It is so awesome to be a published author! You can read the digital edition if you’re interested: just click on the cover. This is my third time out, and my story is the lead article. 🙂 Since I no longer have employees (or children at home!), I’ve needed a teaching outlet, and writing fills the bill perfectly.
Since the article was published, I’ve gotten some great feedback, along with a request to teach at the Santa Barbara Aesthetics Academy.
Of course, I need to give credit where credit is due. My mom is a writer. She has yet to be published but has written several novels. She is brilliant. Trained as a lawyer and schooled in psychology as well, she was definitely my first mentor.
Then there’s my bestie, Jeanne Dininni. She is a copywriter, writes the blog Writer’s Notes, and edits everything I write (so, if there are mistakes…just sayin’). 😉 I hate(d) grammar and punctuation. She tries to slip in teaching moments, which I rebel against regularly. After all, why should I learn when I have her – ha!
No thank-you list of mine would be complete without a shout-out to the Lord! He inspires, sustains, and teaches me new things daily: most importantly the lesson of Eucharisteo. And my daughter Valery’s father-in-law, Larry Hoekman, who writes GodToMe, my daily devotional, inspires me as well.
All this to say, “Don’t let your gifts lie dormant. Take a chance, step out of your comfort zone, and live each day to the fullest, breath to breath.” Cheers! Here’s to success for all of us in 2012.
In October and November I am celebrating the Grand Opening of the new home of Star Brows in Grover Beach! When I opened the original location November of 2007 in Arroyo Grande I had a big party. While fun, it was rather expensive, so this time I’m giving my customers a special offer instead of putting on the ritz.
I’ll be sending out a mailing to customers I haven’t seen in a while and interviewing current clients about their Star Brows experience. If you’d like to do a survey too, let me know and you’ll receive a special thank you gift!
Old friends, new, and prospective customers reading this blog post may all redeem the following offer:
(Note: I will be on a Mediterranean Holiday October 18-November 3, so unavailable for appointments. My daughter Gina will be answering the phone, text messages, and will be able to fill product orders.)
About My Move
I started my search for commercial rentals in February and moved in April (what a whirl-wind). I found this amazing, light-filled space across from Miners on Grand Ave. It was bigger, closer to the beach, had a nice back parking lot, great exposure, and lots of potential.
The down-side was that the space lacked the amenities I needed: water, room walls and lighting. So we hired a general contractor, plumber, electrician, and carpenter.
We worked tirelessly for over a month, lived on take-out, skipped date night, and didn’t sleep much. Paul drove a staple into his finger with a staple gun, and now he has a permanent “trigger finger” … memories. I could never have done (afforded to do) this build-out if not for my dear husband, who is truly a jack-of-all-trades.
The contractors swallowed up the whole budget in a single gulp! (At least I put some people to work.) So, I shopped my ___ off at thrift stores all over for lighting, furniture and decor. Hospice Partners Hope Chest was my favorite, they are indeed “The Ultimate Thrift Store”. We tore out old walls and fixtures, painted every surface, cleaned, and did all sorts of re-purposing of things we already owned. We even painted furniture (thanks Behr 2-in-1).
In the end, it was all worth it. The results still amaze me after months of being in there.
Take a Tour
The “new” Star Brows is…
Convenient: I have two entrances but suggest parking in back. Grand Avenue is crazy. The restroom is back there too, just to the left of my door.
Sensual: Every sense says “spa”. When you walk in you may smell the amazing flowers delivered weekly by The Grand Bouquet or the essential oils I use is every treatment. The lighting is soft, and soy candles are always lit. Each room has its own sound system. In addition to zone heating and heated treatment tables, each space is softly lit with fixtures that are on dimmers.
Private: My services are “by appointment only,” and I allow 15 minutes between clients – so the place will likely be all yours.
Spacious: There are two private rooms and more:
The Facial Room has a heated table, body contour cushions, a hot towel warmer, sink, and a facial steamer.
The Massage Room was inspired by my love for Ethiopia (the country from which my first grandchild Bronson hails). Both treatment rooms are insulated for sound and each features gentle, radiant wall heat.
Body Waxing may be done in either room, which makes the service spa-like. Berodin® Blue – Hard Wax is used for face, underarms, bikini and Brazilian. Unlike the soft wax with strips used in most salons, it does not stick to the skin, which makes it less irritating.
The Lobby is open, and the makeup and Facial Waxing section is semi-private. My favorite and best-selling Makeup and Skincare products are proudly displayed for your browsing pleasure.
With 16 years as a spa owner, this is my proudest accomplishment. It blends elegant and exclusive with cozy and simple.
An Enhancement puts the luxury in “Luxurious Spa Services.” Enhancements are “mini services” you add to a regular spa service, like a full body massage, a facial, or an eyebrow design. They are specially priced and aren’t offered as stand-alone services. Spa Enhancements are sort of like a restaurant menu’s ala carte section, you get an entrée and depending on how hungry, or particular you are, you customize your meal by adding your favorite little extra things.
