Monday, December 28, 2015

Proactiv products and your clients' skin

Proactiv Solution is a somewhat popular skin care product line. You will no doubt run into clients who have used it or are currently using it. Read the article, Proactiv—Solution?  to get my opinion on this infomercial product line.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

About Carolyn Ash

This was posted on my laypersons blogsite (ageless beauty, timeless skin). CLICK HERE to be taken to this article and read a piece that a publicist wrote about me for my business.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Trolley—Part 2

This photo is from my Chicago salon. As you can see, I have drawers and cabinets under the sink and countertop. This is actually one of the only salons where I had either of those things: drawers and a countertop along with a sink. As you will see, in my current Boulder salon (as well as other spaces where I've had my office) I use a 2nd trolley in lieu of drawers. This system works just fine in the space I am in.

The trolley pictured to the left was purchased at The Container Store. This particular trolley is a bit more expensive than others available, but it serves my purposes perfectly and is more aesthetically pleasing (to me) than the salon-type varieties. I use this for towels, headbands, and extra product supplies. The trolley this article is concerned with is the one you'll use as your working trolley with all of the products you'll need for the facial. In other salons this second trolley was not needed because I had drawers under the counter where I could store these other types of supplies.

In case youre wondering, Ill go over what I have in each drawer.
Top drawer:

  • This is where I keep my clipboard with blank Client Information Charts as well as the charts I have pulled of the clients coming in that day/week.
  • I also keep various pens (for chart writing), pencils, lip balm (for me) and other incidentals.

2nd drawer:
  • Here is have all headbands for easy access once Im sitting down to give the facial
3rd and 4th drawers:
  • I keep all of my extra, unopened professional (big) sizes of the products I use. When it comes time to order products, I can look in this drawer and know if I have backup product to the opened products I keep on the other trolley

Bottom, large drawer:
  • I keep towels here and socks for the clients use
You will find a rhythm and rhyme to how you keep your supplies and where you keep them. I am showing you how I have my products and supplies situated for examples sake. How you choose to set up your room will be your own choice.

Here are some photos of a two other offices spaces where my trolleys were set up:


For more information, see:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What’s in a name—What will you call your business?

If and when you decide to open your own skin care business, choosing a name will be top on the list of important things to decide on. I no longer have the paper where I wrote down all of my ideas for my new business name, but eventually I decided on Carolyn Ash Skin Care.

I knew 100% I would use my own name in the business name. I wanted to brand my business with name recognitionmy name. It will be your choice whether you use your name or come up with something else to call your business. I have seen wonderful salon names that didnt resemble a persons name.

When I sold my business in Chicago I didnt sell my name (Carolyn Ash Skin Care). The woman who purchased the salon changed the name to Pelle Sana Salon. Pelle sana means healthy skin in Italian. This is a good example of a great name that is easy to remember and has everything to do with your business, in this case skin care.

Be sure to do a google search on the name you end up choosing. Unless youre using your own name, someone else may have beat you to the punch. You certainly dont want to similar salon names in the same city where you will be officed.

I will discuss branding and logos in future post, Creating a company logo, but for now, coming up with a solid name that you love and can live with for years to come is the most important thing to concentrate on. 

No matter which way you decide to go, choosing a name is a long-term decision, and I recommend you take your time with it. Ask a lot of people what they think, take in the information, then decide with great excitement what you will now be calling your business.

Be sure to read (upcoming) Create a website no matter the size of your business for another idea to get the word out abut your new business.


Monday, November 30, 2015

The Trolley—Part 1

As you have hopefully read in Furniture you’ll need to get started (see link below), there are many piece of equipment and furniture items that you will need in your treatment roomand salon, if you are furnishing that. The trolley that sits next to you in the facial room is probably the most important component of all. It holds all the things you will be using in every facial treatment. Below I will explain what I have on my trolley(s) and why I have them there.

In most of my salons I have only used one trolley. Now, in my Boulder store, I employ two. The reason for this is I have no other place to keep towels and other items I would have stored in a drawer system in other salons.

Both trolleys are on wheels, something I recommend. You might be moving the trolley toward and away from you with each facial, or in my case (my trolleys remain stationary), its really easy to move them in order to clean. Maybe you wont need wheels, but I do recommend them for ease-of-movement.

The trolleys I have were not purchased from salon catalogs. The reason being: those catalogs for professionals sell commonly found items (in some cases) for extraordinarily high prices. Certain important components, like a sterilizer, can only be found in professional catalogs. But in the case of a trolley, for instance, you can save a lot of money purchasing this piece of equipment in general retail stores.

