E91: the harsh truths about owning a beauty business (ft Danielle Drolet)

Welcome to our new Podcast Experience for Season 4! We have Danielle Drolet as a featured guest, esthetician and business owner for 44+ years, telling us the harsh truths about owning a beauty business. Yup, we reveal some juicy secrets in this one too about our future plans, so I suggest you take the time to listen.

What you’ll find out:

  • Financials and how to plan for big expenses
  • Surprising facts that were done to save money
  • Still big plans coming ahead *many reveals in this episode*!

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Podcast Transcript

businessworkyearsmoneyclientsdaysrentedskinmachinemonthfeelbought, friendsinvestedhappencomingaestheticshardequipmentplan

Do I look ok?

You’re awesome we’re alive right now.

Okay guys, welcome back to the podcast. Welcome to this awesome new season. And for the first episode, we thought it would be really fun to have Danielle over to have a discussion and so you can say hello hello everyone weird right we’re having a conversation on the because usually I would do this with my computer!

But um so today we wanted to talk about as the first episode for the new series. The harsh truth of owning a beauty business and that’s why we figured we’d bring Danielle in because she’s How old are you? 85
That would be good marketing though. Right? Right. Yeah, no. So 65 Now 65 now been through many 46 years of aesthetics. Aesthetics. Yeah. So I figured we just go back all the way back to the beginnings, and then we can just see where the conversation goes. If we go back to your were, what, 16, Something like that? And you decided hey, like that’s what I want to do.

I always wanted to be in esthetics and I even worked for a pizzeria illegally and accumulated enough money to buy a chair, a steamer, Luxo lamp and practice and while I was taking my course I was really really really into it. Wow, and what did your like how are your parents? Oh, my mom was disappointed because I had great grades. Yeah, you were good. You have always been super good at school. Yeah. And she was hoping I’d be a doctor or something like that. I thought, no, I’ll own my business. And that’s, I was lucky. I really was fortunate. To know from the start. 

I’ve always said the day of clothes isn’t a decision. It’s not like yeah, it’s gonna work. I worked seven days a week 12 hour days. When I opened at the delta I had to bring my laundry back home with the one of those little trolleys that you know the old lady’s walk around Yeah, with and everybody in the elevator because this was a business building like office building. Yep, that’s for sure.

Oh, my God, that’s really at the very end. Yeah, cuz back then in the 80s 7970s owning a business was not there was no money right. And nobody believes bankers believe in it, but I think I think it’s still it’s still a frickin issue to get money especially if it’s awful. They either they, you know, they screw you over with a really high interest rate because they’re like, I will make money off of this person, or they just simply don’t like they have to add on for a cosigner or something like that. Yeah. Um, yeah, even after, when was it? 25 years.

Oh, yeah. I have to buy new equipment and went to the bank. My husband. That’s so insulting. I was already 11 years in business with numbers through this. So yes, I was insulted. Yeah, I never went back. I always did it. Yeah. You don’t really need to take some notes about the high end equipment. Right. But, you know, for some people that are listening in that in the aesthetic industry, like equipment, machines, their frickin expensive, like people think that oh, you keep all that money that you charge. That’s not true. Most of it goes to all that equipment and thankfully, those companies have access to external financial companies, I guess. Yeah, at higher interest or higher interest rate, though, but at least you can get the money because, you know, at that point, you’re like, Well, I’m gonna go to a bank and get laughed at or am I going to use a higher interest machine? Exactly. So we Anyway, go to the bank, you have to have a whole bunch of papers for them to your projections and plan and it’s very hard to do that when you’re working five days a week, 10 hour days. So you figured okay, now I’ll try with a company or a company, but initially after 12 years ago, yeah.

After 21 years of business. I wanted to be out of the traditional aesthetics. I want to go into paramedical and I invested 175,000 And I had to pay it in five years.

