We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea Blackburn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsea, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I have worked for other corporate companies for almost a decade and was very involved in building and operating their businesses, managing their budgets and increasing their revenues. It got to a point where the lifestyle was not sustainable and I wasn’t as fulfilled with the work I was doing anymore, even before the pandemic. I knew that I needed a change and leaving NYC for a bit in May of 2020 helped to clear my head and make me realize that I was fully capable of managing my own business since I could do it for these other companies all these years.
I took a lot of time to really contemplate and figure out the root cause of what makes me fulfilled in a job – and it was that I truly love making people feel good. I realized that I needed to focus on how I could make that happen long term and actually make a difference in people’s lives. I received my Esthetics License in NYC in 2012 but had put it on the back burner as I focused on other things. I decided it was time to finally get this business going and my to-do list began to grow exponentially.
It was overwhelming to think about all of the things I needed to get done in order to start operating my business. That being said, I just took it one day at a time and almost a year later, I moved into a Salon in Oak Park, Sacramento. I now have a growing business that has recently expanded to Los Angeles and will be between the two cities.
My main focus behind my business is that I want people to feel confident in their own skin. There is so much pressure to have “perfect” and young looking skin between IG filters, make up and cosmetic surgery, that it seems so easily attainable. In fact, one of the main wishes I hear from my clients is that they want to feel confident leaving their house without makeup. If I can empower you to feel good about looking like the unique you that you are, on top of giving your skin a little more glow, I feel like I’ve done my job.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I feel like a lot of estheticians/facialists don’t really care about the effect that they have on their client; and maybe it’s not that they don’t care, but they don’t understand. I personally have had so many facials where it feels like they are just applying product on my face, but I’m not receiving any other benefits. Any time this has happened, I’m just laying there thinking “I could be doing this myself, at home”. A lot of my clients have felt the same way and were even skeptical with me before they started receiving treatments because of previous bad experiences.
It’s important to do your research on any esthetician you get treatments from. Not everyone knows what they are doing and this is why word of mouth recommendation is huge in this industry. I’m proud to say that I know I am truly making a difference on my clients skin and face. They come in looking to work on acne, pigmentation, hydration and even lifting. My clients always feel amazing right after their treatments, but the next day is even better. They notice the difference and their friends do as well; and that’s a great feeling both for me and the client.
I second guessed my abilities a lot in the beginning – mostly because I’m a perfectionist. But I have learned that I need to stick with what I know and really cater to the clients that are looking for a more natural route of slowing down the aging process.
I really rely on word of mouth promotion aside from social media. Friends telling friends is what really made my business start to grow. It has been people never receiving a facial like the one I offer and them wanting to come back consistently each month as well as telling their best friend that they need one too.
It seemed like an extremely slow process at first, but once I started picking up momentum, it really took off!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I haven’t been living here long, but I would say walking through Old Town Sacramento or Midtown for various different restaurants and bars. Old Soul in Oak Park has some of the best homemade pastries as well. What’s great is that both San Francisco and Lake Tahoe are a 2 hour drive away which make for nice day trips.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom has been an incredible support throughout my whole journey. When I was first getting my business started, I used a room out of her house. There was a lot of trial and error going on, but she was encouraging throughout it all. In fact she was the person that planted the idea that I could actually create a business with skincare, even when I didn’t believe it myself.