how they can do this! When one is truly knowledgeable about the physiology of the skin and product ingredients they will be able to ask the right questions and easily rule out fact from fiction. It amazes me the amount of aestheticians that do not perform a proper consultation, or do not even review consultation forms from prior visits. How can they possibly deliver results without a proper consultation and evaluation of what is currently happening with the skin? Consult, consult, consult – it is the key to success. By far being an educator has taught me the most and has had the most impact on my life. It has taught me about myself, my profession, the quality of education, and about the individuals entering the skin care field. I came to realize the deep passion I had to learn as much as I could about everything to do with skin; but I also recognized how desperately I wanted to share my knowledge and my passion with others. Thus, a theme for my career was born: The desire to know it all and to be the best; but knowing that there will always, always be more to learn and others' that are better. Which means my journey will never end; and I love that! Do I have any regrets? I think we all do, success is a learning experience. But my travels have taken me from my children and family at times that I feel as a "mom," I should have been there. Do I regret it? A bit; but I also know that my accomplishments have instilled a motivation and passion for life into my children, and it has strengthened my partnership with my best friend … my husband.

hanson.12

"Excellence in Education… One Student at a Time" has been the guiding principle of Annette Hanson, president of Atelier Esthétique® Institute of Esthetics in New York City. Her professional experience spans 30 years, making her a renowned skin care expert and published author in industry periodicals, as well as a sought after lecturer at leading professional conferences worldwide. Annette was instrumental in the development of the 600-hour curriculum for the New York State aesthetics license and she was appointed by New York's Secretary of State to serve as educator on the Appearance Enhancement Advisory Committee for aesthetics, nails and cosmetology. Among her many accomplishments, she was a founding board member of the National Coalition of Esthetic & Related Professional Associations (NCEA) for four years; she was recently voted into the Leadership Committee of the ASCP Skin Care School Council (Associated Skin Care Professionals); and her crowning achievement has been her induction as an Aesthetics International Association (A.I.A) industry legend, in which she appeared on the cover of the August 2009 edition of DERMASCOPE magazine.


My parents taught me to be dedicated, work hard and you will succeed in whatever you do in life.
Through their hard work and commitment to taking care of their customers they made their business successful. That truism, the "customer-is-always-right" attitude, has been my guiding principle. I am proud to say that it is my 27th year in business as a female business owner in New York City. In September 1985, I opened Atelier Esthétique® Institute of Esthetics and since then I have graduated over 1,000 aestheticians. Every day I learn from my students! It is a wonderful feeling, being able to offer my knowledge to young aestheticians, spa managers and school owners – providing an avenue for me to divulge lessons I have learned both positive and negative. Throughout my professional journey what has surprised me the most is how misunderstood the aesthetics industry was back in the 1980s. When one landlord heard that I was having seaweed delivered, he sent me a letter saying that I could not serve food on the premises. Another landlord accused me of running a brothel when I asked his permission to have a shower installed for body treatments. Customer service is the key to why people visit, or return, to a particular spa. People always remember how they were treated, and they will return for that experience over and over again. Continuing education is also important! The best clinics invest in the continuing education of their team. A clinic director must encourage and require continuing education in order to keep their team current with new treatments, knowledgeable in matters of safety, and continuously polish sales skills. Adaptations are necessary to remain relevant in the aesthetics industry! About five years ago, when it became very apparent that laser technology was not just a fad, I created a laser curriculum which was subsequently approved by the state of New York; and to date, this program has been extremely successful. It is easy to let your responsibilities to your students and employees dictate how you run your life. You must take time for yourself. If you do not take care of yourself, then you will not be focused and strong enough to take care of others.


Find Atelier Esthétique® Institute of Esthetics online at: www.aeinstitute.net, on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/atelieresthetique, or Twitter at: www.twitter.com/AtelierNYC

atzen.1Catherine Atzen was introduced to facials by an aesthetician in France when she was 13, suffering from acne and sensitive, dehydrated skin. She inspired Catherine to care for her skin and thus Catherine’s passion was born. Years later, while working in aesthetic medicine doing research on skin care for burn victims, she was at the forefront of the skin care industry by developing the first ATZEN formulas with DNA. She is a sought after industry expert who serves as a consultant to industry leaders and brands in several countries, as well as being a founding member of the International Medical Spa Association (IMSA). Catherine holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, an MBA from Columbia University, NY, a CIDESCO diploma from Switzerland, and is NCEA certified. Catherine is a Member of Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society, and has earned 18 industry awards.   

At the initial stage, the industry was made of small family businesses. Even after being in this industry for over 25 years this still surprises me; the fact that other talented professionals have joined our industry, contributing to establish our industry as a serious economic player. Our industry keeps growing and forecasts look promising. Throughout my career I have held various positions within this industry; aesthetician, day spa and medical spa owner, research and developer, author, educator, speaker, board member, and industry consultant. Overall, being a research and developer has taught me the most because it has allowed me to discover new, proven ingredients to make products that are functional and effective to solve skin conditions. I make a point of being close to professionals and consumers who share what they expect.
atzen.2
So, I am always probing for new ideas, looking for solutions, asking questions on how to make the products better by reading articles in medical journals, researching new developments in European skin care, as well as alternative medicine in Asia to improve the product line.  It is important that the products are user friendly – I always keep global research a constant. A need to truly examine and learn about all of the ingredients and processes a product contains, and to be familiar with their benefits and contra-indications – this is how an aesthetician can cut through all the marketing to find a line or lines that are right for them? There is more than a list of ingredients; the percentage of actives must be high and it is the synergy of the ingredients that make a product work. A line must have a range of products to address all skin conditions for the face and without having too many products; the packaging must also be appealing and user friendly. Aestheticians often times limit their business’ growth. How? By using and retailing only products they like themselves and consequently do not serve the needs of clients who have different skin conditions or likes when it comes to the products’ function, packaging or texture. It is my belief that if they become aware of this self-imposed limitation it will expand their range of customers. I advise aestheticians and business owners to “be passionate and enjoy what you do. Surround yourself with positive people who want to grow.” 

