We'll bet you've pondered a few of these questions. It can be very helpful to get a point of view from another esthetician. DeeDee Crossett, skincare professional, founder of the San Francisco Institute for Esthetics and frequent contributor to Skin Inc. magazine weighs in.
Question: “Apart from doing facials and/or working in a spa, what would you say the possibilities are for new estys or someone wanting to pursue a career in esthetics without being clear on their path.”
“I feel like now (more than ever) estheticians have numerous opportunities to specialize outside the traditional spa setting. Lash artists, waxing specialists, and makeup artists are in demand at department stores, franchise businesses and locally owned studios and spas. Doctors, clinics, and med spas are hiring estheticians as medical assistants, front desk sales, and appointment consultants. Even places like Walgreen’s, CVS, Whole Foods, and other businesses selling skincare products have inquired about hiring skincare therapists to promote retail sales. This is an amazing time to be an esthetician.
Question: "What advice do you have for estheticians that are interested in specializing (i.e., hair removal, permanent makeup, lashes, microneedling)?"
“Great question! Specialization is more popular than ever before. Clients may have an esthetician that does their lash enhancements and another that does their Brazilians! This is awesome news for those of you that want to specialize. You may even choose to attract a specific clientele based on skin condition (for example, clients with acne).
1. If you specialize, you are advertising to the world that you are focused on one segment of our craft. The assumption will be that you are exceptional at it! Practice, rehearse, study, research and KNOW as much as possible.
2. Have a list of referral skin therapists, so if a client wants a service you don’t perform, you can refer them to someone you trust, and that esthetician can refer clients back to you.
3. You may want to wait to specialize when you have the practice and clientele to back it up. Many of my grads already have a following for lashes, and they are just waiting for their license so they can practice. If you don’t have a full clientele, you may want to consider taking all appointments so you can remain profitable.
4. Whatever you choose… use your hashtags and social media to promote yourself. Ask for referrals and introduce yourself as your specialty. For example, “Hola! I’m Deedee, I’m an Acne Specialist!” Good luck to you and your business! These are very exciting times to be an esthetician!
Question: “How should estheticians in school be setting themselves up for success with the differences that come from school and the actual field?”
We call our students ‘future professionals’ because we want to encourage and promote their future in the professional industry. Show up every day looking like you should be giving health, wellness, and skin care advice. Come with hair pulled back, in dress code and no long fingernails. Be on time. Keep your kit in sanitized and working order and have it with you so you are able to give a service at any time. Practice on as many people (all races, ages, and genders) as you can while in school. Treat every client and practice facial/wax in school as if it was an interview for your dream job. In my 20 plus years of experience in education, the skin therapists that honor their craft and use every opportunity to learn are usually the most successful out in the field. Avoid using the phrase, “I’m just a student.” You are a future professional, and you’ll be licensed soon. Move towards your focus, and you’ll get there!
When choosing advanced education, ask yourself these questions.
1. Will this class help me build my business, and is it on brand with my current clientele?
2. Are you paying for information or instruction on how to use specific products or equipment? Avoid paying another company to learn to sell their products or to buy equipment. Most quality companies will give you the training you need to use their equipment and products.
3. What inspires you to learn? Is aromatherapy, acne, aging skin, hair removal, etc? If you have a strong interest in a specialty, learn everything you can!
4. My final advice on education is avoid being a critic. If you take a class, and it doesn’t resonate with you, move on to the next one. Gossiping and judging another educator doesn’t benefit anyone.
Question: “What is your best advice to help solo estheticians create their brand/business models?”
Great question! I suggest creating a dream or mood board first. Describe your clientele, your space, products used, types of services, really DREAM about your business and make it clear on paper. Make sure the space and branding match the type of client you are trying to reach. For example, if you are near a college campus and are attracting students, you would have a social media presence that is trending and fun. That would involve aspects of the college and the schedule of events would complement the campus. If you are looking to attract a high-end working-class professional, what is their age? What do they do for fun? Where do they eat dinner and where do they travel? Brand your business to attract the clientele you are looking to build. Keep it all consistent from the product line you choose, the paint color, the menu of services, the smells, the music you play… everything. I also think when you are first starting, it’s helpful to remember that you are ONE BRAND, ONE VISION. You can expand and add in more as you grow. Keep to your core competencies when you are first starting.
Question: “In an oversaturated market of esthetic devices, how do you determine what devices you should add to your treatments?”
So many times, we find ourselves going to shop for one item and then fill a whole cart with things we “have to have “and “didn’t know we needed!”
Shop for your client’s skin concerns. Know your client; what are their common concerns, what do they expect to pay, and how much time do they have per treatment? If you are looking for results for your clients and not getting them, look at your equipment and product lines. Make sure the price point, timeline and services meet your clients’ needs. If you are new and just opening up, brainstorm about who your guest is and make sure your treatments match their needs. Before shopping for equipment, check with your state board/licensing agency on approved services and modalities.
Once you decide on a piece of equipment, research the brands online, in your trade magazines and at the shows. Ask these questions:
· Where is it made?
· What is the warranty and what does it cover?
· What is the cost per treatment?
· Are training programs offered?
· What is the policy for repairs?
Once these are answered, make sure you can afford it. Avoid buying anything that is a long-term lease that keeps you in debt. Know how many treatments you need to perform to pay it off and make a profit. The final check, contact your insurance company and make sure they know you have made this purchase (and it is covered). You want the equipment covered in case of damages or theft – and your services in case of liability. Have fun researching and shopping!
Founder and owner of the San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology since 2002, Deedee Crossett is an industry pioneer for raising the bar of undergraduate education for cosmetologists and estheticians.