Ep 18 - Launching a New Business During a Pandemic: Crazy or Crazy Brilliant?

Tawna Coose

This is a must-listen-to episode for anyone who is looking to make a change. The COVID-19 pandemic has given all of us quite a bit of time to reflect on our careers. Are we doing what our hearts want? Are we working where we want to work? ASCP member Tawna Coose shares her journey into entrepreneurship during the least opportune time to launch a business.

Author Bio: 

Tawna Coose

Tawna Coose is a Colorado-licensed esthetician and the founder and owner of The Sassy Sphynx. She has more than 10 years of waxing experience, 14 years as a professional makeup artist, and is an affiliated instructor for interns at local esthetic colleges.

Until recently, Tawna was the head trainer for one of the top waxing salons in Denver. She decided it was time to move forward and start her own salon, a dream she has had since she started down the path of esthetics.

With a passion for training and a love to watch and help others grow, she is excited for this next chapter of providing one of the best waxes offered in the Denver area and to help grow and build the next generation of 5-star wax technicians!

Tawna started her career as a model while living in Florida. It didn’t take long for her to realize she loved what was happening behind the scenes much more than the modeling part. She started working for Makes and Models magazine as a stylist and makeup artist. Tawna moved to Colorado not too long after that, and decided she wanted to go to esthetics school so she could do makeup as a career.

While in school, Tawna discovered she had a knack for waxing and also loved doing it. After graduation, she continued building her makeup business and career but also got her first job right out of school as a waxing technician. Makeup was and is a success, but waxing and teaching are definitely her love and passion.

00:00 Speaker 1: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources, and education for estheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk, 'cause ASCP knows it's all about you.

00:16 Tracy Donley: Hi, guys, and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk, back to business! Let your setback be your comeback. And I am your host, Tracy Donley, Executive Director of ASCP, and today we are joined by ASCP member and licensed esthetician Tawna Coose. Let me tell you a little bit about her, you guys. So first of all, just a side note on a personal level, I had a waxer, she's my personal waxer, and I had one for longer than I was married to my second husband. And it took me forever to replace her when she left and worked for a private club. And lo and behold, two years later, I found Tawna. So let me tell you guys, she's priceless. A little background on her too, she started her career actually as a model living in Florida. And it didn't take very long, she says, to realize that she loved what was happening behind the scenes way more than the modeling part. So she started working for Makes and Models Magazine as a stylist and makeup artist, and then Tawna moved to Colorado not too long after and decided she wanted to go to school for esthetics so that she could do makeup as a career. And then while she was in school, Tawna found out that, quickly, she had a knack for waxing and loved doing it. So you guys, welcome to the show Tawna Coose! 

01:45 Tawna Coose: Thank you so much, Tracy, for having me. I really appreciate it.

01:49 TD: Absolutely, we're excited to hear from you. And part of the reason I wanted to have you on today is after the state opened up and we were able to go and have waxing services done again, I was just so impressed with the way that you have pivoted. And not to mention too, you guys... So she decided just weeks prior to everything going haywire with the pandemic, to go into business for herself, so I wanna share her story, I wanted you guys to hear from her today, and hopefully she inspires you to make some big moves and maybe adapt and pivot as well. So, first, let's just ask you some easy questions, Tawna.

02:37 TC: Perfect.

02:38 TD: Okay. So what has been your guilty pleasure during the quarantine? I always love to ask everybody this.

02:45 TC: Oh, gosh. So I guess my guilty pleasure, which I don't know if I should say or not, in the beginning was probably a little bit of day drinking, because that was before the sun came out and it was a little snowy and, have to say, as you mentioned, starting my business literally weeks before we got shut down made me maybe a little nervous. But once the sun started shining more, and... I just kept myself busy. So one of my other guilty pleasures, I guess, was just remodeling things that I put off for a long time, I now had the time to do it, and I knew starting my own business, it's gonna be a long time in the coming before I'm gonna have this time again, so I just took that time and literally built an antique barn wood wall and completely...

03:36 TD: Wow, that's a good workout, some real...

03:38 TC: Gutted my daughter's bathroom.

03:40 TD: Burning off some carbs while you're building an antique wood wall.

03:43 TC: And it also helped with the anxiety and everything else going on in a positive way, without day drinking.

03:49 TD: Very good, I love that. So on that same note, then, what was one of the things that you learned about yourself during quarantine? 