This trolley came from Bed Bath & Beyond. I looked on their website and couldnt find the exact trolley I have, but if you google trolley with shelves there are many places where you can get a trolley for under $50. As you can see, this piece is covered with towels on the top two shelves, so how beautiful your trolley is isnt that important. Go for function over aesthetics since you wont be seeing much of the trolley. (The trolley pictured at the beginning of this article is almost $120, shipping not included. It may look sleeker, but eventually the trolley will be covered with all your work tools and products, so the sleekness will give way to function.)

On the top of the trolley (below) I have glass bowls; one filled with aromatic sponge water and another bowl for my essential oil toner mixture. I use this frequently throughout the facial. I also have all of my cleansers on top. All open ampoules are kept in small glass containersactually shot glasses. They are the perfect size. Here again, you can either wash those out at your salon or you can wash all the glassware (bowls and shot glasses) in your dishwasher at home. Up until recently, I had a small digital clock on the trolley top. Now I have a large clock on the wall near my chair.

On the bottom shelf of the trolley I have containers for my round and square cotton These containers can be purchased at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond. They need to seal so the cotton stays cleans and pristine.

The red container you see in this photo below, which sits on the bottom shelf on my trolley, is a necessary (and actually mandatory) sanitary disposal container for any and all used lancets. This item is something I discuss further in Odds & ends youll need (see below).

I keep the containers of cotton (square and round) on this bottom shelf. The containers are large and having them low makes them easy to get to while Im sitting down giving the facial.

For more information, see:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Monthly breakouts: Help for your clients

I posted this article on my laypersons blogsite today. It has important information for you to help your female clients who have problems with breakout before and during their monthly cycles. CLICK HERE to be taken to the article.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The essential equipment you’ll need

There are several pieces of equipment that you will need and in some case will be required to have. Every state has a different setup as far as regulations and requirements. You will, of course, need to find out all the ins and outs of the city and state where you live to know what you need to fulfill those requirements.

Not a regulatory “requirement but a professional requirement none the less is a magnifying lite, (magnifying lamp or sometimes called a mag lite). Without this essential piece of equipment you simply don’t have the eyes to see a client’s skin. You can find these in (sometimes expensive) industry catalogs; I have found then at the local office supply store like Office Depot or Office Max for a lot less.

It doesn’t really matter where you purchase the light, it does matter how much magnification you will get from it. This depends on your eyes and what you prefer looking through. For me, I have always used an 5-diopter lite. (Diopter is a the measurement of magnification. The higher the number, the stronger the magnification.) When I used a stronger version (8-diopter) I found it was too much magnification and it made it harder for me to do extractions. I realize that sounds counterintuitive, but this was true for me. After returning that higher magnification lamp, I opted for what I had in the past: 5-diopter.

Next is the sanitizer or sterilizer. This is required piece of equipment—everywhere. This cabinet emits UV (ultra violet) light—just like our sun does—which acts as a sterilizer for your equipment and sponges. You will have to purchase this through one of the (more expensive) industry catalogs or stores. I have never seen the type of unit needed for a facial room anywhere else but in one of these places. They usually start at around $200—however prices vary greatly; just try to find the best deal on the unit you like.

Aesthetics are important to me and since the sterilizer is essentially out in the open for all to see, I always wanted to have one that was pleasing to the eye. Perhaps this would be more expensive, but I haven’t ever had to replace the sanitizers I’ve used in my salons, so it was never an issue to pay a bit more for the one I liked best.
My Chicago office lobby area with product on shelves
Depending on your set up, you will either have a lobby area where you will have your products-for-purchase out for all to see and buy or you may be renting a room in a salon or an office suite and will need to have a place to put your retail products.

Before I moved to Boulder, all of my office spaces has separate lobbies and facial rooms in a large office space. Now, in Boulder, I have always rented a room in a suite of offices. Therefore I have always had my retail products in my treatment room, along with everything else I need to run my business.

Perhaps Im a trusting soul, but up until recently, my retail products have been on bookshelves vs. being under lock and key. A few years ago I was at a consignment store and bought a beautiful antique Asian cabinet that also happens to lock. I now have my products housed in this beautiful case and because it so old, I rarely lock it because I dont want the locks to one day stop working.

You may not be so trustingor maybe you shouldnt be so trusting. I believe that if any of my clients are so bold as to take products (steal) from my office, something will happen to balance that out. That is just how I live my life and therefore I dont usually lock up my product stock. You will have to make that determination for yourself. When I lock the door to my suite, short of the landlord or a worker person needing to enter, the door to my office stays locked when I leave. Your situation may be such that youll need to find a locking cabinet for your for-purchase products and there are many options available. From locking pieces such as in this photo (my Asian piece) or something more utilitarian that you get from a salon supplier.

