Give me a brief overview of your background and why you decided to become an aesthetician?
I started into skin care because of my own skin problems. The difference for me is everything that I do now is from experience on my own skin. From going to doctors and trying different things in life to make my skin look better. As a teenager you have so many problems hormonally. A lot of people don't know how to direct it and they think they have a problem and that's the way they have to stay. It's not true. It's definitely hormonal but it's not something you can't take care of and elevate. I started getting my facials at age ten and going to dermatologists at the same time. The dermatologist gave me a lot of medication, Retin A, and different alcohol solutions to apply on my skin. This dried my skin out a lot worse and that's when I realized I needed to find a different direction. I then discovered skin care. I started getting my pores cleaned out and realized how my skin functioned. Not the medical way, but the natural way. I wanted to let everyone know that the natural way cleared my skin up. I now have compliments on my skin where before I was made fun of because of my skin. It's been a big achievement for me and I want everyone to know how I feel. I am passionate about skin care because I believe in every aspect of it. I became an aesthetician when I was 16, while I was going to school. I was still doing skin care on the side. It was tough in the beginning because people could tell I was young. I'm 25 now and I own my own day spa. It's been a big achievement for me, everything happened on its own and fell into place. I believe so strongly in what I do. I love what I do.
Did you work for someone else prior to opening your own business?
Yes. I worked for another lady and she taught me a lot. It was my passion to learn. I went to a lot of seminars and educated myself with different skin care programs. I then got into renting a station at another salon and became independent. I moved into my own little shop, and now I've moved to a bigger location.
Do you do all the skin care treatments yourself? How many people do you have on staff?
There are 3 full-time manicurists, 3 facialists, 1 electrolysis, 1 reflexologist, and a full-time massage therapist. We all work together. We each have our own clients, but work on each other's client's when needed. We work as a team.
Do you set your own schedule?
The weekends are the most hectic. I'm the owner so I'm here all the time. I live here. Everyone usually comes in around 9am and leaves close to 7pm each night. We all work, There are no set hours in this business. This is a Day Spa but we don't open or close at a set time. We accommodate our client's schedule.
How does your salon differ from the competition that's out there?
I am really happy with what I've achieved here. I think of my salon as an area for women to come in and gather. I don't think of it as just work. The spa is more than just work. Women come in here, sit outside and have coffee. They don't have to be here for a treatment either. We are close nit and when a new face comes in we bring them right into the family. It's a very homey down to earth feeling here. People don't feel intimidated walking in with ripped jeans or in a Versace suit. We don't treat anyone according to their status in life. We are here as a service business. That's what we always remember, when the competition forgets. We are highly accommodating. Whatever we need to do for the client we do it. I chose a 20's-40's setting that is old fashioned and homey. I wanted people to feel comfortable in an area they feel relaxed in and can be themselves.
Tell me how the spa works with your menu style brochure of options?
Our packages are one of the biggest sellers. We want people to feel free to purchase things "a la carte" as well. We are a small day spa so you don't have to feel like you need to spend the whole day here. People can come in for a lip wax and run out in less than 5 minutes. We are very user friendly. Busy people, busy schedules, that's where one treatment choice becomes convenient.
What do you do with a new client coming in for skin care treatment?
Always analyze the skin. If someone comes in I don't push them to get a facial. We start with a clean slate. We have programs for all types of skin. You can bring in your own products and we can weed out what we think you need to get rid of. We don't necessarily say buy all of our products and you need them right now!
What is your signature or specialty treatment?
The signature treatment is the cellulite wrap. That's an amazing treatment. Cellulite is one of the biggest battles for women. Cellulite is poor circulation where the toxins actually build up and come together as a layer of fat. The only way to remove it is liposuction. There are so many side effects of that which spread the cellulite to different areas. We do a very effective treatment and program. Most all clients see their results from it. People want short-term immediate gratification and they will get that with a one-time wrap treatment. I do everything long term, skin care, body treatments, etc. I want the person to be happy so they can tell others about it.
What type of clients do you have?
We have people from age 8-65. We have such a big range and it's quite interesting. Most all people feel comfortable here so age doesn't really matter.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
The most enjoyable part is my satisfaction from my treatments. To me facials are not just a luxury. I see the difference when I'm done and look at the client's skin. I see how smooth it is. I see the pores. I'm very meticulous about removing all congestion from the pores. Once it's gone that to me is the best part believe it or not. The relationships that I have with each one of my clients means something to me. I'm here all the time so I don't see much of my friends. I build relationships with everyone here and it's nice to get a piece from each person. That gives me enough friends to last a long time.
What's the downside of the business?
I can't complain. Negative energy is something you have to be aware of when you do hands on work. It doesn't mean someone is a bad person but we all carry negative energy. We have to understand that's it's not about us-it's their issues, and remember it's not our fault.
What advice do you have for those wanting to go into your career field?
I think this is just the beginning for skin care. It's going to shoot up very quickly because people are going to realize it's not a luxury but a necessity. I think it's a great career. Educate yourself as much as possible. Don't just be in it for the money because you won't get anything out of it. You won't get the satisfaction, which is worth more than money. Everyday when I close the doors I feel like I have changed someone's life. Your heart has to be in it or people will feel negative energy. You can't give good energy if you're not in it yourself. This is an excellent business to get into.
What type of products do you use in the salon?
We use YONKA from Paris and Paul Sherri from Switzerland. They are both aromatherapy products using plant extracts of seaweed algae. One is water based and one is an oil based product line. The reason we have 2 is you can't satisfy everyone.
What is your most common treatment?
The Aroma+ facial. This is the middle-range facial and what everyone usually gets. Everyday we have all types of treatments going on.
Belle Visage Day Spa is located at 13207-1/2 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, California. Contact Tina K for your day of pampering needs or questions at (818)907-0502.