Skin health has fascinated Tiffany Albert for as far back as she can remember. The owner of Fusion Spa in New York City, Albert grew up in Austin, Texas, and spent many of her childhood days collecting ingredients from her mother’s garden to add to her own concoctions. “I would crush up fruits and rose petals to see how they mixed together,” she says. “I was always reading the ingredients on the backs of shampoo and lotion bottles to learn their properties. It was just so interesting to me.”
Albert discovered more about health as she got older, going to Austin Community College to study health sciences and nursing. “I never really realized there was a career just in skin care,” she says, and it wasn’t until she moved to New York with her boyfriend in 1997 that she really caught onto her passion.
“I stopped by a local skin care salon and spa to buy some products, and I started talking with the owner,” Albert recalls. “I asked her, ‘How do you study for this?’ and she told me about a school named Atelier Esthétique Institute of Esthetics in New York City. Within the week, I was enrolled and I just loved every moment.” Incorporating the skills of her health care background with the newfound elements of esthetics, Albert had found her true calling.
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She graduated from Atelier in late 1998 and got her esthetic license in 1999, picking up as much knowledge as she could along the way. She went back to Texas to to get her medical esthetic certification from the Central Texas Clinical Skin Care Center’s accredited advanced medical esthetic program, and also independently studied and practiced reflexology and aromatherapy. “I always wanted to be a step up from the typical esthetician,” Albert says. “I love learning anything new.”
After graduating, Albert taught classes at Atelier and worked as a sales representative for an anti-aging skin care line. However, when she got the opportunity to open a spa with her friend Jillian Wright, another recent esthetic school grad, she jumped at the chance. The business, Glow Skin Spa in Manhattan, debuted in 2000, and enjoyed support due to mentions on Web sites such as Citysearch.com and DailyCandy.com. Because of this, Albert saw her career blossom.
“I gained an amazing clientele there,” she says of her time at Glow Skin Spa. However, after about four years of honing her skills and learning about new and more advanced offerings, Albert decided it was time to branch out on her own. “Looking back, I’m pretty surprised that I actually did it, because it’s not the kind of thing I would usually do just out of fear,” she explains. “But I think that just goes to show how much passion I have for skin care.”
Scouting out a location, Albert discovered the suites were roomy enough at The New Yorker Hotel to create spacious treatment areas in, and she appreciated the convenient location. Renting a suite, she opened Fusion Spa there in July 2004. “I wanted to create a serene, relaxing space in chaotic New York,” she says. To design her ideal skin care facility, she worked to meld her health and skin care training with the tranquil environment she felt people needed to feel well. “It’s how I came up with the name ‘Fusion,’ ” she says. “I wanted the spa to be a combination of clinical and pampering, creating a mix of treatments that were results-oriented, but still allowed clients to leave feeling really relaxed.”
Now offering services such as facials, microdermbrasion, reflexology, waxing, chemical peels and body treatments, Fusion Spa has become the space Albert envisioned. “I love the freedom and the solitude and the exchange of energies I get with my clients,” she says. “Building that trust and rapport with them, knowing that they are confident in my expertise and knowledge about the best ways to improve their skin, energy and health is really rewarding.”
Albert ensures that she offers her clients some of the latest and best treatments by consistently pursuing additional education. “I just finished an intensive five-day national certification course for the use of lasers in the industry, and I aced the exam,” she notes, saying she likes to stay up-to-date on more business-oriented classes, too.
Continued growth is a goal Albert always keeps in mind. “The industry is always changing and growing, with more advanced ingredients, and cosmetic chemistry and technology. It’s important to keep learning and to keep moving. Esthetics is more than just piling creams on the face; it’s about really affecting the skin on a cellular level, as well as using your heart and hands to reach out and help others,” she says. Albert is even researching the possibility of offering skin care services in conjunction with a plastic surgeon or other physician in the area.
With her passion and dedication, Albert is clearly ready to see her vision of skin health through to completion. “Starting out with pretty much nothing and doing everything from the ground up was, without a doubt, a challenge, but I always try to remember that the two most powerful words in the English language are ‘I can,’ ” she says.