04:00 TC: That I need to have something to do all the time.

04:05 TD: I love it.

04:06 TC: My mind is nonstop, so I definitely have to have projects going on a constant...

04:12 TD: I hear you. Well, so, the big questions, here we go. Colorado opened up a couple weeks ago, so... And you're a new business owner, how are you feeling? Tell us about some of your thoughts. Are you feeling optimistic, a little nervous? What's on your mind? 

04:30 TC: So I have to say definitely I was very apprehensive and nervous opening up. I took all the necessary steps that I felt I possibly could to keep myself and my clients and everyone safe. The adjoining salon that I share is amazing, and we collaborate and we're on the same page, so that also gives me a lot of confidence. Once we were able to reopen, my optimism just... My clients have been amazing, everyone has been open, and the feedback and the amount of bookings I've had has really given me hope of all of us, of our future, that we're gonna be just fine. We just have to go with the flow of what's going on right now.

05:24 TD: So what are your clients... How are they responding to... Do some come in and seem nervous, does others come in and they're like "whatever," or... Explain what that looks like to people who haven't been able to open up yet across the country.

05:39 TC: Honestly, I have a mixture of everything. So... And I have to be understanding to all of my clients, but I definitely have the ones that are nonchalant that think it's no big deal, but they really want their wax, so they're going to comply with my new regulations. Everyone has been fantastic. I have not had one pushback, which I am really thankful for. I do have clients who are more apprehensive, say they're either older or they do have underlying health conditions. I take that into consideration. And with my bookings, where I have now spaced them out way further than I ever used to, I either bring them in first thing in the morning, I bring them in on a day where maybe I only have one or two clients... So that way they feel comfortable coming in to just an environment where no one else has been that day.

06:31 TD: Oh, I like that. So really thinking... Being very thoughtful about how you're booking your clients and who they are.

06:38 TC: Very thoughtful. And I guess right now where I am in my business, I'm really lucky that I can do that, and I can just come in on days to make my clients feel comfortable. And on the other hand, I have my medical professionals who come in, who handle it on a day-to-day basis. And they're not nonchalant, they're very appreciative of all the steps that I've taken and are very comfortable and getting their feedback is number one for me of how I have gone about getting everything ready for my business, just listening to their stories and how they handle it in the hospitals, in the clinics, and everything else, because in my environment, it's very medical, which I have already viewed it that way, so I just had to take the extra couple of steps, but it's definitely an environment you have to keep very disinfected and clean at all times anyways.

07:30 TD: Yeah, that's really interesting. I guess I haven't thought so much about... Yeah, you're gonna see people who are frontline workers, you... They're your clients too. So that's so interesting. How do you feel? Do you feel any more nervous since they maybe are more likely to have been exposed to the virus? 

07:51 TC: Actually, I feel like they give me more confidence in what I'm doing.

07:57 TD: Oh, interesting...

08:00 TC: As far as, they come in, they're fine, they've been around people, exposed, and it's basically learning about the PPE, which is why I never wore scrubs before, as you know. Now I wear scrubs, and that's just one extra step that I can take. And aprons, I have disposable... My disposable face masks are finally coming in, and that's something that I'm changing out, in that now if I have any clients that don't feel comfortable doing their breathing in their cloth masks, I can still give them a mask that's easier to breath in for them, but it still keeps us all protected.

08:38 TD: I love that, that's great. Let's back up a little bit, 'cause I don't think that we really shared your protocol for when clients arrive. So when they arrive to even your parking lot, can you walk us through that, 'cause I was really impressed with the coordination that you guys had there.

08:56 TC: Thank you. Yes. And that's one thing to ease our own minds, 'cause we all have families as well, and this virus is so all over the place, it's so unknown. So first thing off, is I sent an email to all my clients, just letting them know what to expect, that when they show up at the parking lot, if they do come up to the front door, it's gonna be locked. There is a sign outside to where they can call or text me.

09:24 TD: And it's a very cute one, by the way, everyone, just so you know, it's very cute.

