Whether you are a recent graduate starting your esthetics journey or have been practicing for years, we can all use tips and tricks to get ahead in business. In this episode of ASCP Esty Talk, we sit down with Shauna Blanch, COO and founder of Color Up Skin Care, and Ashley Deckard, owner of a. d. esthetics and assistant director of education at Color Up, to hear their pro tips for boosting business.
ASCP Esty Talk with Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman
Produced by Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) for licensed estheticians, ASCP Esty Talk is a weekly podcast hosted by Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman. We see your passion, innovation, and hard work and are here to support you by providing a platform for networking, advocacy, camaraderie, and education. We aim to inspire you to ask the right questions, find your motivation, and give you the courage to have the professional skin care career you desire.
About Ella Cressman:
Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, and absolute ingredient junkie! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.
She has spent many hours researching ingredients, understanding how and where they are sourced, as well as phytochemistry, histological access, and complementary compounds for intentional skin benefits. In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several skin care lines, including several successful CBD brands.
Connect with Ella Cressman:
About Maggie Staszcuk:
Maggie has been a licensed esthetician since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. She has worked in the spa and med-spa industry and served as an esthetics instructor and a director of education for one of the largest schools in Colorado before coming to ASCP as the Advanced Modality Specialist.
Connect with Maggie:
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About Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP):
Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is the nation’s largest association for skin care professionals and your ONLY all-inclusive source for professional liability insurance, education, community, and career support. For estheticians at every stage of the journey, ASCP is your essential partner. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to join and become an ASCP member.
Connect with ASCP:
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0:01:36.8 Maggie Staszcuk: Hello and welcome to ASCP's Esty Talk. I'm your host today, Maggie Staszcuk, an ASCP's Education Program Manager. I'm very excited to be joined by the team at Color Up for the second part of a two-part podcast series focused on CBD. Today we're talking about business development for estheticians with the co-founder and COO of Color Up Shauna Blanch, the Director of Account Partnerships Marana James, and Assistant Director of Education Ashley Deckard. Welcome to Esty Talk.
0:02:05.3 Ashley Deckard: Thanks, Maggie, excited to be here.
0:02:07.0 MS: You guys are all business owners and practitioners. How did you know you were ready to start your business?
0:02:13.7 AD: Well, I don't think it was necessarily a choice of am I ready or not? I've been a practicing esthetician since 2013. When I had the opportunity to come and support Color Up in terms of being their assistant director of education, I also had the opportunity to open my own business, and I think I got pushed a little bit into that, which is great. But from there, I just started to kind of figure it out, but this is something I'm super passionate about because I love having my own practice. As an esthetician, I've just found so much creative freedom and it really has taught me how to think outside the box really, and think outside a protocol, develop my own protocols, develop really the things that I wish to do in the treatment room and didn't really have the option for because I was working in someone else's idea of what a skincare practice should look like. So I was able to create facial treatment that really stood out to me and something I always wanted to do.
0:03:20.0 MS: What kind of mindset does somebody need before developing their business?
0:03:24.9 AD: I think they need to really believe in themselves, that's such a huge part of it, because you're the person who is your business manager, you're your marketing department, your're your practitioner, operator of your business, you are seeing clients, you're booking clients, you are checking them out, making their next appointments, you are doing everything, and at times it can feel like a lonely place because it's just you and you need to be able to have the mindset of pushing forward even when things maybe you are feeling challenging or you are feeling like things are slow or something like that. How can you switch on this mindset and almost treat yourself as an employee and see outside of yourself, your own insecurities and be able to say, if I was looking at this objectively, what would be my next step forward? Not if I'm looking at this just as myself, knowing everything about me.
0:04:22.7 Speaker 4: Looking in the mirror and telling yourself that in the mornings is a really great thing to do, and definitely practice that a lot when I'm putting my massage business before Color Up. Yeah, I definitely agree with that. You've gotta believe in yourself and just keep believing in yourself and have those conversations with yourself, 'cause if you're doing it, you can do it, you just gotta keep believing that you can do it, really.
0:04:45.9 MS: Yeah, push forward, network, client retention is a big one, I think that in my opinion is a fear for a lot of people to move forward in building their business is where am I gonna get my clients? How am I gonna network? How am I gonna market myself?
0:05:00.3 AD: Yeah, absolutely. I would say that networking is the number one thing that you should be doing as a business owner, and if that makes you uncomfortable, it's something that you're gonna get over. You're gonna get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That was really the biggest thing as a business owner, is you are not really basing your success on whether you're comfortable or not, it's really just pushing outside of that and making sure that you're putting yourself and your business out there so that people think of you when they need that service. Because if no one knows about your business and you're not in your community, if you're not networking with the people that are surrounding your business, people that are going to love your services, I've offered so many free services just to get my name out there for people to start telling other people in order to have my name around and have people thinking of me. And social media is another one, it's free advertising, so I think that just even having a social media presence at all, meaning that you're posting on social media so that people can kind of view it as a portfolio.