Before I did that I rented a machine. So if the typical image so before you bought the skin tightening the laser hair removal, all that stuff. EMax, you rented, there was there was an option with another company to rent the machine per day. So we actually built the demand first. We rented it every single day, like a couple days a month. It was a day a month and it became two days a month and dedicate three days a month. $1,000 a day. Yeah. So by the time I got to, like during the course of maybe just a year, yeah, exactly. Yeah. After a year, three days. 1000 Okay, like, I can’t pay my own machine at that point. Yeah. And then you have the flexibility of having it yes, on the time it was, you know, everybody could see what improvements you know how the goal where you were getting the results, the results. So it was, yeah, that’s the way I did it. Yeah. And that’s smart, because you actually built it. I’ve always always been very careful with my funds. I have to analyze everything from A to Z before I could plunge and it’s important if you go wrong.

 So what would you say is one of the, like, a harsh truth for people that want to get into it? They’re like, oh, I want to get into aesthetics. It’ll be fun, though. What would be like a like a hey, you got to think about this. Before you get into it. What would be one of those things you have to love what you do eat sleep. You have to always think what next? What next?

But in my days it was better to call, do newsletters, and then you know, events. Yeah. But to build your clientele. You really have to work hard, you have to work you have to work hard, but you have to love it. You have to think okay, I did this next time. I’ll do that. You know, and just, that’s that’s what gets you going. Yeah, and then the clients, you appreciate the work you do, by seeing the clients being rewarded and happy. Yeah, they love it and work your files. I’ve had clients.

So you know, when they were 30, and now they’re in the 70s and it’s like every month. Wow, it’s amazing. It’s amazing, but you know, you have to keep those people going with results, which is crazy with trends. And I’m not I’m not trendy. I mean, yeah, so I like things to remain for a long time. Yeah. And to prove themselves before I jump in. Yeah. So saying it like to say like if you want to go into a career and aesthetics, whether you want to be a business owner or not. You have to really love and passionate about what you do because you otherwise you’re screwed to survive, you won’t survive. No, because the first big thing you’ll have is you’re gonna give up or you won’t be motivated enough to continue because you don’t want to it’s like okay when you lose your staff because you know, I’ve been through a few of those about that. and I actually I do keep my staff relatively new.

But there was a phase where I was pregnant, baby and you don’t have to take time off. and I had a staff of nine and six left after a month of giving birth. But there was a phase where I was pregnant, baby and you don’t have to take time off. and I had a staff of nine and six left After a month of giving birth. 

So I had to put my sleeves up. Go to work. Yeah. And that’s what I ended up doing. My mom was there then for my first baby and was there to help me. You know, I lived upstairs. 

Yeah, so for those who don’t know the history, they bought the building that their business is now in and we actually lived on the main wall on the other two floors and the business was on the main floor. So she was never too far from the family. No, and that was the goal. Because when I rented at the delta for 11 years 10 And plus one because I couldn’t find a place. I wanted to live and work in the same place and have a sitter from when I went to work at 11 When my husband came home, because I work till nine. Yeah, that’s another thing. It’s another thing that a lot of people don’t. when they start in that industry. they’re like, oh, I’ll just work 10 to 3 or like, and that’s like guys, you have to WORK.

So, coming back to the 70s you picked your career? And how like your friends, your surroundings? How did like, Oh, you’re gonna be the aesthetician! Well, yeah, like how was the reaction to the people? When you said like, Hey, this is what I want to do and like I’m going for it. What was the reception from your entourage? Most of my friends. Were going to be secretaries because it was that’s how it was. Yeah. or they were going to be you know, lawyers and doctors. where they had a family where they could have the money to afford take them Yeah. that far or knew the connections to get there. in those days you needed to have connect connection. Okay, so, now listen, I had people come in, my mom’s get services done.

