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When she was growing up, native Australian Kerian Bray never even considered seeking a career in the beauty industry. In fact, it was only through the guidance of her mother and sister that she went to school for beauty therapy where she studied nails, body work and skin care, completing her certification from the Confederation of International Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (CIBTAC)—an international beauty certifying body—in 1981. It was during this time that Bray embraced her calling.
“It’s an amazing profession; you can do so much with it,” she says ... and do so much she has. While in school, Bray also studied theatrical and special effects makeup, leading her to work in the Australian film industry. “I couldn’t see a career in that, though, so I came back to beauty therapy,” explains Bray, who opened her first skin care business in 1986. After four years, she decided to move from the West Coast of Australia to its East Coast, where she opened two smaller skin care businesses. While operating her businesses and working with Australian artists and entertainers she met during her stint in the movie industry, an opportunity presented itself to Bray in 1995: to move to London and work as a trainer for skin care giant Ella Baché. It was also during this time that Bray met her future husband in Australia—he was an American.
Never one to be tied down, Bray sold her spas, moved to London and found herself traveling throughout Europe for her job. “We dated around the world, passed each other in cities and eventually decided that it was more convenient for us to get married so we would see each other more often,” she explains. In 1996, Bray moved with her husband to his native America and she continued working for Ella Baché as a trainer, only this time on Madison Avenue in New York City. Soon, Bray changed jobs and found herself working as the director of education and training for Décleor USA. The travel requirements of this position, along with her 90-minute one-way daily commute, took its toll.
Bray soon decided enough was enough, and after taking some time off to rest, she became the spa director for a new concept—a spa in Doylestown Hospital in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. “I opened the spa for them and managed it for a couple of years, and then an opportunity presented itself to go back into supplier education,” says Bray, who next became the director of education and spa development for Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.
When Bray’s mother passed away, she began to question her current situation. “I thought, ‘I don’t want to keep killing myself. What am I striving for?’ ” It was then, in 2005, that Bray opened Skin ’n Tonic, located 10 miles from her house in a colonial destination called Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, Pennsylvania. She earned her U.S. certifications by transferring her Australian credits, and is licensed in esthetics and cosmetology in New York, and in esthetics in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.