See these articles that will help complete the list of all the items you will need to get started with your skin care business:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sugar and your clients’ skin

If you have been on my laypersons blogsite, you probably know I write a lot about the effects of sugar on skin and health in general. Click on the title to be taken to the article, 2 More Sugar Case Studies: Sue & Kim. Knowing the different outside ingredients that can influence the health of your clients skin is an important component to being a great aesthetician.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Things that go BUMP....in the facial

If you have ever had a facial where the aesthetician wasn’t conscientious about how her movements might affect you, then you will know what I am talking about here.

When my facial table (its a massage table) is lying completely flat, my knees are very close to the table. In fact, when I wear high heels to work, I have to slip them off once Im sitting down to do the facial, otherwise my legs wouldnt fit under the table.

There are many times during a facial where, if I wasnt paying close attention, my knees would knock into the table and my client would feel a bump. Since this is unwanted, Im very careful about my movements. Although I am conscious of what Im doing at every step, it really isnt that big of a deal to me. What is a big deal is not bumping into the table while I'm giving a facial.

Just a little tip to remember to keep you looking, sounding, and in this case feeling like a professional. It’ll be smooth sailing for the entire treatment.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Throw a party to create interest in your new business

Although I wrote the following for a former employee who is planning on opening her own skin care salon, this information applies to anyone starting out in business. I thought Id post it here for all to see.

Before you make any plans around what Im suggesting, you need to be prepared with a few essentials to start out with. First and most important: have your business cards printed and ready to hand out. They literally are your calling cardsa small item that gives your clients (or potential clients) access to you and your business. Dont go into a situation where you are putting on your aestheticians hat without them.

In the second half of A few new aestheticians looking for help (see link below), I made  the following suggestion (among others) for a new-to-business aesthetician:
  • Conduct some free seminars locally and ... hand out a coupon to the seminar attendees for a discount on their first facial with you

Have a wine and cheese and skin care talk at your house or someone elses house. (You could give the hostess a facial or two to thank her for the use of her home.) Rather than just a talk, have a Gommage Party. Be sure you have product on hand to use. Samples, too. (See detailed instructions below.)

Talk to the attendees about how and why you started your business. Including your love for skin care and your interest in helping people with their skin. Personalizing your business will certainly be a plus. Give away samples and brochures of the product line you are using along with your business cardalways a must! In this casual and fun setting, you can really do a lot to stir up interest in you and your business.

Be prepared for questions. In every talk Ive ever given, whether with a large audience or in a home setting, a Q & A session naturally took place. After youve given the 411 on you and your business, open it up to questions. You may not know the answers to every question asked, but be personable and come from your heart and your humanness will shine through.

Have preprinted cards for gathering personal information on each guest at the ready during your event. (Vistaprint.com is great for things like thisor you could go to Kinkos and have something printed there.) You could have blank paper and simply direct each attendee as to what you want them to fill out, but personally I dont like leaving anything up to the client. I would have something printed or pre-prepared by hand if you prefer. Here are the questions I would ask:
  • First and last name
  • Mailing address (with zip code)
  • Email address 
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth ** 
You can ask for whatever information you want; the above is short and sweet and all you really need at this point. If and when they come in for a facial, you will get many more details on each person. **The reason I would ask for their date of birth is so I can mail them a discount card for their birthday when the time comes. Its a nice thing to do and it is good for business.

Let your attendees know that you will be sending out discount cards in appreciation for their attendance at your gathering. This way, by filling out the card, they will get something in returna discount for a facial with you mailed to their home. I prefer mailing out later vs. handing out the discount card then and there. When they see the card after a few days, they will once again be reminded of the party (and you) when they receive their discount card in the mail. (Be sure to be timely and mail out the discount cards the next day or within in few days. Dont let too much time go by.)

Once the party is over and you are back in your office, I would take each information card and write out an actual client chart for each person. You now have their vitals: name, phone number, and email address. Hopefully you gave them some samples; they may have even purchased or prepurchased products from you that need to be noted on their chart. On the back of the chart you can write the date of the party, what the party was, and any other pertinent information.
  • 4/30/15Gommage Party at Mary Johnsons house. Sampled x, y, and z.
Then when Mary Johnson or other attendees come in for their facials, you already have some of their chart filled out. You can also include on the charts that today you sent a participation thank you discount and what the discount was.
  • 5/2/15Sent thank you discount for attending the Gommage Party on 4/30/15. 20% off facial (or whatever you choose)
Obviously, you can structure this however it works best for you, but having a fun girls night with wine and skin carewhat could be more fun? And sharing your love for what you know (skin care) and your excitement for your new business will be very gratifying to you, the new business owner. (Be sure to have non-alcoholic choices available, too.)  

Another option, and a better one if available, is to have this event in your new office space. Perhaps this is not possible, but having a party in your new office is a great idea. It helps christen it, gets people in the door, and let's your prospective clients know exactly where you are located. Assuming you did a good job with installation and decorating, this first view of your office can be a wonderful reflection on you and can nudge people further to commit to making an appointment with you.

For more information, see: