Although she was exposed to the world of massage and alternative therapy in her childhood, for 20 years, Brenda Griffin, owner of Faces Plus in Tucson, Arizona, worked as a legal secretary and paralegal. As a child, she was familiar with the world of holistic healing through her grandparents, who practiced massage and reflexology. “I was exposed to that whole world, and I just loved to receive massage,” she says.
However, after high school, like many, she began following a career path that wasn’t her true calling. “I fell into law when I was in my early 20s and realized it wasn’t a passion for me. It was just a job,” explains Griffin. After making plans to leave her home state of Michigan and move in with a friend in Arizona at the age of 24, Griffin was dealt a huge blow—she unexpectedly contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome, a form of French polio, that left her paralyzed in a hospital bed for two months.
After recovering from the disease, Griffin followed through with her plan, and continued her legal career in various branches of law in Arizona. It wasn’t until she turned 40 that she had her change of heart. “One day I realized how unhappy I was. I was always intrigued by massage therapy, but I was 40 and it takes a toll on the body. A friend of mine suggested I check out skin care programs,” explains Griffin. While keeping her full-time job at the law firm, she also attended Tucson’s Allure Career College of Beauty part-time in the evenings. After earning her esthetics license in 2001, Griffin continued working at the firm, and got a part-time job at an area day spa.
Not long after this, weary from working six days a week, she took a big risk and quit her job at the law firm. After working part-time at the day spa for a year, she found another part-time job at a plastic surgeon’s office, which fell through, and soon, so did her job at the day spa, which closed its doors in September 2002. “I’ve learned that when one door closes, another opens. I had no job, so I opened my own business in January of 2003,” explains Griffin.
Armed with her legal background, Griffin wasn’t daunted by the administrative side of opening Faces Plus. “I knew how to file incorporation documents, and I was fortunate that the last attorney I worked for did the marketing and public relations for the law firm, so I knew a little about that,” she says. It was during this time that Griffin had a streak of good fortune and formed a relationship with a business coach.
“I couldn’t afford her, and then she contacted me saying she was doing advanced training for her business and asked if I would participate with her. It was complimentary,” shares Griffin. This relationship proved to be a life-changing one, allowing her to expand her own personal growth.
“The most important lesson the business coach taught me is to quit projecting my beliefs on other people and let them be who they are. They either want what I offer or they don’t,” she says. “This way of thinking lets me be more open, more accepting and not fearful and judging ... it lets me be open to all the opportunities available.”
This openness has translated into steady success for Griffin, who uses Jan Marini Skin Research and Vivant Pharmaceuticals in her skin care business, which is an intimate, private experience in a part of her home. Only just now feeling the effects of the economy, Griffin is fighting it head-on by holding her second annual thank-you event, focusing on education and selling retail products to new and existing clients. In her facility, Griffin’s retail-to-treatment ratio is 40/60%, and she credits her own belief in the product for this success. “Retail was slow for me; it was a learning curve and now I’m very comfortable with it. I believe in my products and know they make a difference. You have to start using your products and be passionate about them,” she advises.
Never one to close her eyes to opportunity, Griffin looks forward to the end of the economic downturn to forge ahead on her new evolution. “I’ve finally found my niche, my next adventure ... I want to open an acne clinic, rent commercial space and have employees,” she says. With a cool head for business, Griffin plans on building her acne clientele at Faces Plus, and then making the leap when the economy improves. “There’s nothing more rewarding than when you clear someone’s skin,” she says, and with this as her focus, Griffin will surely have a rewarding future ahead of her.