Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shannon Jones, Owner of Intuitive Skin Solutions, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My primary business is personal care and skin care services in Manhattan. I've been a licensed esthetician performing facials in spas for over 16 years. My clients are generally women, ranging from early 20s to 60s. I recently added nutrition services after obtaining my master's degree in September, so I'm expanding my business into more complete wellness.
Tell us about yourself
I've always loved the personal care and self-care industry. I had a nail polish stand when most kids had a lemonade stand. I attended the University of Georgia, where I got my degree in finance. I'd wanted to work on the business end of cosmetics but was pigeonholed in retail sales. I'd suffered from acne in college and developed a passion for skincare while trying to solve my own issues. I'd realized through my own skin struggles how much your appearance influences your self-esteem and confidence, but I also became very frustrated with the conflicting information. I ended up going back to esthetics school to get my license because I felt like I would be able to help more people if I had the foundation of skincare knowledge. Ultimately, my master's degree was a continuation of that philosophy. As I got more experience on the hands-on side of skincare, I saw more and more often that certain conditions, like acne, weren't coming under control with topical intervention. I couldn't find the information I wanted about the connections between diet and skin conditions, so I went back to school to study it myself. Now I'm building a practice based on a true inside-out skincare philosophy, where we address nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, and skin conditions with both dietary and topical interventions.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Right now, my biggest accomplishment has been surviving the pandemic-related shutdowns of 2020. My neighborhood in Manhattan (Midtown) has been especially hard-hit in terms of recovery since so many offices have remained remote. The last few years have really forced me to be innovative in terms of creating virtual offerings to subsidize the spa side of the business.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Finding a work-life balance has always been hard for me, simply because I love what I do, and my clients have become like family.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
All too often, I see new estheticians wanting to jump out immediately after school and open their own space. I highly recommend having a solid client book and active email list that you can rely on before trying to open your own space. I also think hiring outside professionals to outsource whatever you can is incredibly important. I have a background in business, so I never recommend simply handing off all financial decisions, but you need to understand your business well enough to ensure that you're hiring professionals that truly understand your industry. And my last piece of advice is that you shouldn't try to start your own business if you're lukewarm about working in it all the time. The first few years require you to work harder than you can ever prepare yourself for and often on tasks that are incredibly boring, so if you aren't passionate about why you're opening your business, you probably shouldn't be doing it in the first place.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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