 

Catherine Atzen’s philosophy about regrets –

“Regrets can freeze you into place, prevent you from taking risks, and stop innovation. I am no different from anyone else, had I had the experience and knowledge I have today when I started as an entrepreneur … you see where that goes. I have learned there is no elevator to success; I had to take the stairs.

‘We only grow when we push ourselves beyond what we already know.’

I don’t know whose quote this is, but I have had it on my desk for a long time.”

Find Catherine on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/atzenfanpage

Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/atzenskincare

More from our interview with Catherine:

 

DERMASCOPE:

Which of these taught you the most or had the most impact on you and how? continued…

Catherine:

…I make a point of being close to professionals and consumers who share what they expect. This and my skin care training greatly contribute to research and development – developing products that go beyond what users expect; pleasantly surprising them with products that are ahead of their time. For instance, when reformulating the ATZEN line, I researched worldwide lifestyle trends with a special focus on consumers’ sentiment towards one’s health, the environment and sustainability. This is why ATZEN is a green, cruelty-free skin care company providing formulations with high concentrations of the most effective ingredients such as INTACT DNA™, peptides, resveratrol, açaí, green tea, and ATP (energy), in paraben-free formulas using olive- and coconut-based emulsifiers instead of petrochemicals.

DERMASCOPE:

Why do you think people come to a particular spa/skin care clinic?

Catherine:

I think it is not only the personal service that brings people back, but also the honest caring environment a skin care spa can provide. Guests want to look their best and find professionals who have the tools to help them solve their skin conditions.

DERMASCOPE:

What do you believe separates the best clinics from the rest??

Catherine:

Results as promised – nothing more and nothing less. People go to spas for several reasons; the key reason is to improve their skin condition. If they get results, they feel they are at the right place. You deliver the results and you put the personalized care into it; this builds long-term trust. Your business must consistently deliver predictable results as well as a predictable guest’s experience. The team works together to create a professional environment that feels good, so guests keep coming.

DERMASCOPE:

Do you have a signature treatment that your clients love – a classic of sorts? What makes it so loved?

Catherine:

The DNA Balance Facial is a signature treatment that consistently makes your skin feel radiant, clean, and firm; it’s like enjoying a mini vacation and coming home happy and refreshed.

DERMASCOPE:

What tool or tools would your treatment room not be complete without? Why?

Catherine:

The ATZEN LymphMed device for lymphatic drainage massage; guests love the little hands!

DERMASCOPE:

What adaptations have you made over the years to stay relevant in the treatment room?

Catherine:

New formulations – using new technology and processes.

DERMASCOPE:

Is there a particular moment or procedure where most aestheticians go wrong? continued…

Catherine:

…What could they alter for a better result? The aesthetician is not listening to customer’s cues that say: “Give me what really works.” The aesthetician who identifies the home care program that resolves their problems builds a great following and a profitable retail business.

DERMASCOPE:

As a manufacturer, is there a particular ingredient that you feel is a “super” ingredient? If so, why?

Catherine:

INTACT DNA (used to be called Integral DNA)

DERMASCOPE:

You wear so many hats; manufacturer, distributor, educator, skin care company owner, et cetera. What is your secret to keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey?

Catherine:

I exercise each day to take care for myself! J My husband gives me unconditional support; my family and friends bring me the work life balance to recharges my batteries; and my business partners are a pleasure to work with.

DERMASCOPE:

Do you or your company support any particular causes or charitable organizations? If so, who and why?

Catherine:

We are in the process of evaluating a number of organizations focusing on empowering women and girls.

fedotova-imageBefore coming to the U.S. from Russia in 1991, Elina Fedotova transformed her acne prone skin into a glowing example of the power of natural healing. She is now the CEO of Elina Organics with clinics in Chicago, Ill. and Kalamazoo, Mich. Her products are available in spas and medical offices across the U.S. and abroad. Elina is the founder of the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners and makes regular TV appearances with Elina Skin Cuisine segments. "Good face cream should be like a fresh meal for your skin!" says Fedotova, "More and more research shows it might end up into your bloodstream, and I believe in skin care products formulated from food grade ingredients."


Throughout my 18 years in the aesthetic industry I have worked as an aesthetician in a holistic wellness center, a spa and a plastic surgeon's office.
It is difficult to say whether it is working with clients, formulating my products, or being a business owner that has taught me the most or had the most impact. However, working hands on with clients has helped me better connect with and understand not only their skin, but also their lives. A holistic approach to skin care has been a constant theme throughout my career. I do not use products or procedures that might lead to undesirable side effects. 

fedotova-advice

Although my approach was not a popular trend when I came to the U.S. in 1991, I have remained true to myself by only working with natural ingredients and offering services that work in harmony with the entire body. In this industry, products and services must be continuously updated to stay current with the latest research. Therefore, I adjust all of my formulations according to the seasons. This is necessary for my clients to get the very best results and it prevents their skin from becoming immune to ingredients. Expertise and corrective results offered with positivity, compassion and professionalism is what I believe sets the best clinics apart from the rest. People are looking for professional expertise that delivers corrective results. While they might initially be attracted to a beautiful facility, they will not return unless the professionals there are able to make them not only feel, but look better after each treatment. People are attracted to spas with professionals who have the ability to listen and not dump their personal problems on clients; when a client is on the treatment table, it is their time to be heard! Beauty is more than skin deep; a person is much more than a physical body. As a holistic practitioner I believe that we grow through our choices and experiences with the ultimate goal to achieve unconditional love and balance. We agree that beautiful skin can appear only on a healthy body; but a healthy body requires mental clarity, positive emotions, whole food and a clean environment. It is hard to achieve this alone. We need each other to make better choices individually and on a global scale.

