Her mother was an artist, but by her own admission, Elizabeth Milan, owner of Elizabeth Milan Day Spa at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, was not very good at visualization. Early in her career, she had visions of becoming a sales representative for a top makeup brand. When that didn’t happen, she still needed to pay the bills and accepted an administrative position at a health club. Its owner, who also owned several hair salons, eventually hired her to work with salon personnel and troubleshoot potential problems. When Milan’s call finally came for a sales position at Revlon, the health club and salon owner saw her potential in the industry, and offered her a higher salary and paid for her esthetic school classes.
After training with the likes of Edith Serei and Eve Taylor, Milan opened her own day spa in Toronto’s upscale area of Yonge and Bloor streets in September 1980. She was married to Milan Ichniovsky and decided, for business purposes, to take his first name as her last, rather than the longer surname that proved harder to pronounce. Ten years later, the Elizabeth Milan Day Spa moved into the Avenues level of The Fairmont Royal York Hotel. At that level, more than 1,200 shops and services are connected by the downtown area’s underground PATH Walkway. Today, the spa features two wet rooms with therapeutic baths among the 11 treatment rooms, as well as a pedicure room, three manicure stations, a full-service hair salon, a retail area and a relaxation lounge.
Throughout the years, Milan has not only maintained a very hands-on approach with her business, but has also been active in esthetic education. She is a chairperson of the Seneca College Esthetics Program and is a past chairperson of Sheridan College of Esthetics, both in Canada.