09:28 TC: Thank you. We have to keep everything cute. I mean, come on, we're still in the beauty business. And we did get some of the plastic chairs, so there is a plastic chair outside, now that it's beautiful, so if they don't wanna wait in their cars, they can wait in that chair. Each person, after, is sanitized before and after. Once we get the text, if I'm not with a client, I will meet them at the door, I will open the door for them, I will take their temperature. If their temperature is fine, they come in, I shut and lock the door, and then they come just directly into my suite, where another direction would lead into the hair salon. From there, I have them sanitized, I have disinfected clipboards and pens for them to take. Once they fill out their paperwork, I take that from them, I put their pens into a "dirty" jar. I direct them into the room where I have individual wipes, there is no wipes where anybody's touching it more than once. So as many as they need, there's a whole variety for men and women.

10:31 TD: Yeah, they're pre-packaged...

10:32 TC: Pre-packaged.

10:33 TD: So it's not like one of those big Clorox, pull a wipe out, it's just their own little individual wipe, I love that.

10:40 TC: Exactly, and with those wipes, you just... The cross-contamination you can get with a community pack like that, at any time before COVID, is just not a safe procedure, I feel like, when you're dealing with bodily fluids and things like that, with waxing, where people are cleaning themselves in an intimate area. So that way, if anybody has any sensitivities, we have scents, non scents, anyways, all of those different ones. From there, I will go and wash my hands while they are getting ready.

11:16 TD: Yeah, I love it, you can really see... As the client, you can see that that's what you're doing, so that, as a client, gives you this sense of, okay, you feel like you're getting into the rhythm and it's just setting up that trust.

11:32 TC: Exactly, and which hand-washing is always a big, important part of our business. But I make sure to wash, like you said, just so the clients know as well, that is what I'm doing right before I go into the room with them, as well as sanitizing before I put my gloves on. We all wear masks. Of course, any service that requires them to take their masks off, we cannot do right now. So nose, lip, chin, unfortunately, but listen, I tell my ladies, nobody's seeing it anyways.

12:02 TD: That's so true.

12:03 TC: And if we're gonna wax it and you're putting a mask on, there's a chance that you're gonna have breakouts. So it's best, just leave it alone, if they need to tweeze, they can tweeze. But for right now, it's probably best we're not doing anything on the lower face, because we are keeping it covered all the time.

12:21 TD: Well, let's talk a little bit too about... You mentioned, yeah, you're not doing lip and chin and face and cheeks and things like that anymore. How have you adapted the services that you now are offering? 

12:38 TC: So I've been a makeup artist for 13, 14 years. And so I've always had a passion for more of the grand art of makeup, but I really understand the dynamics of brows and what they can do for a face or take away from a face if they're not done correctly. But I have always shied away from lashes, and not that I don't like doing them, maybe I'm just a little too ADD to have the patience to sit down and do them.

13:08 TD: It is a craft, that is for sure. I can't imagine.

13:11 TC: It is a craft. And I super appreciate the ladies that do it. It is just... I guess we all have our specialties.

13:20 TD: Yeah, and thank God that we do, right? 

13:21 TC: Exactly.

13:22 TD: If we didn't, then we'd all be the same, so it's great.

13:26 TC: And I love bringing in the ladies that have their specialties. That's what makes you the best to come to. But I did decide to get certified in lash lifts, and I've already done lash tints for years, and then the new trend of brow lamination. Which I have to say, for myself, I tried it on when I was in quarantine, when I was getting my certification, and I am definitely hooked on the brow lamination. I did not have to do anything to my brows for eight weeks, except gel them. It was fabulous.

13:57 TD: I am so excited, I'm definitely coming in to get that done. I've got my dad's eyebrows, which sounds so disgusting, right, man's eyebrows? But they're like those crazy wild ones, I need them to calm down.

14:08 TC: And that's where this procedure is absolutely amazing, because you could either just smooth them out or you could literally do a straightening perm on them. So it's really... I was really impressed when I was doing research, which is one of the things I always do in quarantine... I always do anyways, but in quarantine I really was researching trends. And my big comeback was, everybody's gonna... We're gonna have to wear masks for a really long time. This isn't gonna go away for a while. So we really need to accentuate our eyes.

14:39 TD: Yeah, and with saying that, I was thinking about that. What if you actually did even makeup lessons for eyes? Because a lot of us... Like for me, perfect example, I always just focus on putting a big lip on, which that is ridiculous now, no one sees my lip at all. But how about giving some eyeshadow or eye lessons to people? 

15:06 TC: Honestly, that's one thing that I have really been considering. I'm already setting up and working with an intern, makeup classes, and I've already started working with her. And I have done makeup classes in the past, but I guess like I said, I turned my focus on waxing for a long time, but now that I have my own shop, I can go back into that. And I love teaching, and I would love... Actually, that, I would love to hold lessons, so that's something that I might actually offer here in the near future. So I will definitely keep you posted on that.