It’s funny. When you tell people that you do something that’s not really the norm. Maybe today it’s a little different. There’s more options. There we go.
Pension, what about this? What about that? Well, I’ll worry about it. No plan for it. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And that’s what I did. Yeah.
And it’s, I remember, there was many, many times when I decided to, you know,
work more in business.
I was like, that’s what I’m gonna do.
I had friends laugh at me. I had even clients were under the names but we didn’t have clients and you know, it’s I don’t know who I’m talking about. But we even had clients that were like, What a waste. I know. And it’s like they know they’re Yeah, yeah, the difference the perception sometimes it’s a little insulting because they think that Oh, you just do like fluff fluff facials and like, nails no but
you know, above and beyond. It’s, it’s fine.
Because you matter. It doesn’t matter, intially. Yeah,
love what you do. That’s the thing. Most important. Yeah. Yeah, I’m really Oh yeah, for sure. Believe in yourself. You believe in the work you do. And if you don’t, if you don’t have that, you’re not you’re screwed. You’re screwed.
I mean, it’s kind of nice. Like we like we’re actually recording a podcast episode. And then you’re like, Oh, what do you do? Oh, I have
like other activities to like, promote our business and it goes, far we have to do because but but yeah, so okay. So coming back to the theme. So passionate, you have to be passionate, you have to be ready to work. You have to heartstrings and a lot of people believe that you just sit on your ass and just business is gonna come true. What else comes to mind? Like financial is another big one like with any business, right? Financial for sure. Yeah. Someone who start let’s say someone who’s starting obviously you didn’t come from money either. So how did you? You know,
you got to work right? Yeah.
So you get an initial investment for your initial investment. Yes.
Good Old Days. My father had cosign for three, which I paid in a year, and then made another loan for 10 grand you’re talking 79 year? Yeah, no, that’s a lot. So that was Yeah. And we made that if I did another one each time there was equipment. I’m expanding. I need the money. And that was that was okay. Yeah. And you do have to plan you have to plan how much will this cost? How much how much inventory will inventory?
Crazy with six of each and when we say inventory, we mean pre sales? Yeah, we mean the retail that’s on our shelves.
You know, if you go with three lines and six of each, it’s like, you gotta pay that inventory. Yeah. And it’s not gonna move unless you have the volume and work to it. But when you begin to, it’s not like that. And you really kind of get trapped, because there’s all kinds of sales person that comes to you and you haven’t really branched out you might want to take a new course with a certain line, which will guide you Yeah, for sure. But you might want to do something different. And cost.
So so what you did is that every time you borrowed money, it was like chunks of money every time. A five year. Yeah, pretty much every five years. Yeah. Until I moved to a live stream. And then what would you do? Because I mean, I think realistically speaking business is a roller coaster right when you got good times or bad times and it’s always it’s always the same like that. So in the bad times. What was your like? If business was slower than usual or something happened to stop bleeding River? What was your go to plan
to like get okay, like, you have to look at your financial got cut and you have to look at your financials and see okay, where can i Where can I take this fund and put it somewhere else? So this area so that I can continue working? Yeah, as little as a bus strike in the good old days in Ottawa, that like because I wanted, yeah, I borrow $500 and my grandpa Yeah, I just opened
Well, already for you, and that will ask you how long that was carrying me a couple of months. Just 500 bucks.
On my rent was high. As far as miscellaneous Yeah, just like extra I gotta be feel. I don’t have this income coming in. I just immediately did evenings and stuff promotion. Yeah.
So you got to think fast.
I would know I honestly would know how to handle it today. Opening a business.
Everything costs and you got to work hard to get that standout? Well, not just the standout. I think it’s more like your bills are high. So you need to try to match that amount of money that comes in. So you got work. And the one thing I didn’t do, I didn’t take Yeah, so that’s another thing. A lot of people like they want to pay themselves 100 grand a year starting
five years, five years. Is a big chunk of it was a big chunk, personally but a little bit of money aside, just out Yeah, I was working. Yeah. And it was like I was living sharing with Danielle those days. Yeah, department. Yeah, it was gonna happen. Yeah, we cooked all our stuff together. It would make it so much cheaper than cheese. So no,
that’s true. That’s a harsh truth. A
lot of people don’t know about it. It’s like, yeah, at least a couple of leaves a couple of years. Yeah. Unless you want to explode and like business is great. Yeah, fine. But you got to be realistic. Or unless you’re inheriting a business from from family. You can go ahead and it’s already established established. But to start from scratch. You’re not going to have a profit for
