how we cultivate our team
I’m approaching the year and a half mark of being the Spa Coordinator and it has me reflecting on the function and dynamic of our spa. It has taken some time and effort, but we pride ourselves on how we have fostered a nurturing and thriving team (and we are slightly protective over it!). I am fascinated by people, the function of relationships and how that spills over into the workplace. So, it’s only natural that I have keenly thought about the environment I have come to spend 7+ hours a day in.
Maybe you’re also fascinated by this topic as well, or maybe you are just curious as to what our work atmosphere is like. Either way, I’ve compiled some habits and characteristics I have found work well for our team.
1.) Personality Tests
I put this one first because it has helped us SO much in MANY ways. I know you cannot understand a person completely from a personality test. However, I still would suggest this if you are interested in learning about your fellow co-workers, your manager or whoever is leading you in your job. Since our staff has taken a few different types of personality tests, we understand the other person’s weaknesses (or strengths). I see where I am lacking and where my team fills those cracks.
I will give a detailed example of our personalities and how we play off of each other. Since we refer to it a lot in the spa, I will use the Enneagram in my example. For those of you not familiar with the Enneagram, I will give a short description of the types used. There are 9 personality types in all, below showcases ours.
"Together, we are like a healthy, growing plant."
Emily is a type 1. Types 1s are known as rational, idealistic types. They value justice, integrity and can be perfectionists. Types 1s have a strong sense of mission, which works great for us because our business needs a leader. Emily is that great source behind our mission.
Martha is a type 2. I honestly feel like we would fall apart without our type 2. Type 2s are called “The Helpers”. They are warm-hearted, desire to fulfill other’s needs and truly create space for others agendas in their lives. This is a huge asset to us because Martha is like a fairy who checks on us all day. So many things get accomplished because of this—from the laundry, to client’s questions…the list goes on!
Me, Liz, I am a type 4. Types 4 are idealistic like types 1s as well. However, we are lacking the rationality of type 1s so my lack is made up with that key characteristic of Emily. The great thing about 4s is they are highly creative and are rich in cultivating purpose and beauty wherever they go. Often times, I feel as if it is my job to bring inspiration and meaning to our days at work. That can be found in spending one on one time with a client in quality conversation or reminding my team of the times we have impacted a client’s journey on understanding their unique beauty.
Together, we are like a healthy growing plant. Emily, the roots of the plants, being our strong foundation that grounds us. Martha, the soil, keeping us fed and fertilizing the plant with her nurturing demeanor, and Liz, the flower, bringing beauty and allowing us to see the gift of what the plant truly is.
Now…. can you tell I am a bit obsessed with analyzing people and personalities? On to the next point.
2. Focusing on our Purpose
We are here to help. Our job is to comfort clients with our knowledge and skills. When we recognize that our skills are here to serve others, we can humble ourselves and become a happy servant. This can be difficult, because we have work tasks like any other job. We have a constant pile of laundry that needs to be done, we have voicemails and emails galore, a website to maintain, 3 clients that just walked in the door that know nothing about skincare or makeup--it is an endless check list. I find that the days where we focus on the overall meaning of our job, our days are smoother. The days where we seem to be frustrated with menial matters, our minds are bogged down. Stepping back for just a few moments a day and realizing this can calm the anxiety that we carry around our team. It’s an intentional workout, right?
"The days we focus on the overall meaning of our job, our days are smoother."
3. Set goals
Goals propel us into the direction we are seeking. Goals can be of all sizes—weekly goals, monthly goals, etc. Right now, our team has a few different goals we are trying to achieve. We can get distracted talking about all our ideas and visions, setting goals keeps us focused. Our goals focus on different areas of our business and are often designated to whoever is suited best for that particular goal while also keeping on track with our goals as a team.
4. Learn from success AND from failure
Some ideas work and others don’t. It’s the cliché example of trial and error. I would say that as a team, we are pretty good at quickly realizing when something that isn’t working for us needs to be cast aside. If you are blessed to have a leader that is more likely to extend grace in the face of a mistake, then you understand what a privilege it is to learn from that leader.
5. Know your audience
Are we even doing our job if we are so wonderful and smart but don’t know who needs us? No. Paying attention to the people put into our path is crucial. This is where being detail oriented is very important. Watching the response to our social media accounts, reviewing our new client intake forms and being personal with our clients helps us to excel in knowing our audience.
"A healthy team is both a gift and a reward in life."
A healthy team is a both a gift and a reward in life. A gift because it is given to us in plain form, but then it is also a reward because the gift matures as it is worked for. It is a comforting thought as you drive to work each day, knowing that the load may be heavy, but you aren’t carrying it alone.
I hope these examples encourage you + plant seeds of hope and vision for you.
The Skincare Novice
My experience at working in the spa has been both unexpected and mysterious. When I found myself submitting a resume in the application process, I told myself “What am I even doing?”. I had recently relocated from Florida (where I was somewhat of a sun-worshiper), and had zero understanding about skincare and beauty. All I had going for me was my undying devotion to red lipstick.
I credit my landing the job to my eagerness to dive into an unknown world. The unknown can be fearful and intimidating. In this case, much of those elements were overpowered by pure curiosity and a desire for newness. I looked around at all the shiny bottles and fancy words and felt inspired.
To say there was an overwhelming period is an understatement. I spent months learning about chemicals, advanced treatments that were unbeknownst to me, skin conditions, makeup products…the list goes on! Many days I doubted my brain’s ability to comprehend all the new information that I was learning. The skincare industry advances VERY rapidly. You could feel completely up to date on all things skincare, only to find yourself learning about new technology or treatments a few weeks later. It’s a true cat and mouse game.
The most impactful thing I have taken away from my time at the spa is the aspect of caring for myself. Who knew something as simple as a face cleanser could make me feel like I’m making myself a priority? Before the spa, my skincare routine looked a lot like splashing leftover shampoo soap onto my face and grabbing whatever lotion in my bathroom cabinet to slather on top. I’m more responsible now that I’ve gained the knowledge of what quality products are and how to use them.
Most importantly, I love seeing the results clients have from visiting our aestheticians. When a client’s battle with acne is subsiding because of our treatments, we all feel humbled to be restoring that client’s self-confidence. When a bride is lit from within after her wedding makeup session, we remember what a gift it is to be apart of such moments. I have always had an innate love for people and have enjoyed being able to be present through their experiences.
It’s been a roller coaster ride this year at the spa. I’m grateful that despite my lack of experience, Emily’s Skincare & Spa took a chance on me. “With great risk, comes great reward.” is the beloved phrase that comes to mind. What a reward I have gained being the Spa Coordinator—here’s to all the excitement that is to continue in the following seasons!
After three years (this coming March) yours truly, Caitlin S., will be transitioning from the role of "Spa Coordinator" and "Front Desk/ Store Manager" to solely management and marketing! What does this mean? It means that I will no longer physically be at Emily's Skincare & Spa Tuesday - Saturday very soon. Occasionally you might catch me working the odd weekday or two when needed. In a way, we are expanding in that aspect; adding a new team member to take over the store management and front desk role. While I'm certain it's no secret that small businesses go through an ongoing process of hiring new employees - probably more than we'd prefer - that doesn't seem to make it any less stressful or time consuming. Can I get an Amen? I have to ask though... when it comes to the business, is it too large of a risk to take a chance on someone who might not fit the candidate description? I'm aware that resumes and applications that don't qualify will always come through, but how can we truly know the measure of someone based off of a resume? I recently posted a job opening for my position here at Emily's Skincare & Spa and received nearly one hundred and fifty applications. YES, you read that correctly.... one hundred and fifty resumes came through our email within two weeks and my task was to read through each and every resume and job application and prioritize them based of qualifications. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I saw a younger version of myself in many of those resumes - young, eager, inexperienced and ready to commit to something they may not fully understand. While I never did attempt to submit my resume for a job I wasn't qualified for, I commend those who do; that takes a certain amount of confidence and courage.