15:39 TD: Yes, sign me up for that too, I'm so excited.

15:42 TC: 'Cause honestly, it's just the smallest little tweaks, and that's all we need. We don't all need the huge...

15:50 TD: Dynasty eyes? 

15:51 TC: Eye makeovers where... Exactly, where it takes an hour to do our eyes. Not at all. For work, I literally have... I try to be done with my face in 10 minutes or less.

16:02 TD: Yeah, no, I get that, for sure. I just keep thinking about, I wonder if Dynasty eyes will come back, or maybe Cyndi Lauper eyes? You can tell I'm a product of the 80's, but...

16:12 TC: Oh, girl, me too. And I tell you, everything makes its comeback. So I am sure we're gonna see some really dramatic eyes, as well with the dramatic masks, which I have to say, I already ordered my sequins glitter mask, so...

16:26 TD: I love it. Oh my gosh, I love it, yeah. You gotta have a little bit of pizazz, right? 

16:33 TC: We've gotta make the best out of every situation, and that's the thing, we just have to adapt and really just try to support each other and... What can we do but just be positive and get through it together? 

16:48 TD: Yeah, for sure. Just, now that you mentioned the sequin mask, you have to tell everybody where you got it, 'cause I know that they're gonna be listening to this podcast going, "I want a sequin mask!"

17:00 TC: So, it's so terrible, I don't know the seller, but Etsy, of course.

17:02 TD: Okay, so go on Etsy...

17:03 TC: Etsy. Yep... I try... I didn't get to support as many small businesses during this whole COVID shutdown while I was ordering stuff for my business. Mostly I had to go through Amazon. So things that I can now, masks and just... Even some of the products I'm gonna start carrying, I found this wholesale distributor called Faire, F-A-I-R-E.com. They actually, they're a wholesale supplier that supports small, handmade, just local vendors.

17:40 TD: I love that.

17:41 TC: It is amazing! You could even go, say, I want women-owned, who's economic-friendly, who has a social support... Or they support some sort of social outreach. Colorado, if we're looking for Colorado, which of course I am, being in Colorado, I really wanna support our local vendors. So I was able to find an awesome little candle maker out of Denver... I burn candles all the time, so why not sell what I burn? And just a place like that, now that's gonna be one of my focuses, is just finding little local companies that I can highlight.

18:19 TD: And source, yeah. And feel really good about it.

18:23 TC: Absolutely, and get them back on track as well.

18:26 TD: Talk a little bit... Now we're getting into the retail world. What is retail gonna look like for you? I think retail's gonna become more and more important, and talk a little bit about that with us.

18:41 TC: It is going to be very important, and I have to say, being a business owner, I definitely have to switch my mindset, and not that I wasn't a retailer, I'm definitely a retailer, as far as if I... I'm always gonna be that person that, if I suggest it to you, I really feel you need it.

19:00 TD: Right. Yeah, I know you. Yes, that's so true. [laughter]

19:02 TC: I've spent my whole life in retail, I was in retail management for years, so needless to say, when I became an esthetician, the last thing I wanted to do was retail. But saying that, I have a different mindset, and one of my retailing is, like I told you, is just finding other local companies. As Coloradans, we absolutely love to support small, local businesses.

19:26 TD: We do. We love it.

19:28 TC: We love it. And that's what I love about Colorado. We're going on 13 years, living here now, and I just... This place is amazing, so we're just retailing that, so just burning our candles, introducing this product. Just like the new laminations and the lifts, just supplying them with the after products that I didn't carry before.

19:51 TD: Yeah, that was my biggest question, is, what does that look like? Is it gonna be retail, like jewelry and candles and fun gift-type items, boutiquey items, or is it gonna be items for good at-home care, or self-care? What does that break down look like, for you? 

20:09 TC: And I know everybody is probably a little different, and I think, down the line, when things aren't so strict, the... Adjoining salon, and I would love to share a space and get a little more boutiquey. My space is a little small and I... I really care about my client's after-care, right now, I definitely like boutiquey, with candles and things like that, that is still kind of all going with the health and wellness, of our being. But still mostly focusing on skin care, from waxing or from the lash lifts and after-care, and really focusing on that and possibly bringing in a skin care line. I'm really loving CBD right now, and doing tons of research, which I know you and I have talked about, and I'm sure we will talk about more in-depth, in the future. But there's a company, locally, that I know they're coming out with their own skin care line, that hopefully, here in the near future, I can have more information about. But I think bringing CBD into my salon is gonna be one of the next steps for after-care and...