Spa experiences are like that for me. I don’t want “just a massage.” I want to add Deep Muscle Work, Essential Oils, and Hot Towels to my service. I like my guest to customize their spa experience as well. Choices are fun, and they make a service just-right-for-you!
While we are on the subject, when you buy skincare or makeup at Star Brows, you get Rewards that can be used to get free Enhancements next time you come in.
Some examples of Enhancements:
Waxing Enhancements – Eyebrow or Eyelash Tint, Star Massage, Face Part Wax (chin, lip, cheeks, nostrils, etc.)
Facial Enhancements – Power Pumpkin, Salicylic Acid, Primary Alpha Peptide Resurfacer, and Star Massage
“Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?” The Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz
It takes courage to make changes, and I’m making plenty lately! The biggest of them is moving my business to 1065 West Grand in Grover Beach. For locals, that’s right across from Miners. The move-in date is April 15. Everything you know and love about Star Brows will remain the same, including the phone number. 🙂
So, instead of looking to the Cowardly Lion in the light of these changes and fearfully affirming that “I do believe in spooks, I do, I do,” I’m repeating what some of the “greats” had to say on the subject:
“A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.” Arthur Golden
“Concentration of effort and the habit of working with a definite chief aim are two of the essential factors in success which are always found together. One leads to the other.” Napoleon Hill
“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.” Mary Kay Ash
“I can not do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do.” Helen Keller
I am so thankful to Dr. Cory Moore for providing me with a nice treatment room (and more!) for the last 3 years, to re-start my practice here in California. As many of you know, I wanted to “keep it simple” and small…yeah, well I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, change the spots on a leopard, or suppress a dreamer. In the end, to thine own self be true, or from my favorite quote ever by Dag Hammarskjold, Nobel Peace Prize recipient: “Never for the sake of peace and quiet deny your own experience or convictions.”
I’ve got to remember to be Linda. I’m a mover-and-a-shaker and am so excited to open the new Star Brows! I know it will be wonderful, once I’m done dealing with electricians (lions) and plumbers (tigers) and contractors (bears) – Oh My! In all fairness, I didn’t go looking to get bigger, just more comfortable! Now I’ll have better parking and more privacy. One of the most important things for me to provide is an environment that relaxes, calms, and soothes you – a space shared with other businesses makes creating that environment difficult.
In retrospect I see that unconsciously I’ve been purging and making changes in my life to prepare for this for a while now. I’ve been making room for new things – it’s a God thing.
Be of good cheer, friends. There will be good days and bad, but never stop dreaming. Never stop taking chances, or risks. In the end, nothing ventured – nothing gained.
Recently I wrote a piece for Associated Skincare Professionals. They have a national magazine publication called Skin Deep. My article was published in July, 2011. It’s called “Succeed Big by Thinking Small: How Focusing on Your Market Niche Can Yield Big Results.” The article is on page 24. It was my first foray into the world of professional writing. And although the process was laborious, I am so excited to have done it. In the article I talk about niche marketing in the field of esthetics, but I would like to tell you about my own personal niche story.
I was born to be an entrepreneur: Type A and all. I’ve had brief stints in the world of “being an employee,” and that never was a pleasant experience for me. Some who know me may say it’s because I have strong opinions – not usually great employee material. But, I’m convinced you need to face your weaknesses squarely in order to move to the next level. Or better yet, know where you fit in the work-a-day world. Of course, there are also gifts that go along with being like me, and that’s the true story.
I’ve written the magazine piece and this blog post in the hopes that they may inspire you to find your niche and be all you can be, too!
Your community needs to know, like, and support you.
Work harder and longer than the rest.
Be a positive thinker.
Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.
Believe in yourself. Nothing is impossible.
Anybody can spend money; it’s saving it that’s the trick.
If you can dream it, you can do it.
If you clicked the true-story link above, you know that my mom, Sandy, also exerted a strong influence on my entrepreneurial drive, my belief that I could succeed as a female professional, and my lifelong love for the esthetics business. She was a spa-goer herself and many times took me along! She was involved in the Women’s Lib Movement when I was “coming of age.” At about the same time, she went back to school to get her law degree. But the real gift she gave was one of acceptance. She let me be and do what I thought was right. She never tried to control or put pressure on me to do what she wanted. I am both proud and grateful for this strong woman who helped groom me for success as an entrepreneur.
Both parents encouraged and supported my decision to start my own business at the age of 20.I had studied dance my entire life, so my first business was a “no brainer.” My parents owned a bowling alley, and it had a lower level (empty during the day) with a dance floor. In addition, there were lots of moms in bowling leagues who had their kids in onsite childcare while they bowled.
So, this was my first business, Miss Linda’s Dance Studio, with my first little customers ready and waiting right down the hall.
I went on for the next 20 years, changing locations, growing and expanding that business until I had two studio spaces called Roseville Performing Arts, four employees, and a professional dance company called The Har Mar Dancers.
When I was almost 40 years old, I wanted a change,so I sold my studio and went back to school to become a Massage Therapist. My first shop as a sole proprietor was called Body Rhythms Therapeutic Massage. I hired an esthetician to do facials and waxing and thought to myself, “I would love to do that.” So, I went back to get my Esthetics degree.
Over the next 15 years I gradually expanded, adding hair and nail services, and the business became a corporation called Body Rhythms Therapeutic Day Spa & Salon. I had hundreds of employees over the course of time. I was able to mentor so many women in the field, and I had a thriving personal practice doing facials, massage, and waxing.
It was during that time that I developed my signature eyebrow design technique called “Graphing,” which is based on the techniques that plastic surgeons use to do face lifts.
When I was around 50, my husband, our youngest daughter, and I moved to California. I was exhausted from running the day spa and salon in Minnesota and wanted a simpler life. My other daughter and son-in-law were marketing grads from Cal Poly and lived in California. They helped me discover my own market niche: Eyebrow Couture. Originally, I thought I would design the eyebrows of the stars, but what I realized is that every woman is a star and wants to look like one. I love my work! It’s an important part of my life. The women I meet are wonderful. They teach, inspire, and bless me daily.
Finding your niche in the work-a-day world is just like discovering who you are.I don’t believe we are meant to have our work separate from our lives. Our passion and life energy should infuse whatever we do.
I’d like to tell you a tale of two veterinary clinics, because the experiences gave me some great ah-hah moments for my practice, seen through a consumer’s eyes.
We have a kitty at our house who had a near-death experience with a car, so we have been seeing veterinarians and spending boo-koo bucks. Because we have three cats and they are a priority at my house (mostly my husband’s), we normally do spend money taking care of them, using the best litter, food, etc. But the accident that caused this bout of vet visits required extra fundage.
The first vet’s office we went to was like a typical medical doctor’s office: very clinical, lots of forms to fill out, extended waiting time spent in the lobby, then on to the treatment room with a very brief visit from the doctor. The experience was somewhat cold and clinical.
Our kitty was out of sight the whole time at the first office we went to. (Who knows what they were doing to her?) When the doctor finally came in, he appeared aloof — and, my husband thought, condescending — and he spent maybe five minutes with us. After some more waiting, his assistant came in and went over the “super bill” which was padded with plenty of extras.
We left feeling ripped-off. The only plus was that our kitty got some pain meds out of the deal.
So, we found another vet. The office was a little shabby, there was some waiting, but the differences were remarkable! The veterinary assistant was authentic and personable — she related to our kitty really well and to us, too. The doc was amazing — probably in his 60’s — and very casual. He spent a ton of time with us, told us funny stories, petted our kitty, brain-stormed about what could be done for her, and worked on her with us there in the room so we could comfort her and be a part of it all.
We still spent more money than we might have liked, but we felt it was totally worth it. Our cat, Lucy, feels so much better now! I know he cared about our pet and about us and wanted to be a part of the care of our family’s kitty.
I want to be like the second vet. His name is Leon Thiessen and he is the owner of the Santa Maria Animal Hospital.
My office is nothing fancy. Once in a while you may even have to wait a bit. But when you visit Star Brows, I hope you feel the same way I did when I went to pay my bill at the second office. Professional services are not cheap, but if you feel you’ve gotten your money’s worth — and even more — they’re worth it!
I am obsessed with birthdays! Not so much the gift part, but I love to encourage people to celebrate and enjoy themselves with those near and dear.
And just in case you didn’t know, my clients get 20% off the month of their birthday! 🙂
So – when March roles around (mine is the 15th) the party begins. I personally play the whole month, cause it is hard to fit all the fun into one day.
Now lest you judge me as vain or self involved, let me just say; “I am wonderfully and skillfully made…in His image” , I haven’t always felt this way, but I’m a survivor, and I just look for fun wherever/whenever I can find it.
This year I am 57, and a senior citizen at least at Dennys (which I don’t love), but I’m just sayin ;). I also get senior drinks at McD’s, a pitiful .25 cents!!!, and cheaper movies. Why not enjoy the little perks?
I wish older women would celebrate their age more. Not just the cougars & celebrities who have a part time job working out, getting lipo, botox and tucks – but every woman…in every shape, size and skin condition.
Don’t get me wrong, I love makeup, skincare, working out and fashion. But I also accept that I am wrinkling, thickening around the middle, and forgetting things. I call it Healthy Aging! It is wonderfully merciful that it happens slowly over a long period of time.
The big perk this year is that I’m a Grandma, or Gramoo in my case. Little Bronson Carter Hoekman was born February 13 2011, but his birth Certificate reads September 10, 2011. He hails from Ethiopia and the paperwork/bureaucracy of adoption is a mess! The good thing is he gets two birthdays!! I meet him today (3/21/12) for the very first time…words can’t express the joy in my heart.
So, whether you are a person who likes to celebrate your birthday or not, remember to celebrate you – year round!