DERMASCOPE:

 

What various roles and positions have you held within the industry? continued …

 

Elina:

 

… In 1998 I opened my first clinic and finally launched my Elina Organics skin care line.  I still hand-make my products from organic botanicals and other natural ingredients from start to finish, and never use any pre-manufactured bases.  After a batch of products is made, it is bottled and labeled by several lab assistants who work with me.  We ship them all over the country and abroad to skin care salons and medical offices.   They are distributed to licensed professionals only and are not sold over-the-counter.

 

In 2006, I released my best selling product … Ambra-Lift.  A key ingredient is Baltic Amber, and independent genomic studies show that Ambra-Lift has anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects after two applications over a period of 48 hours. The study also shows it increases the expression of Sirtuin-1, a key anti-aging gene.  After this study was done, I noticed raw ingredient suppliers started offering Baltic Amber for skin care formulators.

 

In 2006 I also opened a second clinic on Oak Street in the heart of Chicago.  It has not gone unnoticed.   The “Living Healthy Chicago” show and WGN TV shot several Elina Skin Cuisine segments about holistic skin care techniques and formulations.   A summer organic beauty product segment with Ginger Zee aired on NBC 5 in Chicago.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Which of these has taught you the most or had the most impact on you and how? continued …

 

Elina:

 

… I don’t have time to watch much television, so I think of it as my own personal “Days of Our Lives” show because I have seen many clients monthly for over 15 years.  They trust me with their skin, life stories, news about their children growing up and their grandchildren being born.  It allows me to be a witness and a part of it all, which is an incredible experience.  I am very grateful for this opportunity.

 

That is why I still work two days a week with clients in addition my work in the lab. It is so gratifying to hear many of my clients say how much better their faces look after a decade of Elina holistic skin care treatments!

 

Formulating products is a more solitary, meditative experience, which is a very important part of my life.  I “cook” them myself in small batches every week.  It’s exciting to be able to deliver corrective, edible formulations to hundreds of people who use them every day.

 

Being a business owner has been the most difficult experience.  In fact, I would not want to be one if I did not have my own line of products, because administrative duties are my least favorite things to do.  However, I have learned a lot about how to find and connect with the right team of people who can work together with love and compassion instead of being competitive.  It has been the most difficult thing in my career to maintain a work environment that is balanced and to find holistically-minded people who work together as true friends. I think any business owner would agree that working out the human part is the biggest challenge.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Has there been a constant theme that has led you from one point to the next throughout your training and career? continued …

 

Elina:

 

… That is why in 2007, I organized the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners, which allowed me to be able to share this approach with other aestheticians. Many holistically-minded people can feel isolated and I felt they needed a network to connect with liked minded aestheticians.

 

I am not afraid of competition, because truly holistic practitioners do not believe in it.  There is enough business for everyone if you are truly able to bring the best, healthiest and most effective products and procedures to your clients.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

What has surprised you most during your professional journey?

 

Elina:

 

People!  Just when you think you know them, they turn around and do something you think is out of character.  Sometimes they are loving and generous … sometimes the opposite.  This leads to endless discoveries about human nature.  I have seen many examples of generosity that just make my day.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Do you have any regrets, or is there any one thing you can point to and think, “I wish I would have done that differently” or “if only I had known then what I know now?” Please explain.

 

Elina:

 

No, I do not believe in regrets.  I received my education through painful experiences and that is how I grew.   I do not believe in looking back.  The only way to move is forward.  Otherwise you get stuck!

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Why do you think people come to a particular spa/skin care clinic? continued …

 

Elina:

 

People are attracted to spas with professionals who have the ability listen and not dump their personal problems on clients. I will fire a person if I find out they are doing this. I understand we are all connected and friendly…. It is okay to share personal achievements that are positive, like losing weight or having more energy. However, there should be no negativity, because people have plenty of that going on in their own lives.  It is crucial that any sharing on the part of the aesthetician is good and inspirational.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

What do you believe separates the best clinics from the rest? continued …

 

Elina:

 

The best clinics are places where clients go to get reliable consistent service. In addition, the owner is able to maintain a stable staff of skin care practitioners – because they create an atmosphere where the staff is happy and wants to stay.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Do you have a signature treatment that your clients love – a classic of sorts? If so, what makes it so loved?

 

Elina:

 

I have several of them, but they all start with deep cleansing, vacuuming and extractions. My clients with dry, sun-damaged complexions love my Crushed Amber Facial.  Their skin looks brighter and just glows after that treatment. Clients are also excited about my latest protocol, the Gemstone Facial.   They can see and feel the results on an energetic level that go more than skin deep. But, the classic favorite is the Elina Corrective Herbal Facial.  Clients never receive exactly the same treatment because every single mask is freshly mixed to target their skin needs at that moment.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

What tool or tools would your treatment room not be complete without and why?

 

Elina:

 

A vaporizer, magnifying lamp and vacuum unit; these are the essential basics for any professional skin care office.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

What adaptations have you made over the years to stay relevant in the treatment room? continued …

 

Elina:

 

Elina Facial Protocols can be tailored to meet the unique skin care needs of every client.  I train aestheticians how to adjust products to individual complexions. I also use a lot of modern equipment like LED and cold lasers.  We also offer body contouring air pressure treatments along with traditional manual cellulite reduction procedures and customized herbal body wraps.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Is there a particular moment or procedure where most aestheticians go wrong?  What could they alter for a better result?

 

Elina:

 

Yes, extractions.  I believe that being able to perform effective extractions is an art form.  Even after successfully cleaning the pores by vacuuming the skin, some impurities remain so we have to do manual extractions.  The key is to perform them efficiently and effectively; to remove unwanted comedones or milia without breaking capillaries and hurting the client’s skin.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Realizing you are also a manufacturer and educator: how does one cut through all the marketing to find the product lines(s) that are right for them?