21:18 TD: Yeah, I love that, 'cause one of the things that I love that you do in the treatment, is the post-care, that you'll put on CBD oil after the wax, to calm the skin and chill it out a little bit, so I love that.

21:33 TC: It's wonderful. And everybody is different. Obviously, our skin, Colorado is not kind to us.

21:41 TD: It's a little dry. Yeah.

21:42 TC: And everyone's different. So yeah, I always make sure to have the post-care from... Everybody gets witch hazel, to PFB, which is my go-to, that has salicylic, glycolic, lactic acids, for those ones that really have trouble, but then, I do offer the oils. CBD, like I said, is my go-to, but I do have the clients who, regardless of it being 100% THC free, they're apprehensive, because they have government jobs and things like that, so then I offer a fur oil, which I love too, 'cause it has the tea trees and the other great, after-care essential oils that are all natural as well, but it gives those alternatives to someone who really can't or don't want to use any sort of CBD products, as of yet.

22:28 TD: Hey guys, I need to take a quick break to tell you about our bi-monthly digital magazine, created just for you, the independent esthetician. It's Skin Deep Magazine. The digital edition is free to all licensed estheticians. What? That's right. Its free. Now, if you're an ASCP member, and you really should, be an ASCP member, you get the beautiful print version of Skin Deep Magazine, as a part of membership. This magazine is chocked full of resources, techniques and science, from the top professionals inside and outside the industry. So, go to ascpskindeepdigital.com and subscribe today. It is free, and that link will be in the show notes, so, check it out. Let's get back to the chat.

23:19 TD: How long have you been thinking about starting your own business? How long? 

23:24 TC: Honestly, that was my dream, before I even got into esthetics. I'm just an entrepreneur. I think, some of us... I'm just the type of person, I... I'm always driven and I always have to grow, and so, I feel like the only way that I can continue doing that, is working for myself. Granted, I just... Taking a while, building my craft, really becoming confident in the technician that I was, and getting to the level that I felt like I could be the leader and teacher that I wanted to be, and probably about a year ago, is when I knew I was ready. And the place that I was working with, I gave the opportunity to possibly partner up, which, in this industry, like I said, I really wanna just continue lifting everybody up, that didn't work out. They... As a wonderful sister team. And so, that's when I decided to come out on my own, and I... Everything has, even during this pandemic, has been a really great and growing experience, on top of management and leadership that I've already had, going from that to an owner is definitely different, but has been so... Everything, I guess, I had dreamed it was going to be, and I know it's just gonna continue getting better.

24:49 TD: I think it's really interesting too how you know it's right and it's meant to be when things just fall into place in the beginning, and it seems like that's what's happening for you. Even though there's challenges, it seems like it's sorting itself out.

25:07 TC: Really... And whatever energies, or whatever's out in the universe... So the adjoining salon, Mallory, Design dei Capelli, we have worked since I was in school together, and she's an amazing stylist, and she was always my go-to stylist and I was her makeup artist. So for the past nine years, we've done weddings, fashion shows, and we've done all of this stuff together. But we probably hadn't done anything together for about a year, and then she called me up, and she's like, "Let's just have fun and get creative." This was in January, and she had just expanded her salon, and like you said, as far as timing and everything, it just seemed to fall into place to where we looked at each other and we're like, let's make this happen! 

25:51 TD: I love that.

25:53 TC: So she definitely... I really owe her a big, big gratitude for her kickstarting where I am now, because then, about three... After we got shut down, the space in front of hers opened up, with the one that I was sending out good vibes for, yes...

26:10 TD: That's what I think is so... Yes! That's what I think is so amazing. I remember going to the space when you were over in the salon space more and thinking... We said, we were like, "Oh my gosh, wouldn't it be great if this little space opened up?" And you guys were like, "Oh, they've been there forever, I don't know," and then, "Oop!"

