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Mother of three who made a career change and enrolled in Esthetician school now owns her own business!!


It’s never too late to pursue your dream career; just ask Jessica Johnson, mother of three who decided to make a career change to become and esthetician after years in the golf industry. Making such a big decision is tough and literally life changing. was fortunate enough to sit down with Jessica and learn about her journey to where she is now.


When did you become interested in esthetics and what inspired your decision to enroll in esthetician school?

It started when I saw an advertisement for face lifts and I hoped it was never necessary for me. I decided then and there that I wanted to take better care of my skin to prevent having to go to extremes in the future. I began going to an esthetician and it sparked an interest in ways to naturally rejuvenate my skin in order to keep it young and healthy.

However, it wasn’t until years later when one of my sons was suffering from severe acne and I saw how damaging it could be on one’s self esteem. I wanted to help others feel beautiful and confident. I was going through some life changes and realized it was a perfect time to pursue my passion and get started with my dream career in esthetics so I decided to enroll in esthetician school. I now know that this is what I was meant to do and I will stick with this career for a lifetime.

What would you suggest for students in beauty school to pay close attention to that helped you in becoming as successful as you are today?

Many students don’t realize the importance of the business courses that they take when they are in school. I was fortunate enough to have a solid business background before esthetics school which I definitely think helped me out in making my career successful. Student need to remember, in order to keep your clients coming back you need the whole package. You need to be good at what you do but you also need to realize that this industry is seen as a luxury. In hard times and economic change, going to an esthetician usually gets put on the back burner. You need to be able to keep your business going and still appeal to your clients while they are on a budget.

What is one thing that has stuck with you from esthetician school and how have you applied it to your career?

The one thing that really stuck with me was how harmful the sun is and how much sun damage affects your skin for years. We learned about several different types of skin diseases and how they are caused and treated. I was very surprised by the importance of sunscreen in your skin care routine. This got my interested in one of my specialties, Collagen Induction Therapy, a natural way to restore and rejuvenate the skin from sun damage. So many of my clients were or are “sun worshipers” and I cannot express to them enough how important it is to protect your skin from the damaging UVA and UVB rays.

What other training have you completed and why do you think it is important for your career to enroll in continuing education?

I think continuing education is imperative if you want to be successful in this field. It is always helpful to be knowledgeable when your clients ask about the new trends. My two specialties, eyelash extensions and Collagen Induction Therapy, were actually continued training outside of esthetics school. I think this really sets me apart as an esthetician, everyone learns how to do facials and peels but I am able to pull in clients by providing specialty treatments and I am able to retain them by keeping up with the trends and upcoming procedures.

I constantly want to challenge myself and improve my skill which keeps things interesting for me and relevant for my clients. When I started working at a medical spa, I worked closely with our doctor learning more about Collagen Induction Therapy. I went to conferences and trade shows, and I did all the research I could on the topic and now I am able to perform the procedure using a client’s own Platelet Rich Plasma.

When I heard about eyelash extensions, I knew it was something I wanted to provide for my clients. At the time, my school didn’t provide training for eyelash extensions so I had to go to a day-long training course that was provided by the manufacturing company of the lashes. After that it was practice, practice, practice! My instructor saw great potential in eyelash extensions and had her class observe me for a day. She then got her training and certification to teach it and it is now part of the esthetics program at the school.

If someone is thinking about making a career change to do something in the beauty industry, what advice would you give them in making this difficult decision?

I would say to make sure it is something they are really passionate about. Obviously, if you are thinking about changing careers you are not happy with what you are doing. Make sure to find something you love and have the desire to learn and grown in the field. I love the challenges that this industry brings me. From figuring out how to help a client with their skincare needs to learning how to do new procedures to enhancing the procedures I currently do, there is never a dull moment.

Many people don’t know what they want to do right when they get out of high school. I think being in the ‘working world’ helped me realize what I really wanted to be doing. I knew going into this that the beauty industry is hard to stand out and it would take a lot of time to build up my clientele. It was very discouraging at first and it sometimes makes you wonder if you made the right decision, but I worked hard and I have never been happier with my choice. I know that this is what I will be doing for the rest of my life.

How Attending Esthetics School Jump Started A Beauty and Skin Care Career

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dani1Working in the beauty  industry doesn’t always mean you have to attend cosmetology school and practice hair design.  Just ask Danielle Finney, a licensed esthetician and Clinique Business Manager in Kansas City.  The team at chatted with Danielle about  how her passion for skin and beauty began at a young age and how it shaped into a rewarding  4 years working with clients on a daily basis.

When did you decide you were interested in the beauty industry?

I became interested in the industry when I started visiting an esthetician for my skin. As most teens, I suffered from acne and just couldn’t get it figured out myself. Like many say, at that time I felt like I had “tried everything.”   So I wanted a professional’s help! She truly inspired me by the way she helped me feel so much more confident in my own skin. That’s when I knew that I wanted to be able to do the same thing for others.

Why did you choose a purely esthetician school over a cosmetology school  that offered an esthetics portion?

Personally, I didn’t have an interest in hair or nails. Learning all of the techniques for facials, waxing and treatments such as microderms and chemical peels was more in the direction I wanted to focus on in my career.   When comparing esthetics programs, I wanted a tour of each school and exposure to the learning environment. I was interested in seeing the different treatment machines that we would have training on, treatment rooms, supplies provided and products used.  I choose B-Street Design in Overland Park, now one of Marrinello’s Schools of Beauty, because it was centered on the core programs I was most interested in and best matched my educational goals.

What was your favorite and toughest learning experience during your esthetics program?