 

Elina:

 

Find the right line(s) by analyzing the ingredients to make sure they are natural and have corrective properties.  They also need to include more than just honey, oil and wax and be formulated in a sophisticated way.  For the best results it is important to use products that penetrate the epidermis and deliver natural nutrients to the living skin cells.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

As a manufacturer, is there a particular ingredient that you feel is a “super” ingredient?  If so, why?

 

Elina:

 

Yes, Sea Buckthorn Oil.  Sea Buckthorn is a “must have” and a key ingredient in practically all my formulations because it offers a very valuable cocktail of vitamins and nutrients for the skin.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

You wear so many hats; manufacturer, distributor, educator, skin care company owner, et cetera. What is your secret to keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey?

 

Elina:

 

To be honest, I work all the time.  Even those few hours that I sleep I still have dreams about my business!  That is why I still feel guilty for my family and every year I have a New Year’s resolution to give more of my time to my husband and son, who is already 21-years-old.  He is a college student who has turned out to be a very thoughtful and generous person.

 

I am able to work so much because I wear many hats and what I do constantly changes.  I could not just work with clients or formulate products 24-hours a day. After two 12-hour days with clients, I feel exhausted.  But instead of taking a day off I go to the lab where I am alone making products and having an incredible meditative and inspirational experience around my herbs and minerals.  But it would be too lonely if I did that every day of the week!

 

After I make a batch of products, my son and other lab assistants bottle and label them. Now I spend time with my son while I work! Then when I am doing educational presentations and conferences, I get this incredible experience of connecting with hundreds of aestheticians and holistic professionals.  It is an amazing, joyful experience.

 

All of this work is intense, but because it varies all the time it is always interesting.  When I write articles for skin care magazines, I get to speak to a wider number of professionals.  I also love to do Elina Skin Cuisine TV segments where I can talk to viewers in everyday language.  Yes my life is very busy, but it allows me to express myself in so many ways. I am grateful for this opportunity!

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

It is obvious that holistic practices play a significant roll in your personal and professional life.  Please elaborate on why.

 

Elina:

 

We know that beauty is more than skin deep and that a person is much more than a physical body.  As a holistic practitioner I believe that we grow through our choices and experiences with the ultimate goal to achieve unconditional love and balance.  We agree that beautiful skin can appear only on a healthy body.   But a healthy body requires mental clarity, positive emotions, whole food and a clean environment.   It is hard to achieve this alone.  We need each other to make better choices individually and on a global scale. By taking a “whole-istic” approach to our health and lives, I feel we can deliver more peace to ourselves, care more about our resources, and help create a more harmonious life for all; practicing holistic skin care is a large part of making this happen.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Can you please elaborate on the inspiration behind the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners, what it is, what it does, and the significance it has for yourself, your company and our industry?

 

Elina:

 

What inspired me to start the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners (AHSCP) was my desire to offer other professionals who believe in a holistic approach to skin care the chance to network with and learn from each other. I know I am not alone in my belief in a holistic approach to beauty and I felt a strong desire to create an educational forum for aestheticians who are really serious about wanting to learn more about how care for the their clients skin in this holistic way.

 

We started the association in 2007 and for a few years offered a single conference.  Now we are now expanding from one to three annual conferences in Michigan, California and the Washington D.C. area, and are offering additional workshops around the country.

 

AHSCP offers training and information about the newest research on natural ingredients and non-invasive methods for corrective skin care treatments. We also study, validate and share how a healthy approach to beauty is more effective in the long term.

 

While the AHSCP offers members a variety of workshops, because we take a holistic perspective, not all of them are focused directly on the skin.  Rather they are designed to take a broader body/mind approach to skin care and help bring in more clients.

 

I feel the work I do for the AHSCP is significant because I believe if we all took a more holistic approach to life we would have a safer, kinder, more loving planet.

One of my friends told me if every single person would take care of only one person – themselves – and were loving and peaceful, then we would have a much better world!

zaniAlexandra J. Zani is an international educator and speaker with a background in biology and medical technology. She holds an instructor license in cosmetology/aesthetics, is NCEA certified, and has received advanced certifications both in the U.S. and abroad in the dermal sciences, spa therapies, non-ablative laser, LED and microcurrent. Zani is an independent technical and scientific advisor and mentor for postgraduate studies in the medical spa industry, including cosmeceutical development. She presents education for advanced aesthetic technology, is a specialist in longevity, including the affects of nutrition, lifestyle and the mind/body connection. As an author and technical writer, she has written over 70 articles, technical manuals and has created a recent webinar series. Throughout her career, Zani has received several outstanding service awards for her role in professional business organizations.

ZANI-LOGOI have been in the aesthetics industry for over 27 years. From owning an image-consulting boutique in Ann Arbor, Mich. to being the educational director for a small laser college and distributor in British Columbia, a rather eclectic career path has given me amazing experiences and provided great opportunity for professional and personal growth. I learned early on to view challenging circumstances and individuals as teachers who showed up in my life at a specific point in time to direct my path so that I could learn and grow. "If only I had known then what I know now." – For me this statement rings true in that years ago, I might have also added a nursing degree into the scenario to add credibility to what I was trying to convey while attempting to bridge spa and wellness into a medical cosmetic surgery practice. Prior to opening your business … plan it carefully and deeply. One must build horizontally and vertically - building a solid infrastructure along with an inviting environment. Study your market wisely and find out what services are going to serve it the most. Sometimes keeping things simple is better than having every gadget, expensive machine and product. In my opinion … building customer loyalty is dependent on the quality and caring service extended to them by a skilled and educated staff that genuinely cares. There should be no guessing games when it comes to assessing the skin. It is important to understand the underlying causes of a skin condition. You cannot just begin a session without first performing a pathway of analysis. Education is important! I have a saying … "the more I learn, the less I know," meaning that each time I listen to a lecture or read a book, it opens more pathways for questioning and exploration. Mastery of your profession is a lifetime journey.It involves becoming a critical thinker and examining many viewpoints and considerations before coming to a conclusion. Critical thinking is a route to intellectual adventure and a process of making sound decisions based on facts and experience. In the aesthetics profession, you are making decisions every day, especially when assessing the best way to achieve results, these decisions should be made with as much knowledge as possible!

