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Engaging in Productive Discomfort
By: Jane Wurwand
Posted: August 21, 2008, from the September 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Feeling comfortable and competent in your current work mode? It's a nice feeling and you worked hard to get there, but, believe it or not, it's not a good thing if you want your business to thrive. Take a hard look at how you do business today. Are your displays dusty or dated? Are your shelves occupied with products that don’t relate to skin care, such as candles and slippers? Do you give your treatments in the back of the house? Does your shop lack the feeling of an energy force field, drawing clients back again and again?
Your approach to treatments and take-homes are where changes must begin. You need to reimagine your retailing area so it generates at least 50% of your revenue. And think about bringing treatments out of the singing-whales-CD, crystal-aromatherapy cavelike back room to the front and center of your floor plan, much like a gourmet chef who designs his restaurant around the high-tech kitchen visible on all four sides to diners.
Beyond starter skills
Feeling relaxed is just one click on the dial away from complacency, and this complacency is why professional skin care is hurting these days. Blaming it on the economy? You should know our profession has been called recession-proof. If you’re bottom line is not robust, it’s likely because you’re too comfortable and not creating relevance for your business.
Typically, this means that service, versus retailing, dominates your business model. And typically, skin therapists don’t love to sell, they love to give nurturing treatments. A deep tissue change is needed, and it may make you uncomfortable. However, the payoff will be a more interactive, entertaining and client-friendly beehive that should generate greater buzz and greater profits.
When we are first starting out as skin therapists, it’s very important to develop and polish our basic skills, just as all children must learn to read, write, count, add and subtract in order to function in the world. I think of this level of elementary competence as skin care literacy—effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, painless extractions—these are the core skills that define us as professionals. But to truly shine, we have to move beyond what the Irish wit Oscar Wilde called “the last refuge of the truly unimaginative”—namely, competence.