I loved how fast paced everything seemed. Having a class full of people that shared the exact same passion and interest makes practicing techniques easy! During downtime, that’s exactly what each of us classmates did on another.  We practiced different facials or waxing components that we had just learned.   The hardest part I would say was getting over the first few clients. In most esthetic schools, once you’ve completed a set number of hours, and passed the tests, you are able to perform services on the public. So gaining the confidence to start practicing everything you’ve learned on someone besides your classmate, of course was so nerve wracking at first.   But it was also such a rewarding learning experience and I wouldn’t trade the nerves for anything.

How did your esthetic program lead you to where you are currently working?

I currently do not work inside of a medical spa or day spa. I’m now on the retail side of the industry. Although I miss performing treatments on a daily basis, as I did before I moved over to retail, I still have to opportunity to share my passion for skin care everyday. I truly enjoy helping others with their skin needs and feeling happier with their natural beauty. I also love the opportunity I have to be around the latest skin care products that are being made. There is always something new, and I have an interest in knowing what’s out there, how’s it’s made and why it may (or sometimes may not) work.

What continued education or training have you completed, and why do you think it’s important?

I have had the privilege of being trained on many different types of laser skincare. The school I attended did not offer such additional educational hours, but I do recommend that aspiring estheticians who would like to work in a medical spa, seek continued training. Many medical spas will offer training opportunities throughout the year once hired, but having experience and additional certifications  to list on a resume are always a plus.

What advice would you give students who are interested in a career in esthetics?

Try to take your state board as soon as possible after graduation. Keep yourself educated, because this industry continues to change with the different technologies being used these days in skin care! There are so many opportunities in the beauty industry and experience is definitely key when looking for your dream job. Everyone has to start somewhere in life. Remember that you may have to start someplace else to gain the experience that your dream job would prefer to see on your resume. Most importantly, remember that you’re the expert in your client/patient’s eyes.

Are you now ready to master the art of esthetics and skin care?  Find an esthetician school today to get started!

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Completing Cosmetology School to Pursue A Dream Career as a Makeup Artist

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jessicaBetween beauty magazines, fashion shows and celebrity styling,  it’s no wonder that a career as a makeup artist has become such a sought after profession. was lucky enough to talk with Jessica Harbin, a Kansas City makeup artist at Chanel and owner of I-Do Special Events, about her journey to where she is today.   An industry veteran who has worked in almost every aspect of the beauty industry for the past 12 years, Jessica is one of Kansas City’s most in-demand wedding stylists, and has turned her passion into a thriving profession.

When did you decide you were interested in the beauty industry?

I decided after graduating from high school, and a year of community college under my belt, that I wanted to pursue a career in makeup and hair for weddings. While in high school, I always was the go-to girl for up-dos and makeup application. Every dance, my friends would come over to get their hair done, and I knew then that it was something that I wanted to do.

What were the most important factors you considered when looking at cosmetology schools?

When looking at cosmetology schools, there were three things I knew I wanted.

  1. It needed to be close to home.
  2. It needed to be a cosmetology school with a name and brand that I knew and was familiar with.
  3. It was a must that it offer financial aid to its cosmetology students.

During cosmetology school, your program included makeup, nails, and esthetics in addition to hair.  Did you favor one of these cosmetology specialties over the others?

When in school, I always was most interested in makeup and skincare. Although we didn’t do as much concentration of makeup application, as I would have liked, knowing how the skin worked was extremely interesting. At the time I went to school, they didn’t offer an esthetics program, so the cosmetology program offered me the next best option.

What was your favorite learning experience and toughest part during your cosmetology training?

My favorite part of the learning experience during cosmetology school, was actually learning all of the science that goes into it. I loved learning the chemistry behind mixing hair color and perm solution and really making sense of what you learn in grade school.   It finally clicked…so it made it MUCH more interesting for me.   I also loved learning the anatomy of skin and why certain skin conditions occur. The toughest part was cornrows. Yes, cornrows. I know that sounds strange, but every week as a daily assignment, you had to do a head of cornrows. I was terrible at them and they would often take me all day to complete!

How did cosmetology school best prepare you for a career in the beauty industry?

Cosmetology school really gave me the opportunity to work with so many people from every walk of life. Instead of just dealing with someone with my skin and hair type, I was able to work on clients and classmates, thus giving me experience with anything that may be thrown my way!

What continued education in cosmetology or training have you completed and why do you think it’s important?

Being in the cosmetic industry, there are several continued opportunity classes available for you to attend to further your knowledge.  These cosmetology classes are offered by almost all of the top brands and will teach you several techniques and secrets about products that you are then able to share with your clients. There are also national organizations, such as the Professional Beauty Association, that host opportunities for you to further your professional development.

Favorite thing about working in the beauty industry?

My favorite thing about working in the beauty industry would be meeting new people. I have worked many weddings, promos, events, and photo-shoots and have met so many wonderful new friends. I love being the one they count on to make the most important event glamorous! It also allows me to be creative, and get my creative fix! Here is just one example of my work.

Makeup done by Jessica Harbin an I-Do Special Events

What is one tip you would give people considering enrolling in cosmetology school or a specialty program such as makeup, esthetics, or nails?

My advice would be to pick a school that offers exactly what you were looking for. Like I said, at the time I decided to go to beauty school, there weren’t any schools around that offered an esthetics program. Even though that’s what I wanted to do, cosmetology school was my only real option. Although I am glad that I have that knowledge in my back pocket, it’s not really what I was looking to do. So be choosy and pick a school that’s truly geared to your career goals.

Ready to begin your journey in the cosmetology industry?  Take the first step today and start looking for beauty schools!