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

What various roles and positions have you held within this industry? continued…

 

 Alexandra:

 

In Ann Arbor, Mich. at the image-consulting boutique that I owned, I performed makeup consultations, color analysis, and sold skin care and accessories prior to attending school to complete studies in cosmetology and also offered a diploma in aesthetics. There was no separate esthetic licensing at the time. I traveled to participate in special weeklong classes from industry icons. A move to the Maryland/DC area provided an opportunity to open a full service skin care and spa therapy center. Additionally, I partnered with colleagues to offer public classes for dress and image enhancement for corporations and individuals. Moving west, I advised and directed aesthetic services for a Denver vein treatment clinic. The doctors pioneered some of the first CO2 laser resurfacing treatments in the country. Additionally, they worked with the earlier IPL lights for port wine stains and vascular lesions. I was also a consultant for a spa build out in a prestigious athletic facility as well as interim spa director. From there, I journeyed onward to Dallas to become corporate aesthetician for a leading private label and custom skin care manufacturer. My first project was to research and direct the formulations of an innovative vitamin C skin care line, including nutritional supplements. I traveled to trade shows, delivered national education, wrote technical manuals and articles, worked in product development, and provided support to sales staff and customers. Sadly, big companies often sell out and downsize causing many of us to move on to seek other employment. I worked in a Dallas medical spa with some of the first hair reduction and skin rejuvenation IPL systems. I journeyed onward into a consulting capacity and was acting general manager for an award-winning research physician to support his product reorganization and expansion. The adventure continued as I moved southward to work in a new medical spa as well as directed the creation of a full product line. I became the instructor for a new evening aesthetics program. In early 2006, I had the opportunity to become an education director for a small laser college and distributor in British Columbia. I returned to the U.S. in early fall of 2008, worked days in a medical office and taught the evening aesthetics program at a local medical vocational college. During the earlier years of my career, the aesthetics and spa industry was in its baby stages, and many of us had a huge vision for the future of this industry. Networking was key for one’s success. During the mid nineties, networking and education organizations manifested to support this industry. I was on the founding board and education director for the former Colorado Society of Aestheticians and Spa Therapists. Spas were hungry for continuing education and we filled the room during our quarterly education events. Additionally, I was a charter member of the American Aestheticians Education Association (AAEA) and presented seminars at their annual conferences.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Which of these taught you the most or had the most impact on you and how? continued…

 

 Alexandra:

 

The accumulation of many experiences extending across several geographical regions greatly constructed the stage for directing my career and personal life. At times, things became perplexing. I soon learned that the only way to gain insight was to quietly go inward listening in the silence where I contemplated on my life’s purpose. I also had a couple of close mentors. In the bigger scheme of things, there really are no “bad” experiences. Undoubtedly being employed in a large multi-million dollar corporation opened my naïve eyes regarding the dynamics of being part of a large team. Variable talents and personalities offered the opportunity to work closely with brilliant cosmetic chemists. It taught me a great deal.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Has there been a constant theme that has led you from one point to the next throughout your training and career? (i.e. asking questions, reading certain material, etc.)

 

 Alexandra:

 

Call me a workshop and book junkie! I have always surrounded myself with books, mounds of research papers, innovative ideas, and individuals who have provided amazing inspiration, even if they did not make sense at the time. I have had a life long desire for learning and to adventure into new experiences that extended far beyond my comfort zone. Consequently, I managed to move through some pretty interesting and/or humbling circumstances. As with many others during the earlier years in this industry, I attended as many events as possible – trade shows, manufacturer classes, wellness classes, integrative medicine conferences, leadership and personal development classes, and just about anything that would bring greater knowledge so that I could offer a better service to my clients and students. I have met amazing individuals along the way who were most inspiring. I must say that without the encouragement of many, I would not be where I am today. A consistent theme has always been the underlying mission that we are all here to make a difference in the life of others. It is through serving others that we expand our universal horizons and are able to become role models. We have a profession that is hands-on and speaks greatly of prevention and wellness – in mind, body and spirit.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

What has surprised you most during your professional journey? Do you have any regrets, or is there any one thing you can point to and think, “I wish I would have done that differently” or “if only I had known then what I know now.” continued…

 

 Alexandra:

 

Given my present knowledge, I would have made better business decisions earlier on by asking the right questions as to expectations and also do a better job of negotiating contracts. Years ago, I might have also added a nursing degree into the scenario to add credibility to what I was trying to convey while attempting to bridge spa and wellness into a medical cosmetic surgery practice. It is truly inspiring to watch the transformation of an aesthetics student as they sit in your classroom where you teach them the necessary skills of their chosen profession. Some may surprise us with their ability to grasp complicated information. We can only do life with the knowledge and experience we have at any given moment so there are really no regrets. What is most amazing is that each of us has an innate strength that appropriately shows up at the right time when we listen and take on the challenge of moving beyond what we think is possible.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Why do you think people come to a particular spa/skin care clinic? continued…

 

 Alexandra:

 

The facility must be clean, attractive and provide a feeling of peace and renewal. Staff members who walk their talk become role models in their profession. Sending and providing support to each other is part of being on a team. This caring energy is immediately sensed from the moment a customer walks through the portal. What patients also embrace are treatments and products that provide results.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

What do you believe separates the best clinics from the rest? continued…

 

 Alexandra:

 

As I mentioned earlier, the ambiance and feeling of being welcomed into a very caring, professional, results-oriented environment builds loyalty. Also, become a good listener. Does a client desire a simple relaxing facial or massage, or do they have concerns that require a little more in-depth approach for skin correction. Not to be underestimated, and indeed may set you apart from the rest, is the importance in keeping an open door for health challenged individuals such as cancer survivors or others who would normally be turned away at other spas. Offering Oncology Aesthetic services is a growing trend that requires specialized training. However, it will greatly enhance your uniqueness.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Do you have a signature treatment or modality that you feel is a classic of sorts? And, why do you feel this way?

