Voyage Denver Article About Yours Truly:
Today we’d like to introduce you to Bri Nejad.
Bri, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today? My career path towards working in skincare is full of twists and turns but has ultimately led me to find my true calling in life. Skincare is by far my biggest passion- I will never stop learning and growing in the field. The reward of helping others feel their best is absolutely indescribable!
I have always been interested in the field of beauty and skin for as long as I can remember. Even as a little girl, my favorite “toys” were makeup and lotions. However, despite my love for all things beauty, I won a full academic scholarship to study Political Science/International Relations at the University of Alaska. During the pursuit of my studies, I spent a few years studying abroad in Europe. I thoroughly loved learning languages, cultures, and traditions in other countries. I also enjoyed learning about the various skincare traditions in the countries to which I traveled. Even on a college budget, I found a way to pay for facials and skin care and I absorbed the knowledge of cultural differences in their practice. I still use some of these practices today in my spa! I like to think of myself as more of a European styled esthetician. European skincare is, on the whole, an entirely different approach. European esthetics often uses a philosophy that is grounded in technique and wellness vs. the aggressive exfoliation and quick fixes we often encounter here in the states. I definitely relate more with an integrative approach to healthy skin.
Along my path, I decided to head to grad school to become a high school teacher. While teaching naturally wasn’t my calling, it afforded me the summers off to study skincare. I got my esthetics license while teaching and I never looked back! Immediately after licensure, I quit teaching and became a full-time esthetician. I was lucky enough to get hired at a very high-end spa in Anchorage, Alaska (it was even voted top 5 in the nation in Day Spa Magazine in 2008). I worked there for 6+ years. While it was a wonderful and fruitful job, it didn’t allow me the full creative licensure I longed for, as large spas often set strict protocols for skin care treatments. Despite my success, I felt like I needed more flexibility in what was truly needed to help my clients.
In 2010, we had our first son and were transferred to Nebraska for my husband’s job. I quickly found work at another highly known, upscale spa in Omaha. Despite the great opportunity of this job, I yet again felt boxed in by limiting protocols and time constraints. I felt forced to treat skin against my philosophies. It wasn’t until 2012 that I created the Unique Skincare Boutique out of a need for more flexibility to help my clients. I wanted to have the right tools, time, and limitless possibilities to help people in my own way vs. just following a list of protocols. The USB was open three successful years in Omaha, Nebraska before moving to beautiful S.E. Aurora, Colorado in 2015. We now make Colorado our permanent home.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you? I am definitely blessed to be as successful and busy as I am here in Colorado. I am usually completely booked out 6-8 weeks or more at a time. On average, I work about 25-35 hours a week, which is “full time” considering, I’m also raising two little boys and I am 100% of my business (I have no employees). I try also to be available to my clients via text and online support.
With all of this and my constant need for education and learning, it can be a lot sometimes. I have had to learn the fine art of saying “no” to things when I just can’t fit them in. My personal priorities have definitely had to shift! While I would never turn someone away, new clients sometimes have to be OK with waiting a few months to come in to see me. For existing clients, pre-booking your appointments early is a must with me (but it’s worth it)!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Unique Skincare Boutique – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others. The Unique Skincare Boutique is a peaceful home-based spa. I have now set up my spa in 3 of our homes in two states and have been in business for almost eight years. I absolutely love having my spa out of my home in that it is significantly more peaceful, welcoming, and allows me the ability to spend more time and resources on the client. We actually look for and purchase our homes first based on the accessibility of the spa, second for our personal needs. I also spend a good deal of time researching the area before we move and make sure it meets the legitimate licensing requirements of city and state. It is very important to me that I am fully licensed and insured- I want to be taken seriously as a professional skin therapist, as should my spa.
The USB was entirely created by my need for imagination, creativity, and implementation of education backed skincare. As a whole, I do not follow protocols- I take my knowledge, education, and skill and completely customize every single treatment for every unique client. I often joke that my facial treatments are like snowflakes, never are there two exactly alike. I often take this varied approach to treatments, because one size most definitely does not fit all. What’s more is that I take the time to thoroughly get to know my clients personally. Lifestyle, stress, diet, and homecare are huge in skin health- so this is an important component in meeting our skin goals. I also genuinely care about each and every one of my clients on a personal level- to me they are all part of my success. I want them to succeed in their skin goals as much as they do! You will likely not encounter another esthetician quite like me- which is why I call myself the “Unique” Skincare Boutique. I definitely take a more integrative approach to skincare than most, and pride myself on my constant need for learning vs. just following a set theory, skincare line, or protocol.
At the USB, I largely specialize in acne (using two completely different methods), slowing the aging process, barrier impairment/sensitive skin, and general skin health. I carry over seven different professional-only skincare lines ranging from acne to oncology and everywhere in between. I carry a complete line of inventory on hand, from acne-safe makeup to complete skincare lines. If I love it personally, I sell it in my spa.
Aside from skincare, I also pride myself on my brow skills. I have a large and loyal brow clientele and I adore doing them. I am often known as “the brow lady” around my neighborhood. I do love a beautiful set of brows! I also offer brow henna, brow and lash tinting, lash lifting, and full body waxing services.
What sets me apart from other skincare providers is certainly my uniqueness. I consider my style of skincare to be “non-invasive clinical skincare” with an emphasis on the European style. I believe that relaxation definitely plays a big part in self-care and skin care as well, and that often less is more when it comes to aggressive exfoliation and injectables. In my educated opinion, there are too many quick fixes out there in skincare. A gradual and more sustainable approach is not only healthier and safer but with longer-lasting results. Lastly, I believe that there is always an answer to every skin concern and it just takes the right therapist or approach to figure that out for you. The world of skincare can be very complicated and ever-changing, and I’m happy to take the difficulty of navigating that challenge away from my clients.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally? I am blessed to have known some really amazing and powerful women. I cater to a 90% female clientele naturally, and I understand the true need that women have these days to take time for self-care. It’s hard to carve out that time when you’re being pulled in so many different directions. I personally know, as a mom and a business owner, that taking time to treat my skin and body well makes me feel better in all ways. It not only gives me a boost in self-confidence but it reiterates that taking time for myself is worth the sacrifice. However, I do feel that as busy as women are these days, we need to take the initiative to schedule self-care despite the feeling of guilt it may cause.
Image Credit: Sun Rae Photography and Kelly A Read Photography