26:32 TC: And like you said, it just... The timing, and I just feel like everything was meant to be at this time, and our partnership together is just seamless of how we... Our clients... Just everything we have put together, and sharing an entryway. And I am just... Feel incredibly blessed, and with someone who has the passion of teaching and supporting other just stylists and people in the industry to where we need to bring that back, we've lost that somewhere along the way, and we just need to be women supporting women and to see her bring someone in who has a salon literally two miles down the road and support her, I just know I'm in the right place. And that's what we wanna do, is we really wanna build this industry in Colorado as not a competition, but as all of us coming together and really just building this beautiful industry of women supporting women.

27:29 TD: I love that, and I think also, too, one of the interesting things that's COVID and the pandemic, COVID-19 and the pandemic are bringing and spotlighting the profession more, right? Because I think a lot of government officials and legislators and things like that didn't really think so much about the profession. And I think if everyone out there is really representing themselves as their true self and building each other up, we have a great chance to just be out there and really put a good name to the profession.

28:04 TC: Oh, exactly, and really put a good name to the profession, because like you said, I think that we've been under the radar for a really long time, to the fact that I've listened and followed to where they've talked about not even requiring licenses for certain modalities. And that's really scary, and when I think something like this really brings a spotlight to how careful and clean we have to be in this industry regardless of a pandemic. So hopefully it does spotlight the fact that we are licensed professionals, we do go to school, and the majority of us really do take this seriously, because it's our livelihood. Our clients are our livelihood.

28:51 TD: Right, and I think that's the thing too, is that I would say the majority of estheticians, licensed estheticians that I know out there, even though it is not required in most states for them to have continuing education, they do it all the time. They're always on a quest for more education, more knowledge, going deeper into understanding the skin and all the different ingredients, and I just think... I really hope that the world, that the United States, that everyone out there really gets a good glimpse into how brilliant all the estheticians are out there.

29:27 TC: I agree, and thank you, Tracy, for having something like this that does. It does focus and highlight our everyday ins and outs of the industry.

29:39 TD: Yep, well, that's what we're trying to do, and just bring as much education to people as we can. And with that note, too, what advice would you... You've done it so fluidly, so beautifully so far, what advice would you give to an esthetician who's looking to make the leap and go into business and work for themself? What are some of the things they need to have on their checklist? What resources, inspiration... I know those are lots of questions.

30:11 TC: So I guess I'll just take it from my experience and when I felt like I knew it was time. One thing is, I have amazing clients. And my client following was just beyond belief, and I don't even know if I've lost anybody in the move, and I moved quite a... Quite a few miles away from my salon, and so that alone was huge. The management background, the leadership, I think you definitely have to have experience. You can't just jump out of school. Some people can, but I feel like if you do, you have to partner with someone with experience, as you really have to understand the different levels and from the bottom up, no matter what. You can't be afraid to scrub that floor and change that trash as an owner. All the way around, no matter if you're working with an intern, I will change her trash and I will clean that floor. So setting that environment and really just having that humble attitude, and that work ethic of I'll work day and night, I wake up at 2:00 in the morning and get on the computer 'cause I can't sleep 'cause something was on my mind.

31:30 TD: Yeah, so like really having that, I'm gonna get this done no matter what it takes, I'm not gonna... If you want an eight-hour day then this might... Ownership may not be for you 'cause it might be a 12-hour days some days, it might be seven days a week.

31:47 TC: You really have to have a passion. Exactly and truly, truly understand that your business is not you, it is your clientele, it is your employees, it is everything that you build around you is your business and so really that's what you have to look at, at yourself as a leader whether it's one person or 20 people and I think that's the huge part, is just having the respect for everybody who makes your business possible.

32:17 TD: So how about a checklist? Let's get into the nitty-gritty especially right now 'cause it might be difficult. Did you... You had to go get a business license, did you talk to a CPA? Bankers? What were some of those things on your checklist, did you have to make sure you had your insurance from... Up to date from ASCP? 

32:38 TC: I did and I have been with ASCP for a long time even just with my makeup artist business 'cause traveling around and just putting products on people, you wanna make sure you're covered. So yes, I have definitely been on that game for a long time. Yeah, just so first steps is just getting the business license, doing tons and tons of research, talking to professionals, talking to CPAs, all of the above. I went on Legal Zoom, I got some advice from them. My husband used to be in the financial world.

33:15 TD: Oh, that's nice, that's helpful.

33:16 TC: That definitely helped a little bit there too. So yeah, just really tons of research. I think I was on the computer probably for a month straight of just... And that's all it is, is just filing and getting everything done and all of that but there's tons of resources.

33:34 TD: Yeah, how did you decide how to price your services? You said that you did move to a different city, did that matter? How did you make that decision? How do you look at pricing your services? 

33:48 TC: I definitely did some research and didn't want to go too over-price but I also know that I have been in the business for many years and so I just kind of fell within that median range of where most of the main salons are, right around the $60 range for Brazilian and then I will... I'll start offering packages that will either give you a half-off one or a whole Brazilian for free and things like that and I will start offering things... Right now I send out random coupons just to get people back in 'cause I know everybody is struggling right now, it's not just us, this has affected everyone and so just bringing them in but I think just doing research and finding that middle ground and my experience, and then now going forward so if I start having interns, when I start having them wax or even new waxers depending on their experience I might have a separate pricing level, definitely for interns in training but for different experiences but that's something that's kind of in the works.

34:55 TD: That makes sense though because then you're giving... You're giving your clients options.

35:00 TC: Absolutely you have that waxer, who's been waxing for 10 years, they really don't feel it, they just wanna get in and make sure that someone knows what they're doing and does a good job but it doesn't matter if someone has 10 years experience or a year experience, they'd rather just go in and pay a lot less if they can, so I would like to be able to offer that to those clients for sure.

35:24 TD: I don't think I'm ever gonna take you up on that, I'm gonna stick with that experienced waxer so I can get in and get out.

35:29 TC: I completely understand that. [chuckle]

35:33 TD: So the services that you're offering now, you're doing the lash lifting, the tinting, the brow tinting, the lamination, you're also doing waxing, everything, except for under the mask basically, are you doing male clients as well or just female? 

35:50 TC: Yes.

35:50 TD: Male as well, okay.

35:51 TC: We're a gender inclusive salon and so anybody who... I don't want them to feel like if there's not a service on there that they feel comfortable with, give me a call, we are completely inclusive and I want everybody to feel comfortable coming in. So waxing for everybody and then we also are offering spray tanning.

36:10 TD: Oh, okay, great.

36:12 TC: We've all been locked inside, we do have been able to get out a little bit but I don't think the tanning salons are quite open.

36:20 TD: Yeah, so I guess one of the biggest questions that maybe a lot of people are asking right now is, what challenges do you see in the future as it relates to your career and COVID-19? 

36:35 TC: As silly as it sounds is I'm a huge hugger so that kind of sucks right now.


36:41 TD: I know. I know I'm afraid, I feel like I need to have someone put a shock collar on me. Because I'm like... I need to... If I get into someone's zone and their space, I need to be shocked or something.

36:53 TC: We all know how it is in this industry and we've had clients... I've had some clients for seven years and if I haven't seen them for three months, like you said, I need a shock collar 'cause I'm just like, "Let me take your temperature, I wanna give you a hug!" and it's like, "Oh no, I can't. Air-hug."

37:08 TD: Oh, I know.

37:09 TC: On a serious note, I really think just watching how my clients have been, just reopening has given me a lot of hope that we're gonna be just fine as long as everybody can just implement these new regulations and just make it our new norm. It can't hurt, just extra sanitizing, extra disinfecting, extra clean for everybody. And I think as long as we can continue doing that, we're gonna be fine. We just have to adapt and continue supporting each other, for sure.

37:44 TD: Do you have any concerns about the talk about in fourth quarter when the flu comes around and then we pair it up with COVID-19, do you have any concerns about another shutdown, and if so, how are you preparing your business for that? 

38:02 TC: It is a concern of mine. A big part is, I am definitely going to... I'm gonna be trying to put back as much cash, I guess, as possible.

38:12 TD: Yeah, that's smart.

38:13 TC: Just in case, and then really just setting a hard retail game and hoping that if that happens again, that I can start selling things more online and doing the deliveries and doing things that I know other salons were doing that I didn't have to, because I had just opened up.

38:35 TD: Any other advice that you would want to share with estheticians out there that are getting started, considering getting started, or just even a resource that could help them during this time if they're trying to decide if they wanna open their doors up to seeing clients once their state says they can, or not? 

38:56 TC: So, yeah, honestly, I think everybody, it's a personal decision. And I know I say that, and that's easier said than done when you're a business owner and you have to get your doors open and you have to go start getting those clients back in your doors 'cause they wanna come back and see you. I would just say do as much online research, CDC, there's so many resources. I've listened to so many webinars, I think, my brain wants to explode.

