From doing facials in a one-room spa with a recliner as a treatment chair and a slow cooker to heat towels, to being the owner of a skin care facility with 24 team members, JoAnn Juralewicz has been on quite the adventure throughout the past 20 years.
Although Juralewicz didn’t become a nurse as her mother wished, she did want to have a career taking care of people—she’s the oldest of five children and nurturing others is just in her nature, so she decided to attend Ocean County Vocational Technical School for cosmetology in Waretown, New Jersey, in 1989. Her instructor had a strong interest in skin care, allowing Juralewicz to learn about skin care and dabble with equipment.
As soon as Juralewicz graduated from cosmetology school, she opened a one-room spa with a partner in 1990. Her clientele continued to grow, as did the concept of professional skin care, and she branched out on her own in 1994, opening Simply Skin in a 1,000-square-foot space in a Toms River, New Jersey, strip mall. Since then, she has expanded the facility within the strip mall, now occupying a 4,000-square-foot space, offering a wide variety of services. Simply Skin carries its own private label, as well as Biotone, Keyano Aromatics, SkinCeuticals and Sothys. “The idea was to take care of the whole client,” says Juralewicz. “Most of our team members are very spiritually based, so we bring a lot to the table when it comes to taking care of our clients. We all really enjoy what we do, and that comes right out in our services.”
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Juralewicz didn’t stop learning after earning her cosmetology license. “Education is not just saying, ‘I have a four-year degree.’ It’s about learning every single day, and it’s about gathering knowledge, organizing that knowledge and actually using it,” she says.
She recalls her first industry esthetics show in Las Vegas as the epitome of learning. She participated in round-table discussions, in which industry legends led a conversation with a table of 10 attendees, and then came together to share each group’s answers. “These round-table discussions really set the tone for me to get in touch with people in the industry, and to talk to people who were already in the industry for years,” says Juralewicz.
Since then, she has earned an International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC) diploma at Atelier Esthétique Institute of Esthetics in New York City, as well as taking several courses there for continued education, and has attended training at L’Institut Sothys Paris in France.
Although Juralewicz is the owner of a successful day spa, it’s not about making millions of dollars, she explains. She has had the opportunity to help 20 women—who are either the sole breadwinners in their families, or single and self-sufficient—stay employed in careers they love. “To me, life doesn’t get much better than that,” she says.
The supportive culture that Juralewicz has cultivated at Simply Skin is probably responsible for the manner in which she and her team persevered when Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in October 2012. “In October, the world we knew in Jersey changed. Although Simply Skin suffered no physical damage from the storm, the stories of our clients and their loss touched our hearts deeply,” says Juralewicz.
Immediately following the storm, the team at Simply Skin worked with clients by using a back-up generator. They also lent a hand anywhere they could, providing on-site massages for first responders and volunteers, and raising more than $2,500 at a benefit.
“There were many of our clients who were displaced. Some might say that massages and facials were the last things they were worried about. And yes, they probably were. But after two or three weeks, it was something that seemed normal to them,” says Juralewicz.
Perhaps the most obvious sign of the success Juralewicz has had in nurturing a family atmosphere at Simply Skin was how quickly everyone came to the rescue of a Simply Skin team member who was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. After word got out, the Simply Skin team and its clients got to work. “We’re sisters and daughters and friends, and when somebody’s hurt, we all pitch in and we help,” explains Juralewicz. In just a week, the displaced team member was all set in her new apartment.
Although many of Juralewicz’s peers are now retired, she has no plans to slow down any time soon. She continues to play a large role in Simply Skin, but has recently spread her wings to become a part of Nerium International as a brand partner. She and her husband love to travel and to interact with people. “We just want to enjoy life, because it is pretty short,” says Juralewicz. “I want to spread myself out real thin and be a part of everything.”