five years. Yeah, usually, at reasonable times, I would take $100 Because I needed something that Yeah, it wasn’t. It was pretty amazing.
Yeah, it’s hard to have a business, that’s for sure. But the rewards are high. So you have to have the personality for it. Yeah. And it’s funny because as kids we never really knew what was going on. Like you guys had you guys bought this huge building that was back then. Almost $400,000 You know, back then in the 90s, which would be one like, like, a million plus today. Like if you were to buy it now. 1.5. So I don’t know how you manage that. But the everybody was looking at us like
Are you back to the people
that said hey, what do you want to see out of the pension thing like what it is? Yeah, exactly. The rents alone are great. So you just have to be smart with your money.
Actually, before she said
she, she’s here.
Oh, man, yeah. Oh, another thing that I that I wanted to bring up is the constant. I don’t know how to say this. But like you always want to constantly learn in our industry going forward. But like you always have to make sure that you you know, even just like ingredients, there’s always more study that come out, you know, like vitamin eight, like we’re right now we’re obsessed right with vitamin A. And before because we didn’t know so we were like it’s just a scam. Like, you know, we have this like, opinion about images. Yeah, but now, now we went through training and but we did take 19 courses.
That’s nothing No, exactly. It’s a lot of course, yeah. But it gives us a direction that
direction. So we could probably bring the news now because you know, when you’re here it’s another good opportunity for people to
find out. But we did it. Okay, we are so many things. Yeah.
So we officially bought the northwest from canula it’s a system. It’s a new system. And there’s two different kinds of IPOs. And there’s the fracks there’s a laser resurfacing fracks on it. So we’re going to launch it officially in September, we’re gonna have a huge event, and it’s gonna be interesting. But again, that’s something that’s costing us $150,000 You know, yes. Yeah. And a lot of people don’t register. Oh, yeah, we’re ready for it. First of all,
our old Emacs.
I mean, it’s I mean, it still works fine. But before one day, they’ll be like, Oh, no normal. What are we gonna do now? We won’t be able to open it. So it’s no longer on? Warranty. So yeah, that kind of bugged me each time. And I think it’s still very it’s still very working well, but it’s the chance that we’re taking electronics electronics on the machine and to pay to repair it is not worth it at this point. It’s just not so I think we’re ahead of the game. And yeah, and that’s going to be exciting. We’re super clipboards we have to get training, more training, more training. And yeah, it’s going to help our clientele in a totally totally different direction. Yeah. I really, really love the more medical angle that we’re going towards. It’s really really fun art within our within our within our scope of practice, obviously, but it’s just a putter for the longest time we were so we did everything right like we did nails waxing, traditional facials and then we got into like pyramid but we still did the rest right? And then like as COVID happen as like we got like smaller and smaller in the niche treatments that we do now. We’re really like, Yeah, we don’t do we don’t do anything anymore. Like we only do face. Exactly. Oh, my face mostly is anti aging and or transformative. Yeah. There’s so much going on. Like in the last six months, we invested so much money in the business. We bought the Vizio skin analysis machine which is balm. It’s still I’m sure we’re still not using it completely to its full capacity yet, but we need to bring each client exactly take time so for the people that are listening to this he has a it’s a medical skin analysis machine it takes three scanner Yeah, it takes three angles pictures and then it gives you scores on how the health of your skin is it’s just it’s very it’s an in depth skin Analysis Machine. Yeah, so scanner for before and after porn after the meeting before now that we’re taking Yeah, exactly the next year or so. What the after will be just to give you an idea because when we talk about the harsh truth of having a business many, many cups cost that machine and Canadian was almost 30 grand. And then the Nautilus that we got was very expensive as well. So we’re looking at almost 200k Right? They’re both equipment. That’s just equipment. This was not even like salary, products. We invested in environmental, which was another, you know, so I think that’s something that you have to like if you’re listening to this and you’re like, oh, I want to do this. It looks so much fun. It’s fun. If you’re motivated and if you’re you’re you’re planning your stuff accordingly, but it takes has to be the right fit for you and you have to be able to pay for it without being hungry. Like you really have to really well plan your new thing Are we ready? Oh yeah. So now we’re launching three different things. Different things I know there’s alleged him too and then we go so we got the LED you guys hear us talk about the LED all