 

Alexandra:

 

During my years of practice, what fostered repeat business was that I took the time to do a thorough skin analysis (actually it was a separate service), and then developed a plan of management for whatever the concerns. I carefully analyzed not only the customer’s skin but reviewed their current products and regimen. Additionally, I also had them complete a health-intake form to help detect any underlying causes of a skin challenge. I love enzymes. I am also in favor of microcurrent and/or LED, specialized masks, and of course, when deemed appropriate, a massage. Also, when offered, body wraps using Moor mud mixed with essentials oils are so therapeutic. I always felt that the first hands-on session should build a customer’s confidence in my skills. A simple session involving a thorough cleansing, enzyme and application of appropriate products, including a concentrate, a mask also gave me an indication as to how their skin was going to respond during future treatments.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

What tool or tools would your treatment room not be complete without? Why?

 

Alexandra:

 

Technology is ever evolving. There are newer generations of microcurrent, LED, and sonophoresis. The core choices for equipment depends a great deal on the focus of the service and the type of environment in which you are working. Are you offering basic services or are you going to add a little more technology? Having a good loop lamp, Woods lamp/skin scanner, a steamer, iontophoresis, high frequency is a start. Additionally, invest in a comfortable facial chair and be aware of your room ergonomics. This may sound elementary, but after you do your homework – market study, attend a trade show to view all the new innovations in this industry, speak to lots of people, take the time to develop a plan of action including a budget. Purchase your equipment and products only after you are clear on what you are doing. Moreover, the further you understand the dermal sciences, skin conditions and disease, and product chemistry, the better decisions you will make for machines and treatment products.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

What adaptations have you made over the years to stay relevant in the treatment room?

 

Alexandra:

 

Contrasted to what we did years ago, I recommend a slower approach to skin correction and treatment. At one time we thought that the way for correction was to become aggressive at the beginning – choosing microdermabrasion, skin peels and aggressive treatments (including laser) since we thought that they were an answer to most skin conditions. Fast forward to 2012; some of the newer technologies and methods for skin correction may support a simpler treatment room. We now have learned that there is a great deal of “cell talk” occurring between keratinocytes, melanocytes and fibroblasts. We also do not want to promote excessive immune response through heat shock, stimulation of the wrong cell growth factors or remove too much of the epidermis. Approaching more aggressive treatments should be carefully assessed after you have helped repair the epidermis and acid mantle. The skin has an amazing ability to self-correct when given the correct remedies.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Is there a particular moment or procedure where most aestheticians go wrong? What could they alter for a better result? continued…

 

 Alexandra:

 

… Yes, the client is gravely concerned about her skin and perhaps the pigmentation that showed up on her face. As a professional, study the melanogensis story and the lifecycle of a melanocyte. So many times, the poor melanocyte receives a destructive blow with little thought of the consequences. Education, education … education!

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Realizing you are an educator: How does one cut through all the marketing to find the line(s) that are right for them?

 

 Alexandra:

 

The health of the skin depends upon many things that go beyond beautiful packaging. When asked about what skin line to choose, my response is that the technologies have changed during the past few years. It is futile to place one line up against the other. Instead, I recommend that we acquire a better understanding of cosmetic ingredients and their relationship to the skin. There are advanced improvements of actives that are more stabilized and effective in supporting skin structures. New innovative delivery systems utilizing the nano and liposome technologies can effectively deliver ingredients without the use of some irritating emulsifiers that may be detrimental to sensitive skin. One should be mindful of several details including (1) gaining a clearer understanding of cell structures and systems, (2) what nutrients make up a cell membrane, and the function of the skin barrier – particularly the bilayers, (3) the importance of matching product composition to skin structure, and (4) what ingredients may be counterproductive to optimum skin health. We should become one with the keratinocyte … think like it … and understand what makes it healthy and what damages it. Additionally, when we grasp the innuendos of skin conditions, and how they are formed in the first place, we can transition into a more confident pathway for correction. Product choices will flow more comfortably. Honoring and protecting the epidermis at all times becomes a motto for success. When you understand the underlying causes (not symptoms) of skin conditions, then you will easily move into a product line that complements your work.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

As an educator, what is your secret to keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey?

 

 Alexandra:

 

After many years of working long hours in this profession, rushing to catch flights, returning home from late night airport parking lots, I made a decision in 2008 to return to the U.S. to restructure the rest of my personal and career life. I now work from a virtual office in rural America connected by Internet and telephone with an airport one hour away. Many of you may be just beginning your career. Develop positives habits to re-charge your mind and body. Eat nourishing food; take walks in nature; listen to beautiful music; do yoga; practice mindful meditation; explore spirituality … and so on. Do whatever it takes to give yourself a break. If you are in a busy urban environment, nurture a few potted patio plants; spend quality time with your loved ones. Surround yourself with those who are positive and supporting. Speak inspiration … live inspiration, and be mindful of thoughts and words.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

It is obvious that education plays a significant role in your personal and professional life. Please elaborate on why you feel it is important for aestheticians to hold education in a high regard? continued…

 

 Alexandra:

 

… Taking the time to attend a class will optimize your ability in becoming more mindful and responsible practitioners. If you are a teacher, advanced education promotes your effectiveness in the classroom.

 

DERMASCOPE:

 

Can you please elaborate on PASTICHE? The inspiration behind the company, what it is, what it does, and the significance it has for yourself and our industry?

