After the mother-and-daughter team of Sebrina and Sharmayne Foster experienced a lack of innovation and willingness to try new things in the skin care facilities in their area, they decided to open their own business to enjoy the freedom of providing unique, customized treatments to their clients.
Sebrina, mother to Sharmayne, graduated from Parisian Beauty Academy, a Paul Mitchell partner school in Hackensack, NJ, in 2008 with a cosmetology license, where she learned how to celebrate and educate the clients she works with. Soon after, Sharmayne followed in her mother’s footsteps and graduated from the same academy in 2010 with an esthetic license.
After Sharmayne graduated, she had the opportunity to work within her school as a receptionist, which allowed her to learn the business aspect that comes with being a skin care professional. She chose to leave her job as a receptionist to experience working with clients without the presence of her instructors. However, Sharmayne found that once she got out into the industry, not everyone was equipped with the technology and knowledge about the newest skin care advances.
“Skin care is ever-changing; it’s always evolving and it’s never really the same process,” Sharmayne says. “Being at school … it was all about taking care of clients and customizing their treatments ... That’s what made me want to go out and venture on my own,” explains Sharmayne. In September 2011, Sharmayne and her mother decided to open their own skin care facility, Organic Rose Day Spa, in South Orange, NJ.
“You see a lot of places that aren’t open to trying new things, or they’re not very knowledgeable about what’s going on,” says Sharmayne. She wondered why professionals were still not offering treatments, such as microdermabrasion or chemical peels. “We launched our own business so we’re able to offer those treatments. A lot of people are afraid of them because they don’t have enough information about them. Our goal, with each client, is to explain every step in a treatment and explain [why we choose to use] the products.”
Prior to opening Organic Rose Day Spa, Sharmayne began her business as a mobile spa, but found that her clients didn’t always have a designated place to perform treatments in their homes, and families and pets often got in the way of a relaxing and focused experience. Although Sebrina and Sharmayne still offer in-home appointments, they found a one-room skin care facility within a gym, providing clients with a place to receive a service and relax without any interruptions.
Although sharing a space with a health club does present a few challenges—including limited parking and gym classes that can get in the way—it also offers several opportunities, such as cross-promotion. The team holds various events throughout the year to entice gym members to try facial services and spa clients to receive a workout or a pass to an exercise class. Sharmayne explains they have a fair amount of cross-over clientele because both companies are focused on health and wellness.
Sebrina and Sharmayne experienced a less-than-conventional path to choosing the name of their spa—they took inspiration from their favorite product line, Shira, a local company based in New Jersey. The team implements three techniques with their new clients—after every appointment, they recommend three products. Sharmayne often refers back to the original consultation to remind the client how certain products may help with achieving their goals.
Although Sharmayne and Sebrina have differing tactics with their clients at times, they are striving toward the same purpose. “Working with my mom is really great. I’ve always looked up to her … sometimes there may be things we might not agree on but, at the end of the day, we try to make it all about customer satisfaction,” says Sharmayne. “I couldn’t have picked a better business partner ... I like that I have someone I can trust—she’s not going to do anything that’s going to jeopardize business, and she cares 100% as much about this industry as I do.”
Sebrina adds that working on a mother-daughter team is fun, but they have their challenging days. “I have to realize that she is her own person … I’m very proud of my daughter for the achievements she has made thus far in her lifetime,” she says.
Sharmayne and Sebrina see expansion in the future—and possibly the addition of another family member. Sebrina’s son and Sharmayne’s younger brother is currently in school to become a massage therapist, and plans to join the family business in the future.