Welcome to our new blog series, Ask An Esthie! We want to spotlight the talented, dedicated members of our community, and encourage Estheticians to share knowledge, provide support, and cheer each other on!
This month’s Ask An Esthetician is Michelle Sollid, an Esthetician and Lash Stylist with over 20 years of experience!
Q. When and why did you go into business?
I opened my shop in 2011, although I have been in the business much longer than this. I wanted to provide a safe space for women to relax their bodies, refresh their skin, and hopefully, restore their mental state a little…lol. I had worked for others in the past for many years, and really wanted to work with my clients in my own way, in the way they needed me to.
Self care isn’t singular. It isn’t cookie cutter. Sometimes my client needs to talk, sometimes they need to cry, sometimes they need to sleep… and it’s okay. Sometimes my hands are the only hands that touch them. It takes a special person to understand all of these things. I care for these people so very much, and they know it. Everyone’s needs are different, and everyone’s needs are different every time they come in.
I wanted to create an environment that was safe for my clients. I don’t want to be told how to do someone’s treatment, or what treatment to give them. The only person that I take orders from is the person that lays on my table. I customize everything I do, and it’s rare that I ever do anything the same. The magic comes from making their experience everything that they love. From scent to lighting, to warm towels, to listening. It isn’t just about skin. It’s about more for me.
Q. What do you wish you’d known as a brand new esthetician?
I wish I would have known as new esthie that clients can’t actually be friends. They become very friendly, but sadly, cannot be friends. There may be a slight few that are exceptions, but it has been a very tough lesson over the years. You would think that I should have learned my lesson by now! Some try to get close as a way to use you, and others just have soft boundaries.
I tend not to be a social person, so the most socializing I get is in the treatment room… But don’t mistake a client confiding all their secrets to mean “you’re my new best friend!” Maintain a professional schedule. Don’t take calls on off hours.
Q. What is your advice for anyone looking to succeed in this industry long-term?
Pick treatments, and be ferociously great at it. Add maybe 1 or 2 new services each year. Don’t pile on a bunch of stuff all at once. Give yourself time to get really good at something before adding something new. You don’t start off in the industry as a premium Esthetician. It takes years of experience and dedication to your craft.
Working with clients is a whole new ball game out in the field. Find a mentor or two. Don’t be afraid of competition. Forge partnerships. Get your hands on as much reading material as you can. People will come to you partly for your personality, and partly for your knowledge. Be very well informed about your treatments. Do not try to sell something to someone that doesn’t need it. Be genuine and authentic. Be informative. Always seek out education. If you stop learning and growing, your business will do the same.
I cannot make it without selling product. Know your ingredients! Find product lines that resonate with you. Understand how the ingredients work in the skin and how to sell them. This has been my greatest pleasure. I love it so much! It’s quite possibly why I sell so much. My clients get great results with their home care routine, and it compliments the treatment room results very well. You risk losing trust if you are selling product to a client that isn’t right for them.
Understand how the skin functions and Know. Your. Ingredients. It’s my most valuable advice. There will always be a new product line. Always a new trend. But if you are already knowledgeable about how the skin functions, and how ingredients work with that functioning, it will help to steer you around all the noise.
Stay true to who you are as an esthetician. Stay within your scope. Don’t make big promises. We beautify the skin. It’s ok to say that something is out of your scope. Refer out to someone who can help. This will add value to your image. Promise. Listen to your clients.
Don’t start your business discounting your services. Discount product here and there, but don’t sell yourself short. I’ve survived all these years and never have lowered my prices. I will discount bundle deals, but thats where I draw the line. I’m a premium esthie, and my clients pay for that.
Start your prices low in the beginning and as you build your experience, and your treatments, you can increase your prices. Know your ROI’s. Partner with your reps. Know your demographic. Understand what the cost is per treatment. I get a little excited sometimes when I’m working with someone and we are starting from scratch with all new products. It’s like a surge of endorphins or something…lol. Most everyone makes the comment to me that they can feel my passion. They know exactly where I’m coming from. And I dig that.
You lay on my cozy table. You are the center of my world when you are here. No phone. No nothing. Nice music. The waterfall. And I’m completely planning the next year of treatments for you! It’s incredible to be in the presence of someone who is completely passionate about what they are doing. The energy is tangible! Have you ever felt that? It is a great compliment when someone recognizes that in me.
Find Michelle on Instagram at @relax.refresh.restore
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