On the flip side of things, being the one on the receiving end is so much more difficult than I ever imagined. Have you ever tried to weed through one hundred and fifty resumes hoping to find "The One?" You know - that one that stands out among the rest and is an obvious choice? Have you ever tried to look at a person's resume objectively and remain unbiased and nonjudgmental? After all, doesn't hiring someone suitable for the job require passing judgment on some level? We are taught not to judge others, and yet here I am all of the sudden thrust into the real world of business and management and it becomes a necessity to pass judgement. Why? What if I don't want to pass judgement? Let's take a step back from the child-like tantrum that embodies complaining about "adulting" for a moment and look at this from a business standpoint shall we? My obligation and duty to this company is to find the very best and brightest to represent us - someone who will be "in it for the long haul." When everyone is reaching out saying "pick me! pick me!" I have to be the one to say "no" to some of those applicants, unfortunately - no matter how badly I want to say "yes" to every single one.
Let's talk about resumes for a moment... a resume isn't always a testimony to your moral beliefs or character and it certainly isn't about getting too personal. A resume is an opportunity for you to shine. A resume is best served updated, current and organized. Lets not forget - PROOF READ your resume. Try printing it a few times from different locations and computer systems. Make sure it's going to print properly no matter what program or operating system a company might have. Aim to include only the important information that seems pertinent to the job you are applying for; while it's impressive that you've collected shot glasses from all 50 states in the U.S. I really can't use that information to determine if you might be capable of problem solving in a pinch or remaining calm when the WiFi goes down and you've got a line of clients waiting to be checked out.
What interests you about working for us? Do you know anything about our company? Have you visited the website? Do you know who owns the business? What about the history of our business? Have you researched the products we sell? Or our services? Do. Your. Research. Ask us questions - not just questions about the pay or bonuses - ask us questions that would require some effort on our part. Get to know us before you so readily commit to joining our team - working at a small business in the service industry isn't for everyone. Part of what makes our business successful is the team of ladies who work together to keep our little slice of serenity up and running; we each take great pride in our facility and the overall presentation and we all work to help each other out when the time comes. True, it's easy to say you want to be part of a team - but when the going gets tough and you're unexpectedly out of hard wax and you need someone to make a quick supply run in the middle of the day without complaint what then? How will you handle needing to ask your team for help? How will you handle when your teammates ask you for help?
So much effort goes into keeping a small business running smoothly and far too often it requires the employees to care as if the business were their own - even though it isn't. You know the old saying, "...it takes a village..." - it truly takes a village to bring ideas to life and dreams to fruition. Even more so, it takes commitment to keep that dream going and build upon the foundation that has been set by those before us. We are growing here at Emily's Skincare & Spa and we are so immensely grateful for the support we've received these past three years in our current location and we cannot wait to see where we are and the growth we accomplish in another three years!
Emily's 'How-To' Breakdown
Let's take a minute to focus on one of the most important (and one of the most neglected) personal hygiene routines...
How do you start a skincare regime? How do you know what products will be effective? How do you know you aren't wasting your money on products that won't work? How do you use your facial cleanser, moisturizer and eye creams? There's endless questions we could all ask about skincare but never find ourselves in the company of experienced "skin doctors" who are qualified to answer these questions. Let's start by explaining the different types of skin...
What are the different types of skin?
How do you go about choosing products that are suited for your skin type?
What are the ingredients that you should look for to compliment your skin type?
Q&A with Emily Mitchell:
Q: Brittany T. - "I get blackheads around the edges of my lips and over my entire chin. I've been told it's hormonal, but truthfully, it doesn't just flare up around "that time." How do I counteract those hormones that are causing this? I've read that certain hormones increase the production and secretion of oils in the skin, and then that's what causes more breakouts. Still not sure how to help it."