the time we got we started with a standalone pro panel. And then we were doing so much that we were like okay, we need another one. So we got the we got the dumbbell up so we don’t want so that we could easily put them in the treatments when we used it. So that’s fine. Yeah. So that’s three new things plus the product. We’re done now. First of all about marketing and you know, events and stuff. Exactly. Yeah. Yes. It’s pretty exciting. How do your older client like the ones that have have followed you for that long they’ve seen the evolution everything. What do you hear from them? When they see all these things happening within the business? Like what’s the feedback from the old timers that are coming in, depending on their age? Most of them are like okay, well that’s good for me. That’s that’s really, overall the reaction. Yeah, some I mean, some are getting 79 Oh, my God really should do something.
Or I’m not willing to go into that, but maybe it is the product. Yeah, exactly. So it’s just it keeps them on their toes. Yeah, it gives them options if you want
to take it, but there was a client the other day, I don’t remember who it was. She told you. I’m gonna say her name because I want to anonymous but she came and she said, Hey, you guys like really? I’ve always evolved. I remember. Yes, I remember. Yes. But yeah, cuz she, she was taught you were working on her notice of it. Yeah. And she hasn’t been a client for that long. No, I don’t know where she got her Intel. But well, I think looking at our website, all the things that are happening in last three, four years. Yes. Yeah. Because she hasn’t been no, no. But that’s pretty nice to hear. Yeah, yeah. Yes. That’s that’s a common that we get often when we do events with our members and it’s no fun membership guys why? That’s another that’s another thing but you know, the clients feel very, they see that we work hard, and they see that we work for their benefit people. Yeah, exactly everything we do. We do work for their benefit. Because now we are programmed. Personalized program is like you’ve got a six month program for you. Yeah. And then from there, you can just get Yeah, you can decide you can move on but there’s always stuff to do. It’s always tough to do for sure. So they feel the way we work. You know, we specialize in making treatment plans, at least six months. That’s the minimum timeframe that we do and then we kind of set them up for success but their skin and then after we got to a certain point we do okay, well maintenance do we tackle something else? Like they feel a piano have to do I think you’re like literally, they’re welcome. And they’re well, they’re, we’re directing them towards what they need. And they see the results too. So and automatically they will go and really some people is like okay, let me think here for a minute because we do it all. Some people do it all some people do. Yeah. You know your steps, baby step baby steps because we don’t want to actually, how many times have you said you might not yet know Yeah, just go yeah, baby step baby steps. The skin can’t even take it too much. It’s too much, you know? But yeah, this was one of our job. So I think, is there anything else that you’d like to add? That we can talk about? That comes to mind when it comes to opening a business? owning a business? Get a good accountant, a good lawyer. People that will coach you that you don’t know it all? But that’s the thing like they don’t teach you. Sorry, but in school, you learn the basics. Yes, you don’t even learn business stuff at all. Not at all. So I think about if especially if you want to be an owner and have a business, you’re not just an aesthetician, no, no, you’re a business. And you need to know your business. Yeah, I mean, put your hands in it and understand counting business. You need to know where you are, and how much more you can play with it or your projections. But you really need to be well surrounded by people and lots of times. You just need people for referrals, referrals, yeah, friends. That was very important to bookkeeper or accountant. Lawyer. Yeah. Will help you good bankers. You can find one. Yeah, they’re hard to find. They’re hard to find. Yeah. But again, I think it’s building you meet someone and then you build a relationship with them. And then eventually you’re like, okay, like let’s do business. But
the key to all that is have all your tools ready, every single entity, there’s no excuse. Now that’s true, which is available information.
And then at one point you have to invest in Now you do have a certain amount of capital if you can put some money aside for a while working somewhere else. And then you’d have that cushion. I always had a question. Yeah, always. Yeah. Well, you know, I came from no money. So if I draw on your back, so I always was very, very much a Christian person. Yeah. Well, you taught me well, because well, it’s like remember back in the I think it was for your 25th you were working with a coach but like, you got all your logos down on your towels, like you had your website like I don’t remember like that was new. I don’t remember what was called like what she did. But back then coaching was not a thing but like she was she was like, just helping me. People evolve into the market. Okay, like I didn’t have a website yet. I