written by Marya Khalil-Otto and featured in Dermascope May 2022 Class Not Dismissed Column
The law of attraction is simple: if one focuses on what one wants, it will ultimately come. This mirrors the phrase, "Good things come to those who wait," even though good things often come to those who go after them. This is ideally the case of individuals who find themselves against the odds of success. When considering taking over or leading a skin care business, it takes more than inspirational quotes and positive mantras. Generally, when determining the core of a skin care business's mission and values, it comes down to the passion and hard work that drives each spa owner and allows them to be picky in targeting their ideal client base.
Additionally, by staying present, spas can adjust to trends and recognize gaps that need to be filled. By staying persistent, they can partner with brands that formulate the best products, which will ultimately serve clients. Whether one is a savvy skin care professional who loves the thrill of the sale or a practitioner with the heart of a servant who cannot imagine pushing products, here are some tips that can help spa professionals target their dream demographic.
Taking a high-profile skin professional as an example, Sandra Lee, MD, or Dr. Pimple Popper is clearly passionate about extractions. She has parlayed that passion into an incredible career and has a celebrity-like status that extends well beyond dermatology. Aesthetic practitioners should find the aspect they are truly passionate about in their careers. Whether it is attending continuing education classes and being an encyclopedia of skin care knowledge or introducing clients to new products and practices, they should think back to the spark that got them started in the first place. Perhaps they struggled with a persistent condition like rosacea and want to focus on helping others in similar situations. Maybe they are frustrated by the lack of specialized skin care for darker skin. Identifying one's passion does not have to be complicated, but it must be the truest reflection of oneself.
Pickiness is given a negative connotation, often associated with a child pushing peas around on their plate. It is time this concept rebranded because being picky is marketing 101. It is never advised to market to everyone, as this will lead to marketing to no one.
True pioneers in any industry take pride in thinking differently. (Just ask 1980s Apple computers in a world full of IBMs). Spa owners must get picky about the community of people they want to serve, the treatments on their menu, and the products on their back bar and retail space. Clients cannot be expected to believe in a professional who does not believe in their products and whose treatment menu items are not serving a purpose. Getting picky can help pinpoint a spa's identity and how they want to be perceived.
There is always something shiny and new happening in skin care, but there has also never been so much misinformation immediately available. Rather than following every new trend, professionals can consider speaking and consulting with dermatologists and doctors that are aware of the client experience and effective products or treatments. Speaking with them will make it easy for professionals to understand what is working, not working, and the gaps spas could fill with their service menus and available products. The goal is to find out what the ideal client wants and needs, and medical professionals are a great place to start on a spa's delivery. These interactions may also lead to long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. Current clients will feel seen and heard, and a new set of bookings will roll in thanks to word of-mouth from happy clients.
Every skin care professional was new at some point and eager to get their first job. It is possible that they applied for quite a few positions and despite their talent, training, passion, and the odds, they were not offered a position. Instead of quitting, they persisted in their pursuit of landing that dream position because they were invested. Now, that same persistence must be applied to pull in the spa professional's dream demographic. This is more than possible since many experienced professionals have achieved this ambition. The most important indicator of success is showing tenacity to get what one wants.
Don’t let a bad review cause panic. Redirect that energy by calling the client, listening to their experience, and inviting them back to make it right. Use loyal clients as a resource to attract other likeminded clients. When nervous about a new device or product treatment, get back in class and get trained. Most importantly, do not get overwhelmed. While licensed professionals in charge of a skin care business may love having their hands deep in all the moving parts of their company, in the words of Desmond Tutu, "There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time." Professionals should therefore target their dream demographic the same way they learned about skin in school, one chapter at a time. This not only prevents burnout but is an easier way to measure victories along the way.
Marya Khalil is the chief executive officer for the globally recognized Vitality Institute. Khalil officially joined the VI Peel company after graduating from New York University in 2008 and stepped into the role of CEO and president in 2013 at the age of 25. Under her leadership, the VI Peel brand has expanded to include 5 medical grade formulations customized for specific skin conditions. In 2019, Aesthetics Everything named VI Peel the number one chemical peel brand and Khalil the top CEO.