Welcome to the second edition of our new blog series, Ask An Esthie! Each month we spotlight a talented, dedicated member of the esthetician community, encouraging Estheticians to share knowledge, provide support, and cheer each other on!
Q: Tell us about your first year as an Esthetician
My first year as an esthetician, I was eager eager eager!!!
The day after I received my license I drove to every spa in town, dropped off my resume and talked to the managers or owners about potential job opportunities.
The day after that, I went to the next town about 30 minutes away and did the same thing. As one could expect for fresh young meat out of school landing their dream job, yes… I absolutely got rejected at every salon!!! I would hear “we only hire with experience” or “service providers with clientele” etc…
But that did not discourage me from continuing to try.
For years I knew I wanted to be an esthetician and I was finally licensed. I was determined to get my dream job and whatever that took I was going to put the work in to get it.
I eventually got that opportunity just five months out of school. Prior to that, I worked at a brand new spa that was trying to build its business. Although I enjoyed that spa, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be hired by one of the biggest spas in town at the time.
I landed my dream job, and within 5 months my books were full!
This spa was transitioning their business and hiring commission only. That was okay by me, as I had only five clients, who were all friends or family. I was so ecstatic! At the time, this spa was the best place to go in town, and I had imagined it would take me years to land a spot there. But there I was, manifesting getting my then-“dream job” only five months out of school.
I worked six days a week from 9am to 8pm, just sitting and waiting for one 15 min brow wax to walk in. Within 5 months that eagerness, discipline and patience in waiting paid off. By that holiday season, the front desk was filling my books left and right!
I learned pretty quickly, that something was missing.
Every year I gained new clients, continued my education, and started to build close relationships with clients, which I had no idea came with being an esthetician. I started to see clients with a variety of different skin issues, along with age and preventive concerns.
I learned fast that the products this big “best spa in town” had me using were not cutting it!
I reached out for help and my career changed.
By this time, I had already established a relationship with California Skincare Supply by purchasing wax, but hadn’t used any of their professional skincare lines yet. Although I was under strict rules by my employer that I had to use their specific skincare line(s) in facial treatments, I just had to reach out to CSS and ask if they had any suggestions to help me achieve better results for my clients skin.
Behind my eagerness of finding solutions for different skin types was a thought: there had to be something more to help my clients skin concerns that I hadn’t already been exposed too.
By this time, while I was still in the beginning first years of my career, I had already dabbled in eight different professional skincare lines between the two spas I had worked for. Not one of those lines were cutting it in the department of correction and prevention that I was searching for for my clientele and myself.
This is when my skincare and professional relationship began with CSS and my career in esthetics took a huge shift. It’s now been a 15 year and counting relationship with CSS. I continue to be experience new lines and learn more with this company professionally as a skincare therapist, a solo business owner and now educator.
I don’t know if I would had been this successful in my career if I wasn’t exposed to all the in-depth education and knowledge CSS and Kelli have provided for me.
The training I continue to get has made all the difference in the world.
All the different lines CSS provides comes with direct access to the creators of the line. Along with the hands-on education provided by CSS, having access to these skincare line owners in the CSS booths at the trade shows or in CSS-hosted classes has been a lucky opportunity I’ve been exposed to that the big skin care lines do not offer.
I was and still am able to ask one-on-one questions directly to the brand’s creators in regards to how ingredients and skin function works. This is something I will always be grateful for.
Q: What do you wish you’d known as a new Esthetician?
I wish I knew I could have access to amazing skincare lines and education starting out, that I didn’t necessarily need the big spa name behind me.
Yes, for my experience that did help tremendously and is what I needed at the time to get me started as a new esthetician. I would never ask to do it different for myself, as I believe everything is meant to be. My experience starting out was also before social media, so this was my way to gain clients by word of mouth, and a big-name salon was needed to be behind that.
But that came with its own consequences of being in a box, restricted from ones creativity and knowledge and surrounded by competition with no mentors really wanting or trying to welcoming you in as a newbie. They were all in their own hustle as well, trying to be successful, so no fault or blame in that. But if I could do one thing different, I would avoid the struggle by starting out straight with CSS and their skincare product lines.
I’d like to encourage all estheticians to do what they want and be who they are as a professional esthetician. If going out on your own is your dream from the start, then do that! With social media it will be easier to do, and with good education and knowledge behind your craft, you will keep those clients and build rapidly. Don’t give in to the insecurity and our own human nature of fear that you aren’t good enough, with hard work and knowledge you will succeed.
Katrina’s Words of Wisdom
Instill boundaries with clients and family
This may mean charging full price to family, charging that client for no showing, have a business phone number rather than your personal phone. Whatever boundaries mean to you to keep your sanity and to not feel overwhelmed by the need to serve and please. This will not only make you more professional in building your career, but will help you stay successful by being true to yourself and to balance work with happiness. Never feel guilty for saying no.
Take lunch breaks!
This I just started a year ago. Yup, fourteen years into my career I finally take a lunch! Not stuffing food into my mouth as the client disrobes. A full break to myself. I wish I did this from the beginning. We need not only to eat in peace but the space for your brain and energy field to recalibrate.
Clients don’t just come to you because of your knowledge and craft, they also come because of you. Be real, be yourself, and you will attract the clientele that is meant for you from day one.
Don’t be scared to ask for help
Find a company that provides great support. Follow that esthetician on social media that inspires you. Go to trade-shows and don’t be intimated to introduce yourself and make new friends. If anyone understands intimidation, believe me, it’s me. I had no one starting out. I had one friend in esthetician school who married quickly after and didn’t continue with her career. I went to shows alone and when I found an esty friend years later, we still had our different ways of experiencing shows. Go to that class, even if you have to go alone. If you don’t understand the information given at the class, attend it again! I still attend repeat classes, even basic product knowledge classes, because there is always something I missed or didn’t quite get. I’ve attended the same class three times, and I always learned something new.
Lines are constantly coming up with different and creative protocols with the same products. Don’t be stagnant, don’t think you know it all. Ask questions at classes, wait for the lunch break when the creator has already eaten, and pull them aside to ask your question about skin, products or something they taught in that first lesson that didn’t fully connect for you. If you’re too timid to do that, write down the question and email it later, or call the company. There were times I was in treatment stuck and unsure, I would call CSS right then and ask what to do. Do not be afraid to ask for help! If a sales rep or product line makes you feel incompetent for asking a question, it could be that they don’t know the answer! Believe me, I have experienced the snobby booths, I still do at times.
I experience the shows I’m working, I want to see what’s out there, and I love the current shift in the industry the last few years, where more and more esthetician’s are coming together in support of each other. It doesn’t matter what line you use or work with, we all have information and knowledge to share with each other, so ask!
When I work shows with CSS, sometimes it can be difficult to get esties to come to our booth and try a demo facial. I get told no many times when I offer assistance to consumers walking around. Then the perfect estie meant for me to educate comes my way! There are times we spend hours with esthetician’s at the booth just showing demos and educating. There are so many of them I follow on social media, and I am amazed by how well-versed and educated they are just months or a year after meeting them. Suddenly their work is amazing and I find myself asking them for assistance. Now they inspire me!