didn’t have a sign up site, because that was expensive. I didn’t have Yeah, I had shirts, you know, personalized cheat sheets, personalized accounts. That was more about and then helping me instead of doing letters, helping me with the internet, and events. And that was the beginning of the social media. Right? Oh my god. It was way before you know it before. Like, at that moment with your five what year was that? 24. That was 99 for Yeah, so there was no social media back then. Social media. Facebook came out like 2005. And then the social media that we know today was like maybe 10 years ago. Yeah. So just working with a computer. technology, technology. Yeah, technology, which, you know, you sit there and you go okay, what do I do? Computers? Yeah. Yeah, so she helped me a lot with that and then then it was fine. Then I lost almost nothing guys. It’s like change. People don’t like change and will now people don’t want to work. So that’s a whole different issue. Surprising. Yeah. I don’t know where that’s gonna go. But I don’t know. Like I was saying, I was saying to you the other day, it’s like, I think today we’re in a time that if you work really hard, and you’re someone who is willing to work hard, you’re gonna succeed a lot better than the other people that don’t want to work. You know, of course, it’s because people are just, I want to say something but invest in yourself. You got it. You’re the only person that’s responsible for Yeah, as far as the business. You’re the only person that’s responsible for you. Exactly. You can not help but in mostly you’re the 1% Deaf while there are good people there are Oh, yeah. And I have kept and I’ve had some of my stuff come back three times. Yeah, exactly. Looking back for seven years in a row.
But yeah, that’s something you learned. And sometimes it’s not easy. It’s not No,
I think that’s the thing I don’t like to it’s hard. It’s hard to I remember when you started Yeah, 10 years ago, more than 10 years now. We always say we’re getting older. So it’s like now it’s like 1213 years ago,
15 years ago. It was great because your minds were Yeah, you were there for anything that would be happening. And that changed a lot.
That’s changed a lot and I still think you can find people like that. Yeah, but yeah, but it just it takes it takes time and you need to be I don’t know. Don’t take people for granted. No, no. I mean, for sure need to be a little more conscious of their body language or feeling like so people. Staffing as a whole should have a whole other like diploma, or like a course of like having to manage people because that’s super hard. And yeah, it can be hard. It can it can be hard. It actually was easy. I’d say 75% Sure. And then you have that percentage. Yeah, there are times where you do need them and it’s not gonna happen. Yeah. And then you have to find anything better. Exactly. You know, so it’s, everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. It’s part of the business. You gotta roll with it. You know, there’s just yeah, the roller coaster is not we love it for sure. So you can cover we’ve covered everything. I think so. Yeah. Where do you see your business going in 10 years. We’re gonna close it with that.
Boy, baby, the whole building? Yeah.
That’s a long term plan that’s actually working on so just give me some time guys. It’s gonna be a long process. But yeah, the image would be to use the entire building for business, but we won’t say what we’re going to do with it because that would be to reveal some secrets and pretty nitty gritty nitty gritty things but yeah, but that’s Yeah, I think that’s where you could go I’ll be there. Yeah, it’ll be there all night. I’m just checking in my god 75.
People really aren’t. People like working for us because we’re pretty chill. Actually pretty chill people but we have our ways, but we’re pretty again businesses business. No, exactly. We’re still human. But we still have our Yeah. So on this note, we’re gonna close it there. So thank you so much, you guys for joining us on this really special first episode of the new season. And if you guys wanna connect with us, just DM us on Instagram at Manta, Assa T or send us an email if you wanna have a longer conversation. Hello advertised tv.com. And, yeah, this kicks off the summer. Oh my god, we have to get parties now to I totally forgot to skin parties now. So that’s, that’s another thing that I’m starting me on there. But that’s another thing we started doing. We do exclusive skin parties for if you want to have some time with your colleagues, with your friends with my friends like maximum of six maximum of 16 Because we’re small intimate place but we don’t use companies now. Group and it was oh, it was amazing. It’s such a good time without them we didn’t want to leave. So yeah, we just get ready. So I’ll drop all the links below. You guys can check it out. But this is the official launch of the new because this is June. The the podcast is launching in June. So this is month six of the year. So we’re already half way through 2023. Well, yeah, it’s fine. It’s also the setup. It’s setting the tone for the next coming. So So on that note, we will talk to you guys very soon. Have a lovely day, evening night, wherever you’re listening to this and we will chat very soon and take care. Bye guys.