December 2010

Lisa Kind - Editor

Esthetic Endeavors | by Judith Culp


Esthetician Success Stories Vary with Individuals

For estheticians the term success means many things. It may mean having a part-time career so they can spend more time with family. Some estheticians like the flexibility to schedule their clients around their kids' sports and other activities. This flexibility is more important than the size of any paycheck because it gives them the best of both worlds; career and family.

Other technicians want full-time work to reach financial goals as a way to measure their success. Still, others find success when working in a specific environment or getting their "dream job."

One of the big changes I have seen in the past eight years is more esthetic students coming into the training program with a goal of working with the medical community. The additional education needed to achieve this goal does not daunt them and they are committed to taking all the classes necessary.

I spoke recently with two estheticians who feel they have achieved their dream jobs and success in their chosen career. During this holiday season, I hope their interviews will inspire you to set your own goals and work toward achieving them.

Sherry LaVelleSherry LaVelle lives in Eugene, Oregon and works for Mark Jewell, M.D., P.C.

Q: Did you have a dream or vision of what you wanted to do when you entered esthetic's training?

I went into esthetic's training because I had a lot of sun damage from my years of growing up in New Mexico. After receiving a series of laser treatments along with chemical peels and microdermabrasion, I was impressed with the results. When my personal life changed and the need to work also changed, I decided to pursue esthetics as a career.

Q: How did that vision change after graduation?

The vision I had from day one was to work in an office with a doctor that offered laser treatments. I knew of Dr. Jewell, but he did not have a medical spa at the time of my graduating from esthetic school. I worked for several years doing consultations and eventually I trained with lasers. I was excited when Dr. Jewell opened his medical spa and asked me to interview with his office.

I had a dream and put that dream down on paper while in school as my business plan. It took me several years before living that dream, but the experience I learned along the way was positive. Not only did I have training on laser treatments, but I also had the appreciation to be able to work with a great team and business of taking care of patients.

Q: Were there special obstacles you had to overcome?

The obstacles I had to overcome were that I was going back to school late in my life and dealing with some personal changes. I was nervous about school at first, but once I got started I really loved learning the trade and being able to do a job that helped people. Tips? Get started, it's never too late!

Q: It sounds like you have achieved a job you really wanted. Tell us about it?

I really love coming to work every day because I work for a doctor that has built a great team of people that are like family. We all have personal lives, but we can be professional at work and know that we have someone to back us at any time. I think it's important to find a job that allows you to grow in areas that maybe you didn't think you could grow. I am able to not only help and educate patients with skin issues; I also have been able to assist the doctor with procedures that make patients feel good about themselves.

Jose AlexanderJose Alexander is also from Oregon and works for Dr. Lee Daniels.

Q. Did you have a dream or a vision of what you wanted to do when you entered your training?

I started having laser hair removal treatments at a local laser center and from the first treatment I found the job of an esthetician very interesting and I wanted to learn more about it. I searched the internet and spoke to the women who were doing my laser treatments about working as an esthetician. After further research, I knew I wanted to become an esthetician and I knew I wanted to work with more advanced treatments such as laser hair removal and other laser treatments. I took a leap of faith, quit my great job at a local mill, and enrolled full time in esthetics school.

Q: Were there obstacles you had to overcome?

There are not very many male estheticians in this industry. One obstacle I had to overcome was to show my clients that I knew what I was doing to earn their trust. When I treat women especially, the most important time is the first treatment. I always do what I can to make them comfortable. With each client, I do my best to make their treatment the best treatment possible. A happy client is always the best form of advertisement.

Q: It sounds like you have achieved a job you really wanted. Tell us about it.

Working for Dr. Lee Daniel at Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is a dream come true. It's the perfect career for me because there are a variety of treatments that we are able to do. From a relaxing European facial to a more advanced treatment like the VBeam laser treatment, I am able to treat a variety of client concerns. I enjoy working with the women at our office and I feel very fortunate to be able to learn from our Spa Director/Medical Aesthetician, Sabel Sanders.

My tips for others would be to really research all the areas that estheticians can work in and find an area that works for you. I knew I wanted to work in more of an office setting rather than a salon or spa setting. Others may enjoy working in a salon setting more. Visit the places that you may be interested in working at and introduce yourself. Get a better idea of how they run. Set your goal, and then pursue your dream.

Judith Culp, a CIDESCO Diplomat has been in the esthetics industry since 1980. A CPCP permanent makeup technician for over 18 years she served a 4-year term as a Director for the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, two years as their president. She is president of Culp Enterprises Inc. and CEO of NW Institute of Esthetics. Judy Culp is available for consulting. For more information visit