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Why Start A Skincare Business (Especially When Times Are Tough?)

Why Start A Skincare Business (Especially When Times Are Tough)?

There’s always some sort of risk when you start a skincare business–or any business at all, even during normal times. And while the number of new businesses has slowed during the pandemic, a recent NY Times article points out that challenging times are good for starting a new business. According to Rashmi Menon, entrepreneur in residence at the University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, “there is less competition for resources; and that whatever changes we face, positive or negative, bring up new customer needs. And customer needs are at the core of any business.”

A recent article on the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s site also sheds light on the fact that across all industries (including the skincare industry) “America’s business model has changed—permanently. Consumers and businesses have changed the way they communicate, the way they buy, receive and deliver goods and the way they work. Across all industries, patience, ingenuity and adaptability were the ingredients needed for business survival and these new norms are here to stay. This is good news for startups.” This piece in particular resonated with me, because when I first started out working with skincare clients virtually, it was so different from the in-person skincare consultations and facials that people were used to that I had to do a lot of convincing that people could still get amazing skin results outside the spa! Now, with many spas still partially or fully shut down, spa managers, aestheticians, makeup artists, bodyworkers, and other hands-on practitioners have had to evolve the way they serve their clients to keep things afloat.

Times have a-changed.

Right now we are seeing so many people scrambling to start side hustles or different ways to just help make ends meet because their lives have changed so much. Their jobs have changed. Maybe they’ve lost their jobs. Maybe they are working in an industry that is not fully reopened yet.

Even if they have reopened, practitioners and business owners might not be able to take on as many customers as they normally would have, or sell as much volume as they normally would have.

I recently did a live video on LinkedIn about the 3 reasons people start businesses in general–and also specifically spoke to why people are starting–or shifting–their skincare businesses during these trying times. Check it out:

The 3 reasons people start businesses:

1. It’s personal.

The first reason really has to do with having a need in one’s personality or personal life that being an employee for someone just cannot meet. For me, a big reason was because of my kids. I have two girls, aged nearly 16 (yikes!) and 13, but when I first started my first business, my older one was just getting ready to go into kindergarten. My little one was still in preschool and it was really important for me to be available for them. I wanted to be available to participate in school functions, not have to worry about taking sick days if they were home sick, and other concerns like that. My mom was a realtor and then an entrepreneur when I was a kid. She was always there for every school event, sports, plays, recitals, and cooked us dinner every night. I wanted to repeat that example to my own kids, so having that flexibility was really important to me.

It was also kind of a personal alignment thing for me. At the time I was freshly licensed as an aesthetician. What I found when I was looking for aesthetics jobs in the area was that spas were not either not looking for new grads or they were not holistically minded. They performed treatments and used products that I personally would not use–and as a policy, I do not like to sell or recommend products and services that I would not use myself. So I started practicing privately on my own, and did fine for awhile. However, I realized that I could serve a lot more people and grow a lot faster if I used some of other skills that I’d accumulated through my years as a college student, salesperson, writer, and copywriter.

2. There’s a need in the skincare industry that’s not being met.

The first Holistically Haute logo--before I even knew I wanted to start a skincare business!
The very first Holistically Haute logo!
Do you remember this?

When I started the Holistically Haute™ blog in 2010, I purposely did so with a holistic skincare slant, because at that time, it really wasn’t being talked about enough. This leads into the second reason why people start businesses–because there’s a need in the industry that is just not being solved.

So let’s apply this to the skincare industry. The cosmetics industry is a multibillion dollar industry that continues to thrive, even through tough times. It’s just not going anywhere–people still want to look good whether they’re quarantined at home, or running off to meetings in person. And the natural and organic part of the skincare industry is also continuing to soar, which is awesome news for my Create Your Skincare Pro students.

Competition is always an issue in the skincare industry; but even with all the different brands on the market, whether it’s big brands or smaller artisan skincare brands, there are still problems in the industry that are not being solved. Think about the most basic skin issues like acne, rashes, redness, dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.

** News flash! People still have them. **

If the mass-produced skincare industry had solved those problem for everyone who has them, then there clearly would not be a skincare industry anymore because problem would have been solved. But that’s not the case, and the reason for that is because different things work for different people at different times in their lives, different locations, different ages. For ongoing results, people need a more individualized approach, which is something that is really starting to spread at this stage of the industry.

Many of my Create Your Skincare Pro students are offering virtual custom skincare services, in addition to their gorgeous signature herbal skincare product lines. My Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program students are offering virtual skin wellness coaching services (many in addition to in-person treatments). In my one-on-one work with clients, I would offer a combination of skin wellness coaching and custom skincare formulation. People flocked to me after years of frustration after wasting time and money on conventional products that just didn’t work for them–or worse–damaged their skin. I offered them a solution that was specifically for them, as individual people with individual backgrounds and individual needs, which is something mass production just cannot offer.

In any industry, there are always people who are not necessarily being served by that industry, and there will always be small day-to-day problems that people need solved.

3. It’s a calling.

Rachael Pontillo working from one of her co-working locations
I’m just one of those “unemployable” people!

The third reason why people start a skincare business–or any kind of business–is that they just feel like they have to. Some people (like me) just don’t resonate with being someone’s employee, working in someone else’s creative box , or fulfilling somebody else’s vision while they reap the profits and the person who’s doing the work does not.

Some people are perfectly happy going to work, leaving the job at work, coming home, and then moving on to the next day. And of course they love the stability of a steady paycheck and benefits (I mean, who doesn’t?) And that’s perfectly great if that’s you! I personally never found that working for other people gave me the fulfillment I desired, or kept me engaged and excited. That’s one of the reasons why I also wanted to do my own thing because I just felt called to do so.

So whatever that reason is for you, I want you to know that now is actually a really good time, even though it seems like things are still kind of up in the air because of the pandemic. But the pandemic is also sparking a huge surge of creativity among people who are having to find new ways to help their clients. For some people, it’s revealing a calling they never even knew they had!

If you want to start a skincare business during this pandemic, I want you to know…

I don’t know who came up with this exact quote, but it’s definitely something that I’ve told myself over the years and I’ve heard before. And that is that “nobody can do what you do, the way that you do it.”

So if you feel called to start a skincare business–or any business for that matter–for any of the reasons I mentioned here today, or for another reason of your own, I want to encourage you to go for it. And if you’re feeling intimidated by all the fancy skincare photos on Instagram, or overwhelmed that you don’t know how to do certain things in order to have a skincare business, don’t worry about it! I didn’t know any of that stuff either when I started. And I am doing just fine now, because I took the time to learn what I need to learn to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish!

If starting a skincare business, or growing your existing one is something that you want to do, then I would love to teach you what I know.

Rachael Pontillo with herbs and her book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself

Check out my online Create Your Skincare Pro course! It’s not like most online courses you’ve seen, because I actually teach you personally.

Yes there is an online portal where you’ll access some pre-recorded content and downloads, but you’ll also attend actual virtual small-group classes with me personally. It is literally the closest you can get to a live classroom experience, online.

If you’re ready to learn, then I’d love to teach you!

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