Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chan Yang, CEO and Founder of Aphrodite's Secret, located in East Lansing, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I run a permanent makeup and skincare clinic in East Lansing, MI. While I originally started Aphrodite’s Secret with skincare, we locally offer microblading, ombre and nano brows, eyebrow sculpts, tints, and laminations, eyelash lifts and tints, permanent eyeliner, and skincare. On a global scale, we offer skin consultations and have our own medical-grade skincare line.
Tell us about yourself
When I came to the United States for college in 2008, I noticed how many other international students struggled with acne. I started offering facials and volunteering to help at spas so that I could learn. After a while, I collected a decent group of clients. I obviously couldn’t keep giving these students facials when they moved back across the country or the world, so my business had to expand to a more international model. I started my medical-grade skincare line to offer long-term solutions to my clients around the world.
My family had a history of working in permanent makeup, so it was an easy addition to my local business. With permanent makeup, I’m really inspired by how much of a difference I see in my clients’ confidence levels before and after their service. I work with a lot of cancer survivors who struggle after chemo, moms who don’t feel like themselves anymore after babies, and women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s whose eyebrows have disappeared over time. I truly love showing them their results and watching them absolutely glow with newfound confidence.
My dad owned a business in China. I watched him work so hard every day, and I watched him go through the ups and downs and always keep pushing. He was such a strong example of who I wanted to be and what I wanted to accomplish. Now, I just try to be the same example for my son. I want him to see the importance of perseverance and growth.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Since we sell medical-grade skincare products, partnerships with skincare companies are extremely valuable to our business. Every time we’ve partnered with a skincare company, we’ve become their top partner within a year or two of working together.
It’s not as quantitative, but honestly, the thing I’m most proud of is our client relationships. We have permanent makeup clients who came to us when I first started in 2015 and continue to return, even when they’ve moved away. The trust between my clients and me is truly the most important thing to me.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Time, always time. It just never feels like there’s enough time. It’s easy to want to do everything yourself when you own a business, but it’s simply not possible. There’s just not enough time in the day to do services, consulting, social media, digital marketing, product management, web design, and inventory while still trying to take meetings that will help grow your business. Let alone when you have a family at home. There’s an extreme level of guilt that comes from working on your business when you have a family at home, especially as a woman.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Invest in yourself. One of the reasons I was able to keep expanding my business was that I put any spare cent I had into learning and growing. I took whatever opportunities I could to develop my skills and gain experience.
- Take small steps. Sometimes, it’s not possible to quit your day job and pour all your savings into a new business idea. And that’s okay. I started by giving facials and peels to other international students at my college. Starting small is still starting.
- Build trust with your clients or customers. It can be easy to just focus on the money. In my industry, it’s easy to just give clients what they think they want, take their money, and send them on their way. But my business relies on long-term trust and care, so the foundation of our work has always been honesty and education.
Where can people find you and your business?
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