0:06:06.5 AD: It's not that you have to live on the internet. I'm definitely not someone who is posting every single day and consistently checking my social media, but I do use it as a way for people to be able to see and say, "Oh, this is Ashley, This is what she's about."
0:06:22.6 MS: Yeah, I think social media too is another one that people really get hung up on. Thinking there are rules, it has to be done this way, I can't meet those requirements, but you said social media is like a portfolio. Some people don't think of it that way, but if you look at it like I am sharing my work, I'm sharing what I do, that it kind of takes the stress off.
0:06:43.0 AD: Totally. And I definitely went through the time of thinking, what do I need to share? Do I need to share everything about my life in order to be on social media? And I think the answer is no. You can share what you'd like to share, you can share your work and make sure that your personality shines through that, of course, but it's okay for it just to be about what you do.
0:07:05.1 S4: And to note to all of that, if you are someone who doesn't want to go out and do these things by yourself and you don't wanna do it, you can partner up with a company, find out a company's products that you love. We as Color Up go out to a ton of events and so we've brought a lot of estheticians and massage therapist just starting their business to come to be there and then we're all there to support them too. They don't have to necessarily talk to everybody by themselves, and we all can do it together as a community. And so that's really a great way to get out to events and get into the community, to also connect with the companies that you love, reach out to them, see if they're doing anything, like a lot of times they'll... Yeah, come on, let's do it. And so it's... Yeah, it's really, it's a much safer way too, if you are someone who does... Yeah, if pushing yourself past that limit too much scares you, reach out to a business, go in and ask them what they're doing, go to an event and see who's out there and then talk to them too.
0:07:55.1 MS: I love that. That is networking, but you're not alone, you're doing it within a group, and you just said it, reach out to the people you're doing business with, the manufacturers, the brands, whatever, they probably are gonna embrace you.
0:08:09.8 S4: Absolutely. Absolutely, 'cause we always wanna get to know the people that are using the products and what's going on out there too. And even if the brand isn't doing things already, you may be approaching them with a brand new idea, hey, I wanna get out to events and do things, and then it's even more collaborative between the two.
0:08:28.5 MS: Hold that thought. We'll be right back.
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0:10:00.1 MS: Okay, here we go. Let's get back to the podcast. What about client retention?
0:10:03.9 AD: For me personally, client retention has been all about creating relationships. I think that is really the biggest thing that you're doing as a small business owner, but also as an esthetician, it's such a personalized service. People are immediately vulnerable when they lay down on your table. They're telling you a lot of their insecurities, conversations that you wouldn't typically have with people. I also just love hearing people's stories. I really love connecting with my clients and listening to all the different things that they have going on. And I have fallen in love with that process. And I think that is what has made me stand out with my clients is just building those deeper connections and relationships. I of course, ask and talk as much as my client would like to. I do have some clients who don't talk alot and it's really important to respect that space because at the end of the day, they are coming in and paying you for a service. While you do want to be friendly, approachable and professional, you want to make sure that they're always guiding how that conversation is going. And I always make sure to make it mostly about my clients.
0:11:11.3 AD: Yes, of course, I talk about myself because they are naturally curious and, you know, they love you too and they want to have those conversations about you. But I always turn it back around because my focus is you. This is your time. This is your hour, you know, hour and a half. And I just want you to have the space to express whatever you need.
0:11:29.9 S4: I think a lot of times we get nervous after that process is over, no matter how much they said to us and how much trust and safety there was. We don't want to follow up. People feel like calling your clients or shooting them a text could be annoying or I don't want to do that. They'll book when they're ready to book. And that's not true. We're all humans and we're all people and they've connected with you, especially the ones that are there to share with you. Follow up. Send a message. Send a message not to say, can you come in for another appointment, but just to say, you know, just wanted to send you some love. I had a great conversation today. And let them know, yeah, that you want them to be there and that you felt that special connection too. And I really think that's a part of the customer retention part of it is like, yeah, keep reaching out. Keep letting them know that you're there and come back. [chuckle]
0:12:17.3 MS: Yeah, I totally agree with you. Basically saying, I'm thinking about you. How's your skin doing? How are you feeling?
0:12:22.5 S4: Absolutely. Yeah. Don't wait where it's time for them to come back in for their service. Just check in next week or the week after and see how they're doing. Building those relationships is so important.
0:12:32.4 MS: Yeah, totally. I think part of that client retention too is home care, retailing, and that can be really scary for estheticians especially if they are out on their own. Yeah.
0:12:43.6 AD: Absolutely. Absolutely. I would say with home care, the most important thing is remembering that your clients are coming in with concerns with the current routine that they have. And so how can you tweak their routine either by taking things out that may be harming for their skin at that time or adding one or two products in? Not overwhelming them with a full skincare routine right off the bat because sometimes that's quite the investment for someone who is just meeting you for the first time and then having one facial experience with you. I think just not shocking their skin is important and how you can just very slowly over time. There's no need to rush the process.
0:13:25.5 Speaker 5: I think in my experience, most of the time people are afraid of sales. They don't want to come off as pushy or anything like that. But they're coming to us as professionals and they're looking for those recommendations. Yes, you don't have to recommend the entire line for them, but maybe two or three products. Let's pick out one that might feel best for you and send them home with that. Because if you don't do that and you don't give that experience to them and share your knowledge with them, they're going to go get it somewhere else. So why not make sure that you're taking care of your clients on every aspect of what they're coming in for, as their professional.
0:14:01.2 S4: Yeah, to note that, also, just at Color Up is a thing that we've always said is we never are trying to sell somebody products. And I think that's a mindset to have in the treatment room too. And that was helpful for me because I don't like to sell people products, but I really believed in the products. How do you... And then talking to all of us and you're educating them on what they should be doing for their skin and you're not selling them. And then someone put it to me in a great way that was, you're doing them an injustice by not suggesting that they take these products home for at-home care. And when I saw it that way, I'm actually, oh, I'm not doing the best for my client. Now I should be telling them. And that was my mind shift in that and realizing if I don't tell them about these and educate them and give them the opportunity to use them, then they're only going to come to me every month or every two months and that isn't going to be as helpful for their skin as if they're using it at home.
0:14:56.4 MS: Yeah, totally. You're the professional. You should continue that education once the treatment ends or really even you're educating them from the moment they come in. But yes, continue to sell the treatments and they need to take this home and work on those skincare goals. Here's my question for the estheticians in the room. What do you say to that client that says, I'm using this XYZ product that came from Walgreens or wherever that clearly is not for their skin? It is not benefiting their skin. How do you gently approach that?
0:15:31.7 AD: I let them know that, let's say they're using a gel cleanser and they should be using a creamier cleanser. I really tackle it from this is the ingredient that is going to be the most beneficial because you're experiencing dryness. Not to say that you can't go back to a gel cleanser, but at this moment you're experiencing dryness. This is going to get you the result that you're looking for much more quickly.
0:15:54.5 MS: Yeah. So again, all about the education, but you're focused on the features and benefits of the product you're retailing compared to what they are using.
0:16:05.1 AD: Right. And not making your client wrong, I think it's a really important thing too, and not shaming them basically into saying like, well, you shouldn't be using this. You have to be using what I am suggesting. That's not the case at all. That's why I think when you go in and just say, "Well, scrap what you're using and take all of this home," is not really the ideal way to connect with your client because they're like, "I don't even know you, it's my first time seeing you." So it's like, "Hey, I think that a cream cleanser is best because this is what you're experiencing," and going from there, making it really light breezy, know your product and ingredient knowledge because that is what I'm leaning on. I'm not leaning on like, "Hey, you need to buy this," it's more like, "This is what I'm analyzing. This is what I'm seeing. And from my professional opinion, this is what I would suggest to anyone."
0:16:52.4 MS: Yeah, so well said, I totally agree.
0:16:54.5 S5: And I think too, you can have a conversation about why they chose that product, did somebody recommend it to them? Is there a reason why they're buying this product, is it a cost thing, is it they just needed something quick? Having a conversation, finding out what it was that drew them to that product.
0:17:10.6 MS: Yeah, when I used to be an esthetician practicing, cost was always something that came up, 'cause over-the counter is so much cheaper than a professional line, but having them understand while your professional product is gonna last you longer versus this $5 whatever it is.
0:17:28.5 S5: Absolutely. And gonna probably cause you less issues with your skin in the long run that you don't have to down the road take care of as well.
0:17:35.7 MS: Right, entirely. Yeah.
0:17:37.6 AD: And this is really how you can maintain the service that you just invested in, right? Because you're creating a significant time and monetary investment by coming in to see me and I would hate for that to just go down the drain by using products that aren't correct for what you're experiencing right now.
0:17:55.6 MS: That concludes our show for today. And we thank you for listening. For more information on this episode or for ways to connect with Color Up or to learn more about ASCP, check out the show notes.