 

Alexandra:

 

As a partner with Pastiche Resources in New Zealand, it is a privilege to sponsor an industry icon, Florence Barrett-Hill, who has spent 30 years in this industry. I first met Barrett-Hill in 2006 after reading her book, Advanced Skin Analysis and her later book, Cosmetic Chemistry, her work has profoundly benefited over a 3000+ individuals – aestheticians, physicians, nurses and also brand-specific companies. Her accolades can be found in the testimonials of her students. There are so many of us worldwide who have had the privilege of sitting in her classroom where she stretched our minds beyond what we thought could be possible. Many of us graduates repeat her classes each year since it re-enforces what we learned the previous year. It offers a continuous forum to listen with more experienced ears as well as hear the latest research. Barrett-Hill owned and directed clinics where she gained a passion for working with burn survivors and plastic surgery patients. She pioneered skin care modalities including the formulation of specialized skin care products, in order to support skin that had been so compromised. A talented industry practitioner, she intimately knows her subject. She has a passion to elevate the standards of professional beauty therapy and skin care. That is why she works diligently and persistently to research, write and teach so that future generations can excel in their profession with knowledge, skill, and respect. She travels internationally, including to the U.S., sharing her knowledge with individuals and groups who collectively enforce her philosophy that the future of professional skin care lies within a scientific foundation. Spending almost 30 hours of class with her can be a career-altering event!

douglas.preston

Douglas Preston
Aesthetician, Business Consultant, Educator and Lecturer
Douglas Preston is a business consultant and frequent lecturer in the day and medical spa industry. Preston's business articles frequently appear in DERMASCOPE Magazine, Spa Management Journal, American Spa, MedicalSpa Magazine, Les Nouvelles Esthetiques, and others. Preston is a past-president of Aesthetics International Association (AIA), and served as committee chairman for The Day Spa Association (DSA). He was named The Day Spa Association's "Spa Person of the Year" in January 2006 and received the distinction of "Favorite Spa Consultant" in American Spa Magazine's 2006 readers' poll. As consultant to spa owners, physicians and practicing aestheticians he has taught and mentored thousands of skilled professionals worldwide and continues to do so. Preston has owned and operated Preston Private Label Products, a provider of fine skin care for the spa/medical industry, since 1996. In addition, he has maintained a California aesthetician's license since 1982 and is also licensed in the state of New Mexico.

I chose aesthetics as a career because it was a natural outgrowth of my work as a freelance makeup designer. In 1983, I began a small skin care practice in the San Francisco Bay Area that grew into a multi-million dollar day spa operation which continues to thrive to this day. Since selling my interest in that business in 2001, I have worked as a business consultant, aesthetics career mentor and as the founder of Preston Private Label Products. But, along the way I also cleaned the toilets, dusted the shelves, folded the towels and hauled out the trash just like every other business newcomer whose ideas and dreams were bigger than his budget. What has surprised me the most during my professional journey is easy … just how much there has been to learn throughout my 29-years of business and practice. There is always a new epiphany, a mystery to solve and regularly new generations of clients with concerns reflecting their time as emerging adults. It is fascinating! I believe that more emphasis should be placed on skilled communication and customer-centered awareness instead of product study and technical training. As a business consultant I feel it is imperative that aestheticians, whether they own their own spa or work as an independent contractor, appreciate the importance of the business side of their profession – because the business aspect of aesthetics is as important and critical to the well-being of the practice as the treatments themselves. By ignoring the realities of cost-control, marketing, sales goals and employee behavior a business owner will soon end up with a career they no longer love … or worse! With this in mind, routine employee training and superior quality management is what separates the best clinics/spas from the rest. Routine employee training and superior quality management; the funky but customer-loving spa can out-perform a glamorous luxury location if it recognizes and honors the clients’ need for genuinely personalized attention and kindness. Be generous … generous with your time, your appreciation, your attention and your praise of others. Customers never forget why they come to a spa, and it is not to hear our life story; it is to tell theirs and to be understood and validated as human beings.

Douglas Preston’s advice for someone wanting to open a new spa?

Talk to others who have done it ahead of you and ask the hard questions:

“How difficult was it?”

“How many hours are you putting in?”

“Do you enjoy your work as much now since operating your own business?”

“Has it been worth the investment?”

These are things that are important to know right from the start. The answers to these questions will quickly provide a sense of what you are about to get into – with ambitions in high gear. If you do not like what you hear then do not move forward. It is not likely that you will find the magic method to avoid the hardships and risks of business management.

For more on our chat with Douglas go to www.aestheticsprofessional.com

Find Douglas on Twitter at: @skinartz

More from our interview with Douglas:

 

DERMASCOPE:

According to your biography, you have been a licensed aesthetician since 1982. Why did you choose aesthetics as a career? continued …

Douglas:

From my own observations of the skin I was decorating and the many questions posed by customers and models it seemed obvious that more of my attention should be devoted to correcting, not merely covering.   

DERMASCOPE:

Which of the various roles and/or positions you have held over the years has taught you the most or had the most impact on you and how?

Douglas:

It is a tough call but the years I performed skin care treatments were probably the most instructive in terms of understanding the values and sensitivities of people in general. Those are insights one can use lifelong and in any setting. They make you a better person and increase your ability to perceive and communicate in a healthy and more productive way.

DERMASCOPE:

Do you have any regrets, or is there any one thing you can point to and think, “I wish I would have done that differently” or “if only I had known then what I know now.” Please explain.

Douglas:

Yes, allowing my professional focus to stray a bit far off field from my core career. I have the “entrepreneur’s disease” of constantly wanting to explore new ideas and directions. While that’s not so bad in itself I can see how some of that diverted attention impaired progress in my primary professional purposes. Live and learn!

DERMASCOPE:

It is obvious that education plays a significant role in your professional and personal life. Please elaborate on why you personally feel education plays and important part in aesthetics. continued …

Douglas:

Keeping up with an ever-evolving profession makes perpetual education is as essential as renewing one’s license to practice it. But, I also believe that more learning emphasis should be placed on skilled communication and customer-centric awareness instead of largely product study and technical training. That’s just as important if not even more so in the long run.