39:26 TD: Webinars, yeah.

39:28 TC: But it's also fantastic because you get pieces of different industries. I even listen to just hair industries, because regardless, it's the salon industry. And just getting different ideas from people and always being open to new suggestions, new ideas for improvement. And that's what... I'm still getting on and listening to webinars and seeing if there's anything else I can add that I'm not currently doing. And it's just little things, like I bought an ozone generator with an air purifier that I can really clean the air when I shut down the salon every day, and just small things like that, anything that...

40:04 TD: They're above and beyond. They're above and beyond, yeah.

40:07 TC: Above and beyond that will give you peace of mind that you can show your clients and give them peace of mind. Regardless, this is our new reality, and we just have to move forward in the safest possible way. And more than anything, just always be aware of everything we touch, everything our clients touch. And it's just our new norm. And that's where, once you feel comfortable that you have everything in place, you should be fine. So far we've been great. The other states we're watching that have reopened, they don't seem to have huge spikes, so I'm definitely very optimistic of how it's been going so far with us coming up on, what, we've been three weeks now, almost. Yeah.

40:55 TD: Well, let me tell you, lady, you are a class act, and I am so appreciative that you came on to share everything that's going on, and just being very honest and candid and open with us, we really appreciate that, and we want the most success for you. I personally want tons of success for you, and we're definitely gonna keep talking to you about other things. But before we close, wanted to see if you would... What resource would you recommend to our members to check out? So this could be a personal resource, it could be a book, it could be a Netflix binge, it could be anything. What two resources would you wanna share with our listeners? 

41:36 TC: So this is more for the hair industry, but I've gotta plug 123 Go, it's the seminar that I went to. And they are absolutely amazing. They give so much information of not only how to run your business, manage your business, but it's for all spectrum of leadership in the salon industry, and these guys have been in the business for many, many years, and they will take out their time and have a Zoom call with you if you have a question about training [42:07] ____. So that is definitely one resource I constantly go back to, and they are just full of a ton of information. So I would say definitely check them out, even though they're mostly hair. I'm always plugging them for the skin industry, so we might be able to get some leaders out there in the skin industry, but regardless, they really give you a lot of insight on running a salon, so I've learned a lot from them.

42:34 TD: That's great, I love it. Is there anybody on social media that you are obsessed with right now or following or a blog or a podcast that you're listening to? 

42:45 TC: I have to say, I'm so terrible with social media.

42:48 TD: Says the business owner, we'll see next year if you're saying that.

42:52 TC: Right? So that's where I know my strengths and my weaknesses, so I will be hiring somebody who has a really strong social media influence or something hopefully here in the near future, so...

43:05 TD: Brilliant. And you know what, that's a tip on its own. Know what you're not great at, and hire someone smarter than you, right? 

43:14 TC: Absolutely, absolutely.

43:16 TD: That's a great tip.

43:17 TC: Absolutely, I do not wanna be a one-woman show.

43:18 TD: You don't have to be great at everything. No.

43:18 TC: Trust me, if I can delegate, I will delegate, and I'll stick to what I'm great at.

43:23 TD: I love it. Well, tell our listeners where they can find you. Tell us your website, your email handle... You don't have to share your email, that could get crazy. But just anything, where they can find you if they wanna reach out to you.

43:40 TC: Perfect. So my website is sassysphynx.com, and that's Sphynx with a Y, S-P-H-Y-N-X, and my Instagram and Facebook are both @thesassysphynxwaxing. So I do have some posts on there. Like I said, hopefully I'll be getting better at the whole social media, but that's one thing, that's why I have a couple daughters in their 20s that I'm hoping to...

44:06 TD: Oh, keep it in the family, yeah.

44:07 TC: Right? 

44:08 TD: Yeah, I love it.

44:10 TC: They get free waxing, so why not right now? 

44:13 TD: That's for sure. Well, thank you so much, this has been wonderful. We look forward to just catching up with you in maybe the next few months and see how things are going.

44:24 TC: That sounds great, and I appreciate you so much, Tracy, for having me on and highlighting all of this, I really do.

44:29 TD: Wonderful. Well, thanks, have a good one, bye! 

44:32 TC: All right, bye-bye.

44:35 S1: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more, subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all-inclusive association for estheticians that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights, and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join at ASCPskincare.com, only $259 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows, it's all about you!

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