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Carrie Griffin, owner of Slice of Heaven Spa in San Jose, California, was looking for a more social job. Her first career, in human resources, involved her working with engineers, a cerebral group notorious for being thoughtful and introverted. “Nobody ever said ‘hi’ because they were in their own brains,” explains Griffin.
“At this point in time, my mother was sick, and the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her. Because of this, I wanted to learn about the body and have a flexible schedule to take her to doctor appointments and be guilt-free. For the first time in my life, I asked myself what I wanted to do. Sometimes you get your first job, then a promotion, and that path takes you one way when you realize you want to do something else,” she says.
Although she didn’t realize it at the time she made her choice, Griffin now acknowledges that her preference of esthetics as a career probably also had a lot to do with her father, Ron Griffin. “My father was a successful doing hair; he was the director of 13 beauty colleges and owned beauty supply stores. I learned the importance of customer service from him,” she explains.
She planned to attend esthetics classes at night and work at her regular job during the day. Then something unforeseen happened:Griffin was laid off. “It was a negative turned into a positive. I was disappointed, then relieved that I could go to day classes. I simultaneously went through esthetics and massage training,” she states. After earning a massage therapy license from the Institute for Beauty and Technology in Santa Clara and an esthetics license from Evergreen Beauty College in San Jose in 2005, Griffin began working at several part-time jobs—one at a spa in a fitness center and one at a day spa. “I loved it; I was able to get experience two times faster. At each place you work, you’re going to learn something totally different,” she says.
After this experience, Griffin rented space in a day spa for a year, and then obtained her first location that had two rooms, one of which she rented out. Next, she moved to her current location, a spa with five treatment rooms, where she operates her business and rents space to other spa professionals. How was she able to manage this steady growth? Simple: good customer service. “Growing at a steady pace is a good thing; you can refine how you operate, and you are apt to make fewer mistakes. You have to offer superior customer service. My father was so successful in business—he opened thriving beauty colleges, a flower shop, a restaurant—and the common thread was customer service and professionalism,” explains Griffin.