DERMASCOPE:

Has there been a constant theme that has led you from one point to the next throughout your training and career? (i.e. asking questions, reading certain material, et cetera)

Douglas:

I would have to say that it’s a restless inquisitiveness in me that has kept me opening new doors and questioning so-called established facts regarding skin care, products and even the tools aestheticians use in daily practice. From the beginning certain accepted “givens” about the profession just didn’t seem to make sense and I began to challenge questionable concepts when I encountered them.

DERMASCOPE:

As a business consultant for the aesthetics industry, why do you feel it is imperative that aestheticians, whether they own their own spa or work as an independent contractor, appreciate the importance of the business side of their profession (i.e. tax laws, appropriate software, service menu, et cetera)?

continued …

Douglas:

… If you love food but hate to count calories and consider proper nutrition you may eat yourself into a serious health condition. The same is true for practicing skin care professionals.

DERMASCOPE:

What advice do you give to spa owners who are experiencing economic difficulty?

Douglas:

Get professional help and do what you are advised to do! Most clients, of business advisors, drop out of the relationship when they begin to face the fact that some of their sacred cows need to be put down, or that they will have to become proficient in skills they either do not have or do not want to develop.

DERMASCOPE:

Why do you think people come to a particular spa/skin care clinic?

Douglas:

Clients want to feel well-treated and appreciated by those that serve them. Aesthetics is still a relationship-based profession and whether business owners like it or not the practitioner and client will form a meaningful bond that goes far beyond the facility it develops in. More attention needs to be paid to this one fundamental fact of customer loyalty.

DERMASCOPE:

What advice would you give to a company/spa that is looking to increase their visibility?

Douglas:

Forget a bigger sign on the building but, instead, work to create a truly great story about customer care that people love to tell to others. It’s all in the story – a positive and fun-to-tell story, not in fixtures or signage.

DERMASCOPE:

What suggestions would you give to an aesthetician/spa owner on how they can become an inspiration to their clients? continued …

Douglas:

Aestheticians are like candles: facilitators of a flame but not the flame itself. That energy comes to us through passion, burns in us through commitment, and is then passed forth in generosity. We must never make the mistake of trying to be both the source and supply of goodness all on our own.

DERMASCOPE:

Realizing you are also a manufacturer and educator: How does one cut through all the marketing to find the line(s) that are right for them?

Douglas:

I think we spend far too much time searching for the perfect products when, in fact, even the best of them are rarely used by customers in a way that will allow them to perform their true magic. I have no loyalties to products but, rather, in offering competent solutions to skin care needs and then working like crazy to achieve the highest level of user compliance possible. Accomplish that and you have created a small miracle.

DERMASCOPE:

You wear so many hats; manufacturer, distributor, educator, skin care company owner, et cetera. What is your secret to keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey?

Douglas:

It is by never forgetting why I do the work I do – to improve the lives of those I serve and then witness the results of the effort. Not every profession offers an opportunity to make such a positive difference. What we do in skin care could seem very small or it could be perceived as a world-changing gift. I prefer the latter definition.


 

Monday, 29 August 2011 20:45

Jeannette Kravitz | CEO and Humanitarian

Written by

 

Jeannette Kravitz | CEO and Humanitarian

With a career that has spanned from working at an airline pilot school, a thoroughbred racing farm, and ultimately as regional operations manager at Photography Corporation of America, Jeannette Kravitz found her creative voice through visual arts, events and music. Through her international travels and volunteering in places like Romania, working for HIV/AIDS orphans and NGOs globally, she has gained perspective by asking herself the ultimate question, “What is my purpose?” In 2000, she founded sponsorKIDs® Charities Peace Journey and now with her newly created ECOChallenge2020.org she continues to increase her charitable efforts with the help of her newly created natural-botanical-cosmeceutical skin care line which provides a base revenue stream allowing her to continue on with her philanthropic aspirations.

I chose the spa industry for a reason. My husband Randy and I decided that we wanted to choose an industry where women’s buying power could help support my work for children in American and around the globe. Philanthropy plays a significant role in my personal and professional life. For me, philanthropy and my profession are one in the same – we created Peace Spa Products to help to support the work I do for the children of the world. I believe that this is my purpose, so the choice to work in philanthropy is not an option, but a choice to keep my life in harmony with my work. We learned a lot while developing Peace Spa Products; because as we developed the product line, we were simultaneously learning what the spa owner and aestheticians were dealing with in their business everyday. I have found that most clients go to a spa initially for relaxation and beauty treatments. A key component in assisting clients relieve stress is the actual atmosphere of the spa – a sense of calm needs to be created, but ultimately I have found that it is the connection that the client creates with the staff that keeps them coming back. Through the years we have made some adaptations to stay relevant in the treatment room. To help combat against “Deal of the Day” promotions from competitors, we emphasize the sale of products and home regimen development by educating our staff on how to set up the consultative sale throughout the treatment, closing the sale after the service and client follow up. Ironically, I have found that a treatment tends to go wrong when an aesthetician underestimates their role in consultative selling process. Clients are interested in finding effective skin care products and they look to their aesthetician for advice and council. Focusing on great products and customer service is what I believe sets the best spas apart from the rest. A great example of this is our own PeaceSpa Customized Facial with Peel. This treatment is truly unique to each client because we fully analyze each client’s skin type and condition, and then use the appropriate products, including four different peel options, to achieve results. No one client is more important than the next. The resounding advice that I give to each and everyone of my clients is to be happy. It’s a choice you get to make everyday I live by this and it sustains me in times that are the most trying. It is a choice.

Jeannette Kravitz’s secret to keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey: Choose people, vendors and clients you enjoy working with. It makes work pleasurable and extends your friendships. In addition, make sure to always include a fitness routine into your schedule, and at least a few hours a week to spend time with friends, family, music, photography, and any other activities that allow you to culturally express yourself.


Find Jeannette on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/PeaceSpaProducts
Find Jeannette on Twitter at: @peacejourney

Page 1 of 2