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Making His Way in a Female-dominated Industry

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: September 25, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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Ferguson credits his boss, Rad Slough, for giving him the opportunity to break into the industry and grow as a professional. “If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I’d be right now. He’s allowed me to spread my wings,” Ferguson says. And another important mentor, Madame Walker, his esthetic instructor at Aveda, also still keeps tabs on him. “She embraced me and, in class and after class, gave me so much information and encouragement. To this day, she calls on me and checks to see what I’m doing,” he says.

The battle for acceptance in a female-dominated profession is still one Ferguson has to fight occasionally, but because he remains positive and professional, he doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the situation. “With clients, when they call and the reception desk tells them my name, every now and then I have a person who doesn’t feel comfortable with that. It doesn’t bother me, and it has a way of working out. My clients tell other people about me and how they totally relax and have a great treatment. It makes me a better person knowing that I can change someone’s opinion about me and my professionalism,” he says.

But will all the lessons he’s learned about spa management and professionalism at Urban Body Studios become something larger for Ferguson in the future? “I would like to open my own spa someday,” he says. “It’s on the back burner to open a small studio. I’m not in a rush.” And he stresses that he wants to continue learning, no matter what. “Education is something you continue to do throughout your life. Things change, new technologies and new procedures come into play. It’s great to keep yourself in the loop,” he explains.

Ferguson has learned a lot in his career—both about esthetics and the power of perception—and all those lessons continue to drive him toward success in the industry. “Have integrity and keep focused. Don’t let other people deter you from your dreams. As much as I was upset that people wouldn’t give me a chance, I knew something great was going to come,” he says. “Keep your head up, believe in yourself and trust that all you have learned will pay off in the end.”