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School President Guides the Future of the Industry

Deedee Crossett, president, San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology

By: Emily Keats
Posted: August 22, 2008, from the September 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

She has a background in sports marketing, once worked as a promotions director for thoroughbred horses and claims she is not a touchy-feely person. These things considered, it may be hard to believe Deedee Crossett is now a licensed esthetician and founder of the San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology (SFIEC), which recently celebrated its six-year anniversary.

After graduating from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, with a degree in communications and emphasis in public relations, Crossett spent approximately eight years working in marketing and sales promotions for both public and venture-backed companies, including a position at Kinko’s, now a division of FedEx. While at Kinko’s, the company transferred her to San Francisco, a move that led to her enrollment in beauty school and transition to a career in the spa industry.

Although she was making great money in the corporate world, Crossett says she couldn’t have cared less. She’d always wanted to find a career that she felt passionately about; one that would allow her to wake up every morning excited about going to work. “I’ve always been inspired by the Mary Kay story or Mrs. Fields Cookies story,” Crossett says. “Like many estheticians, I didn’t have great skin growing up, so I was encouraged to get in it for that reason, too.”

She was interested in beauty as a high school student, but knew that attending beauty school wasn’t an option that would make her parents happy. Nonetheless, Crossett found her true calling as a beauty industry professional and educator, and says she works in the “best-kept secret industry.” “Everyone is happy to see you, you don’t have to take your job home with you, and you can make your own schedule,” she says.

While in beauty school, Crossett worked at the service desk at Nob Hill Spa, an upscale spa located in San Francisco’s lavish Huntington Hotel. She says this was a great way for her to learn about the business. She also worked as a corporate trainer for BABOR Cosmetics and really connected with the service side of the beauty business. “I was so amazed at how people would tell me anything after five minutes of them lying down,” she says.