INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: SONYA DAKAR
I had interest since the age of 15. Forty years ago, it was more of a social thing to go to a facialist. For problems such as eczema, people would go to a physician. My mom would go once a month regularly and her esthetician name Harriett was a previous dermatologist who got pregnant and decided to be holistic out of her house. I went with my mom. I was fascinated with how happy they were. Harriett cleared the teenagers’ acne and took care of the adults with relaxation. I discovered that there might be something behind all this fluffy stuff. She had converted her philosophy to a more holistic approach. I was captivated.
From there, I went to school to professionally study for three years anatomy, chemistry and general education to learn the business. While I was working, I was definitely was like a trainee with Harriett two times a week here and there. When I graduated, I opened my own small boutique in Israel. I started playing with my own products. I formulated toner at the time. I knew that alcohol would be really harsh for people. Either it would be too strong for mature skin or young acne. Stripping the oil results in irritation and makes skin more vulnerable.
Essential oil is almost spiritual. You can smell lavender and feel very calm. You can smell peppermint and it can wake you up completely. Essential oil starts activating certain elements in the system. That’s how our formulation changed based on aromatherapy.
The direction of the business 15 years ago was such a huge success about the products to wholesaling and bulk, our business direction was changed and we decided to sell the products and bottles under the brand Sonya Dakar versus private label bulk. Between 15–10 years ago, the name began to be known.
Face is not much different from the body. If the body exercises and eats healthy food to succeed, the face does, too. That’s when we did the boot camp. Spas offer my services, even a lot of estheticians look at this route. I remember estheticians would come from all over the country to experience one treatment by me, and this started to grow all over the country. The clients need to come back and they adopt the results-oriented philosophy. I remember when clients used to come to me and I would clear the skin and the doctor would say that it would come back. They had curiosity … especially in Beverly Hills … when they discovered that clients were coming back. A lot of them decided to offer it … they call medical spa today. A more alternative way.
Sonya Dakar started with a small boutique in Hollywood on Beverly Boulevard. Thirty years ago, I started to work from home. I had a clinic in the back of my house—the guest house. It grew very fast. Then I opened a boutique, lots of celebrities and the film studios weren’t far from there. The boutique was getting too small. What it is about you that attracts so many people, a famous dermatologist asked. I built a building in Beverly Hills that we turned into a clinic—I won’t call it a spa. I do more clinical work versus a spa, which is like massages and relaxing facials versus more results-oriented. We expanded naturopathic doctor, pedicure, manicure, eyebrows, makeup—light mineral which suits my philosophy. Even today we attract people from all over the world. Every week, we have clients from Australia, England the Middle East, to see me and what it is about and what I can learn from this one. We sell products from all over the world.
We have one location and we hope to open in New York. Our products are all over the country at hotels and spas from Oklahoma to New York to Florida. Every place in the country uses Sonya Dakar.
I don’t look at this like magic. I’m definitely flattered to see how I changed the industry of beauty. Beauty is health and health is beauty. I look at the accomplishment. I’m still looking at the present and future. There is so much more to discover and do and bring that I feel like my mission is not done yet and the sky’s the limit. I’m not retiring any time soon. I feel like I have to continue and unveil if something is fascinating to the world. I’ll never quit.