May 2009

Directions Your Beauty Career Can Take You

As America continues to shift towards a predominantly service-orientated economy, the professional beauty industry continues to offer exciting and financially rewarding careers.

While people may view being a hairstylist as the main career choice in the professional beauty field, many are not aware of other challenging and lucrative jobs that comprise this $56 billion dollar industry.

The beauty industry is constantly expanding, offering opportunities for men and women of all educational backgrounds. Plus, it remains one of the few industries capable of providing a career that is relatively immune to recessionary pressures (consumers continue to spend on haircuts, cosmetics and skincare even in tough times) while still offering a competitive salary.

The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) encourages both young people embarking on their career path as well as others looking to change their profession to consider these directions a professional beauty career can take you:


Christine Giustra, esthetician and entrepreneur, having recently completed her education and licensing in 2007, proves how an education in beauty opens up many career paths, including business ownership.

As a licensed esthetician, Giustra performs a wide variety of rejuvenating treatments that are customized to her clients’ skin concerns and develops an individual cosmeceutical treatment plan to meet their goals. Her skills helped her to gain immediate employment with a top spa in New Orleans and at the same time allowed her to develop her own private practice and business, The Skin Studio.

“Upon earning my license, I found amazing support and encouragement from other beauty professionals helping to accelerate my career,” states Guistra. “Not only do I love meeting exciting people and earning a good living, I am also able to help people look great and feel better about themselves.”

Product Manufacturer

Brook Carlson is vice president and general manager of RUSK Professional Hair Care, one of the leading professional hair care companies offering a complete range of styling products and tools.

Carlson has had a distinguished career working for notable beauty companies such as L’Oreal, ARTEC and Zotos International, giving her the knowledge to manage RUSK’s product development, marketing, financial operations and strategic partnerships. On a day-to-day basis, Carlson may be involved in such projects as planning a strategic launch for a revolutionary beauty product, working with her creative directors on “the look” for upcoming fashion shows, performing market research on beauty trends or meeting with RUSK’s many distributors regarding the company’s products.

“My job allows me to be both creative and analytical, which I enjoy. I have found my career in the professional beauty industry to be highly rewarding and would recommend others to seek out the many opportunities that are available,” states Carlson.


Lee Lawson is regional director of sales and development of Neill Corporation. A beauty distributor is one of the many jobs most people are not aware exists within the beauty industry. Lawson is the connection between both large and small beauty companies and the many salons, spas, and retail outlets that sell their products. His career allows him to be an educator, salesman, manager, and strategic marketing specialist every day.

From motivating his team of salon business consultants on new products and marketing techniques to assisting salons and spas in determining the optimal configuration of their space, no day is ever the same for Lawson. 

For over 15 years Lawson’s career has allowed him the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and help many businesses thrive. According to Lawson, “To see the growth of a salon from the infancy of the relationship to their achievements today is worth all the hard work. I have always approached my career in this industry as being a partner with the salons and spas I work with. Their success is our success!”


NeCole Cumberlander who is hairstylist, educator and business owner of The Ohio Academy has been in the hair care industry for many years and her accomplishments are as diverse as they are cutting edge.

Cumberlander is a national educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems, President of the Salon & Spa Leadership Council for PBA, and Dean of Education for the Ohio Academy. She has trained other hairstylists around the country in advanced education and salon management for many years. Cumberlander’s passion for education has also inspired her to become co-owner of The Ohio Academy Paul Mitchell Partner School, which is comprised of two campuses in Columbus and Twinsburg, OH. “When I began my career, I never dreamed that one day I could be both a hairstylist and a teacher. I love that I am able to help inspire and educate others so they may have a rewarding and successful future. There are so many wonderful careers in the professional beauty industry and I am honored to be a part of its continual growth,” states Cumberlander.

Makeup Artist

An artistic nature is what drew Janell Geason into the professional beauty industry. Realizing a career in beauty matched her personal interests; Geason chose to forgo attending traditional college and enrolled in cosmetology school to become a hairstylist. Twenty plus years later, Geason works as a freelance Makeup Guest Artist/Educator for Aveda, does freelance makeup/hair for an agency and continues to work out of a salon in Minneapolis. Geason decided to pursue a career as professional makeup artist in 2001 when she realized it would broaden her scope of services and increase her earning potential. Geason’s efforts were well rewarded in 2008 when she was honored at the prestigious NAHA Awards Ceremony as Makeup Artist of the Year. “A career in beauty matched who I was as a person when I started my career and continues to keep me motivated and inspired on a daily basis. I would highly recommend those who are not sure about a career path or whether they want to attend a traditional college, to look at a career in this industry,” says Geason.


Having a keen interest in politics and how government policy relates to the everyday person, Sam Leyvas, Director of Government Affairs for the PBA never imagined that his passion would be put to use helping salon owners, product manufacturers, and beauty retailers understand how legislation affects their bottom line.

On a day-to-day basis, Leyvas interacts with association members across the country concerned with what a specific bill may mean for their business and he helps members of Congress and their staff understand the ramifications of pending legislative matters.

“Like many people I speak with, I had no idea that one day I would work in the beauty industry,” states Leyvas. “The professional beauty industry is extremely important economically for our country and I am very fortunate that I am able to combine my interest in public policy with my desire to help others understand the importance of becoming involved in the legislative process.”

A beauty career opens up many opportunities for people regardless of their age, race, or educational background. PBA invites people looking for a career path or seeking a change in their profession to learn more about what the industry has to offer. Beauty is big business! For additional information on PBA, visit

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