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Russian Immigrant Speaks Universal Language of Skin Care

Cathy Christensen March 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
A. Golub

A. Golub

Anna Golub immigrated to the United States from Moscow in 1994 at the age of 31, knowing just one person in this country and speaking only Russian. Eighteen years later, she not only owns an extremely successful skin care clinic in Providence, Rhode Island, but she also speaks English fluently. Golub was a skin care professional in Russia and the Ukraine, but that part of the world was experiencing difficult times. “In the 1990s, it was really unstable in Russia, and we wanted our 11-year-old daughter to have a different future,” explains Golub.

Her Russian-immigrant father, who works as a scientist in the United States, encouraged Golub to start a new life in America, and so she brought her talents to the East Coast.

When Golub originally immigrated, although she had the knowledge needed to be a great skin care professional, several obstacles were in her way—namely, the need for a license and the inability to speak the language. Her mother-in-law, who is an English professor, encouraged her to apply to an esthetic school and work with a translator for her studies. “The director of Arthur Angelo in Providence, Allie Trait, was incredible; she was like a mother to me, and she allowed me to attend with a translator. It was difficult to study, but I finished school in 1996, and Trait became my client and highly recommended me to other people. My client list grew quickly because of this,” says Golub.

During this time, her English continued to improve, and Golub began working for a well-known area plastic surgeon, Robert Leonard, MD, at Trait’s recommendation. “He realized that I understood skin and believed in me, and that I would be a good specialist, so I was hired,” says Golub, who worked at the office for three years, assisting with laser services and performing facials. “Working in a medical environment was a positive experience for me.”

Wanting to work on the East side of Providence, which is a fashion- and beauty-forward neighborhood, and desiring self-employment, Golub decided to start her own business. In 2000, she opened Renaissance Clinique, taking up one entire floor—about 800 square feet—in a medical building. “It’s not a salon, and I don’t offer hair and nails. Skin care is a priority for me; I like to keep them separate,” explains Golub.

Her client list grew rapidly due to word-of-mouth, which is still her preferred form of marketing. Golub says she does advertise occasionally, but it is usually only to market a new service or piece of equipment. “Even though my English wasn’t perfect, almost everyone who came in became a loyal client and told friends,” says Golub, who now works with many clients who travel miles to experience her expertise.

Renaissance Clinique has also weathered the economy very well, and Golub attributes much of this success to a well-timed editorial piece that came out in an area magazine. After that article, which hit newsstands in October 2008—the exact same time as the economic crash—her phone rang off the hook. “People who come to me are financially secure people and many didn’t lose their jobs,” explains Golub. “It’s like a necessary step for them to come to me every month. For these people, it’s psychological. They feel better; it’s helping them to be more energized.”

Along with offering her own skin care products, Golub also works with Advanced Rejuvenating Concepts, Afrodita, Knutek, Sircuit Skin and YonKa Paris, and she says most clients also purchase retail products. “I retail a lot of products. What I use on my clients, I use on myself, and I only start to sell them if I am extremely satisfied,” she emphasizes. Golub is especially able to translate her knowledge about dry skin to those who suffer from it due to East Coast winter climates, as well.

“Because I couldn’t find the heavy creams for dry skin that I used in Moscow, I offer my own,” says Golub, attributing the efficacy of these heavy, rich creams for dry skin to much of her current retail sales. In fact, she ships them all over the country for clients who have moved and are unable to find an equivalent elsewhere.

With her 50th birthday on the horizon, Golub sees a time when she may retire. She and her husband enjoy travel, and Golub also owns a second location that sells her retail product along with trendy fashions, which she is considering expanding into a more European-like spa boutique. Although the combination of skin care and fashion may seem a bit awkward, Golub explains, “When people have a facial and look so good and so beautiful and feel uplifted, they would like to give themselves a gift and buy something fashionable. Women love beauty, and they love to give themselves something to enjoy.” It is this unique insight, combined with her drive and determination, that ensures whatever Golub decides to do with her future is guaranteed to be a success.

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