Career Insights from a 12-Year Industry Veteran
Are you contemplating attending a cosmetology career school? If so, you're on the right track, because the cosmetology industry is booming! In fact, from 2008 through to 2018 job opportunities are expected to grow by 19 percent for manicurists and pedicurists, and a generous 38 percent for skin care specialists.*
Read on to discover some tricks of the trade from Monika Jatel—owner of Simply Skincare, and 12-year industry veteran.
There is More Than One Path to Success
Monika went straight from high school into a six-month diploma program in esthetics, where she learned everything from basic dermatology to manicure and pedicure techniques. Although she graduated at the top of her class, Monika realized that her diploma was really just the beginning.
"It gave me a taste," says Monika. "I quickly realized that there was so much more to learn."
Monika decided to delay further education until after she had gained some hands-on experience. She moved to the bustling Canadian city of Vancouver instead, and into a job behind a beauty counter. There, Monika learned the product and retail end of the business, as well as some important customer service skills that would prove valuable in her future career.
After a couple of years, Monika decided she wanted to get back into a salon, so she took a job as a spa coordinator. While running a group of spas, Monika amplified her project management skills and learned some important business dos and don'ts.
"Some of these young gals think they can do a course and then branch out on their own," says Monika. "But I would really recommend getting some experience in somebody else's salon first!"
The Reality of Owning Your Own Business
After a four-year business degree and more hands-on experience in salons, Monika decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge into launching her own esthetics business.
With clients ranging in age from 6 to 80, the majority of Monika's client base falls into the bracket of 40- to 50-year-old professional women. And, although she has over 250 clients, Monika admits they're not all regulars.
"It's really the 80/20 rule," says Monika. "You know, 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your clients."
But, a home-based business has its drawbacks. Like the fact that she has to "kick her husband out of the house" for after-work clients. And, the constant cleaning can be trying. Because Monika's clients have to pass through her living room to reach her professionally outfitted work area, she has to keep her living space meticulous as well.
"What would they think if I had a messy house?" asks Monika. "They might wonder how clean everything else was."
Besides cleaning her workspace before and after a visit from a client, Monika spends every Sunday doing a "nook and cranny" clean. She scrubs the small room with the massage table where she performs her waxing and facials, and does a careful sterilization of her pedicure foot basin.
"Attention to detail is really important," says Monika. "If you're not on top of your sanitization, disinfection, and sterilization, than you really don't have much to work with."
When she's not working or cleaning, Monika's thinking of ways to improve her business. These days she's thinking about social media.
"I got a fairly good response from my newspaper ad," she says. "I'm not on Facebook yet, and everybody's telling me I should be. But, I just haven't figured out yet how it would be useful to marketing my business."
Educate, Educate, Educate
Monika's constant quest to find better ways to market her business fits perfectly with her belief in career-long learning. She keeps her skills current by going to trade shows every year, where she networks with peers and takes advantage of the often free training sessions offered by various product companies. She also earns certificates in the latest techniques, continually growing her cosmetology knowledge-base. And, she regularly meets with a group of women she earned her original diploma with to find out the latest industry news and trends.
Final Piece of Advice
What's the final piece of advice Monika would give to anybody interested in getting started in cosmetology?
"You've definitely got to enjoy dealing with people," Monika says. She's learned how to quickly pick-up on a client's personality, and then essentially mirror it back to them. Some clients want to talk the entire treatment, whereas others prefer silence. So, in addition to the hands-on training and business-related factors, you might want to also take an honest look at your people skills.
As Monika says, "If you don't love it, you're not going to stick with it."
If you think a career in cosmetology is something you would be passionate about, then browse this list of cosmetology career schools. Find the school that's right for you, and get started on training for a rewarding career in cosmetology today!
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, web site accessed on Dec. 7, 2010
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