Irish Women In Business - Bespoke Facialist Jeanne Brophy
Throughout our Irish Women in Business series, we’ve spoken to women from all walks of life who have excelled in their chosen careers.
This week, we’re chatting to Jeanne Brophy, who developed a strong interest in skincare after struggling with teenage acne.
Fast forward a few years and she’s now an established bespoke facialist, who tailors treatments specifically to each individual.
As everyone’s skin is different, this concept really intrigues us and we spoke to Jeanne to find out more.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how your career began.
You could say it all started with my teenage acne. I tried every remedy possible from acne creams to perfume and toothpaste as well as a variety of homemade concoctions. Understanding the effect the problem had on my confidence and how skin issues affect people, I was drawn to study Beauty and Holistic Therapy in Dun Laoghaire Senior College.
I had a great interest too in the other factors which influence skin health, e.g. diet, lifestyle and stress. Afterwards, working in a salon in Dalkey, I soon realised that I couldn’t get enthused about waxing, tan or nails but I absolutely loved skin treatments. I had a loyal following and I started to attend almost every available course in skincare and advanced techniques.
Over the following years I continued working as a facialist and also started training therapists in skincare brands and treatments. I continue to work in both areas, training for professional therapists and facial treatments for my own clients.
I have always wanted my own business but it probably took me a number of years to decide what that business should be.
I realised that my business should reflect my skills and interests, i.e offering my personalised facials to clients. Of course I didn’t have all my ducks in a row, but I did have enough to take a leap of faith.
What challenges did you meet when starting out?
A major one was foregoing a “steady” job with the attendant financial risks and the investment needed for my own equipment was a big commitment.
As women know, juggling family life and running a business can be a challenge. I have a six month old, which has definitely been the highlight of my year but babies and businesses can take some getting used to. I now understand the importance of time management!
Talk to us about your salon and what makes it stands out.
My treatment room is in Marino, very near Dublin city centre. It strikes the perfect balance of convenience with two very importance P's - privacy and parking!
I really believe in the importance of individual consultation and spending time with my clients. I take a holistic approach to skin health, always looking at all contributing factors to skin concerns – diet, lifestyle, products and stress.
Yes, absolutely! I always look at each client’s skin like a fingerprint. It’s completely individual to you and often reflects your lifestyle, stress levels and diet. Your treatments and skincare must reflect this.
Is there anything different that gives you an edge amongst your competitors?
Our industry has so many offerings, tan, nails, etc. I believe my strongest advantage is in specialising. It allows me to focus on what I do best and where I have most experience and ongoing education, all in the service of my clients.
My strong background in training with regular exposure to the latest techniques in the industry is a big advantage. Equally, the people skills essential in training are a big plus when it comes to dealing with clients.
Are there any high tech treatments specific to your salon?
Yes, I have state of the art equipment ranging in use from mild calming treatments to exfoliation to much stronger collagen stimulation methods.
What's very specific to my treatments is how I combine facial massage with new technology, facial machines and active skincare to suit each individual client.
As a skincare specialist, what's your number one tip?
I'm going to give you two.
Invest in a good cleanser, this basic step is vital to skin health and there are too many harsh stripping products on the market that play havoc with the skin’s delicate balance.
The second is to make sure your skin care routine contains Vitamin A. It’s a wonder vitamin for pretty much all skin concerns and gives great anti-aging benefits to the skin.
What's on the horizon for the remainder of 2015?
I'm always working on new treatments and keeping an eye on the latest technologies so there are always new and exciting treatments in the pipeline.
I also run courses in Clinical Skin Care for aesthetic professionals, so I have plenty to keep me busy for the rest of the year.
What advice would you give to others hoping to start their own business?
I think it’s really important to love what you do. It’s often hard to make the jump but if you have an idea that won’t go away, go for it!
Believe in yourself and surround yourself with positive people who believe in you too.
What do you love most about your job?
My clients! Some of my clientele have been coming to me over 12 years. It’s such a privilege to be trusted with their long term skin health and great to see the results.
Tell us the highlight of your career to date.
There have been so many highlights including starting my own business that it’s hard to pinpoint one. Continuing education really motivates and inspires me with ideas for new treatments to benefit my clients.
Attending courses at home and abroad is essential to keep informed of new technology and developments.
I really hit the jackpot on one particular course, the other participants had to cancel and I received one-to-one tuition from the inspiring dermatologist Dr Rachael Eckle. Apart from being so motivational the insights gained were invaluable for my work.