When soul singer James Brown crooned about it being a man’s world, he probably wasn’t thinking about the spa industry. A notoriously relaxing and accepting industry, the spa has been and remains a sanctuary that has often catered to women more than men. And although many spas are working to create more men-friendly environments for potential clients, it often can be a different story when it comes to male estheticians. Lawrence Ferguson, lead esthetician for Urban Body Studios in Atlanta, a wellness studio that offers fitness options as well as a spa and salon, has experienced the challenge of breaking into the industry from a male point of view.
Ferguson began his career in the beauty profession as a hairstylist near Washington, D.C., where he graduated from the Graham Webb Academy in Arlington, Virginia, in 1991. “I got out of hair because I hated standing up all day. It wore on me,” laughs Ferguson. “I enjoyed what I was doing from a creative standpoint, but financially, it wasn’t paying off.”
After leaving the hair industry, Ferguson decided to work for his father in information technologies (IT) in order to build more financial security. “When I was in high school, I would go to work with my dad and watch what he did on a daily basis. When I asked to start working with him, he said I could on the condition that I become more familiar with IT,” says Ferguson. In order to do so, he took Web classes at local community colleges and became certified in IT from the Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Columbia, Maryland in 2003.