Kristin Gunn interview with Orange Magazine touts some good advice for new or aspiring Estheticians:
What did you do before you became an esthetician?
So sooo much. First and foremost I’m a Mom, and that takes a lot of time and energy. I’ve owned cupcake trailers, I started a tattoo aftercare product line that went global, I worked as a bartender at the Continental Club for a long time, sold real estate, and trained in hospitals as a surgical tech, medical assistant, financial counselor etc.
However, there was one thing that I felt I needed to conquer, which was my love affair with anti-aging, and so it began.
You are the top cosmetic injector in Austin. That does not happen overnight. How do you get your client base rolling and keep them coming back? And what is your opinion on the injection training schools are offering?
The top cosmetic injector in Austin. Wow that’s so nice. Be authentic. Listen. Don’t be a salesperson and push things on people. Really I feel like a lot of where I am today is due to complete candid honesty from the consultation on. I don’t go at anything with a salesperson pitch. That’s not my thing. My clients become my friends very quickly.
As for the injection classes, I tell people (and I get asked all of the time) that these classes are a complete waste of your money. The hardest part of becoming an injector is finding a doctor who is willing to mentor you. Once you’ve found that, you still don’t need those classes, you need an anatomy class or two.
Most reputable places will not hire someone straight out of a 7 day injection class and let them start putting neurotoxins in someone’s face. You don’t even have to be an esthetician or a nurse legally in Texas. There are a couple medspas I know of here in Austin that have people injecting with this small amount of training. It’s nuts.
Most students want to know if they should add on laser training. Thoughts?
I think beauty schools in general need to make the students aware that they don’t NEED a laser license in Texas to do most things. If you have a doctor who is willing to oversee your activities, don’t spend that money just yet.
I attended Avante Laser Training when they had an Austin class. Although I gained valuable information on lasers, honestly I haven’t used it hardly at all. Unless you are looking to get hard core into hair removal which requires a license, save your pennies and get on your feet. My 2 cents. There are total laser nerds in the world that wold feel happy and fulfilled with laser knowledge. I wasn’t one of those people.
What are the most common skin issues that you see in your practice?
I focus more on anti-aging skin procedures: chemical peels, dermaplaning, microneedling, Botox and cosmetic fillers. I don’t perform facials anymore, but I do recommend products and treatments for a variety of skin conditions. People come to me mostly for anti-aging, uneven skin tone or acne advice.
Figure out what interests you and run with it. If you are not a fan of acne or waxing, then don’t do it! Find something that fits with your passion.
What is your favorite beauty product or routine?
My favorite product is Image Hyaluronic Filler. I use it every morning. I’d be lost without it. It’s super hydrating, acts as a primer before any makeup is applied and gives you a little glow all day!
When I was in school we carried Dermalogica, which I’m not a fan of at all. But again, whatever product you decide to carry, learn everything you can about it. If you wouldn’t use it yourself, you probably shouldn’t carry it. That’s the best way to learn.
Other Words of Wisdom:
Do what you love.
Kristin’s advice is to be yourself and do what you love. Her approach to esthetics is rooted in her own experience. After struggling with acne and melasma, Kristin learned to heal her body from the inside out through dietary changes.
Network. And don’t burn bridges.
When she started as an esthetician, Kristin built a professional website and joined online networking groups. Every day she did something to get her name out there, and still does to this day. Whether its a blog, interview, Facebook post etc., it all counts.
“Marketing yourself really helps you get clear about who you are, what you do, and how to confidently sell yourself. It’s so important to have a good answer when people ask you what you do. It’s also important to know other professionals in related fields—nutritionists, massage therapists and in my case hormone specialists, so you can make informed referrals.”
Also: buddy up. Sharing space and clients with other professionals can be a great way to build your business.
Be product-savvy—and sincere.
Estheticians typically offer clients a professional line of products that aren’t available in retail stores. They should be carefully chosen. Organic and natural products are increasingly popular with eco-conscious clients. As a client of Kristin’s for many years I can vouch that she has talked me out of buying things on many occasions, because it was not something I needed. From cosmetic fillers to moisturizer, she will tell it like it is.
“I can only sell something I believe in 100 percent,” Kristin explains. “People want products that will really work for their skin. My clients trust me, because I’m passionate about the products and I know them well.”
Know your own worth.
New estheticians should look at the industry standard, which is at least a dollar per minute, and then look at what others are charging locally. Settle on a fair price that makes you feel properly compensated.
New practitioners may want to write out clear policies about everything before they start, including returns, cancellations, pricing and hours.
In addition, Kristin says, “don’t stay in a job you despise. This is paramount. I recently left a position I was in for a long time and although it was scary, it was the #1 best thing I could have done for myself and my sanity. Pay attention to your gut. I feel now that I should send my past employer a thank-you card for forcing me to see my value. Never forget it.”
It’s important to keep building your skills. Many skin care lines offer courses to the professionals who use their products. Trade shows can also be a great source of information.
“Read everything,” Gunn says.”There is so much happening in the world of skin care and anti-aging. Soak it all in.”