A: Emily M. - "Well, you can always stick to basic homeopathic home care remedies; but whether it's hormonal or not, it will continue to happen no matter what. I don't want to mislead you and say that you will be completely clear one day forever, but your skin is your largest organ and there are so many variables that can effect the condition. The best thing you can do is narrow down skincare products such as homeopathic, salicylic based, or products that are designed to help with reducing oil production to give your skin a better, more clear look and feel."
Q: Kim G. - "How can I help my wrinkles & fine lines? I've got them around my eyes and other areas of my face. Also, should I be using actual skincare products on my body as well as my face? Or can I just get away with using regular body wash products?"
A: Emily M - "First off, it's always a great idea to use skincare products on the neck and décolleté area because these are the areas of the body that we begin to show aging faster. Second, you can use any body wash you want! If you've got acne issues on your back then it would be prudent to use skincare products that are salicylic based on your back. Lastly, lets address the difference between dehydration and fine lines. If you've got actual fine lines, there is no miracle eye cream or facial moisturizer that will make them go away permanently. That being said, lines created through dehydration are curable. How can you tell the difference? Lines created through dehydration do not bounce back easily, can look oily but will feel dry to the touch and is more prone to congestion; meaning any form of acne. Quick fix? Look for products that have glycerin or hyaluronic acid in them! Find products with Retinol or Tretinol; the difference between the two is that Tretinol works for acne and those who have oily or tolerant skin are best suited for Tretinol whereas Retinol is primarily more suitable for sensitive skin types and also tend to contain moisturizers and emollients to reduce the likelihood of irritation"
Q: Caitlin S. - "Does it matter if I mix product brands?"
A: Emily M. - "As a clinical aesthetician, we don't normally advise that you do this. Because most product lines are designed to compliment and support the next one. If you have an understanding about the different ingredients in each product and are able to piece together different brands for your skin type and possible condition without affecting the strength and purpose of each product then there should not be any issues."
Q: Leslie S. - "What are the best kind of products for different types of skin? What are the products that everyone should be using and which ones aren't really a necessity?"
A: Emily M. - "You should use products that are geared towards your skin type - are you oily? Dry? Etc....As far as which products are necessary vs. not necessary I truly believe that everyone should have a 1. Cleanser 2. Serum 3. Eye Cream 4. Moisturizer/ SPF - other products such as toners are however extremely helpful in neutralizing the pH balance and prepping the skin for your serums and moisturizers."
Q: Leslie S. - "How do you get ride of Sun/ Age spots?"
A: Emily M. - "You can either go with a natural skin brightener (Kojic acid or Azelaic acid) or hydroquinone (chemical) or laser (medical). Once you decide on one of these you still have to use your SPF every single day and avoid the sun. If you don't your sun spots and age spots will come right back."
Q: Tana L. - "What are the best all natural or organic products for 40+ something skin - not young and not fighting wrinkles and nothing with chemicals of any kind?"
A: Emily M - "I can always make recommendations but if you are wanting to avoid all chemicals of any kind you'd need to steer towards a truly all natural skincare lines such as the Luxe Apothecary that we carry in our spa. It is important to read the labels because if there is at least 1% that's technically "all natural" then a company is allowed to label it "organic" but there could still be chemicals in it that you don't know about"
Q: Diana P. - "What is a good quick fix in the morning for puffiness under the eyes. Also, is there a way to help keep eye lids firm?"
A: Emily M. - "If you are looking for a FREE way to help - tapping around the eyes with your middle finger rapidly. Cold compress will also help - unfortunately there isn't any quick fix or miracle to make this issue go away. We carry an Eye Fix at our spa that is designed specifically for this issue."
Q: What skincare products should my husband be using? Is it normal for men to use skincare products?
A: Emily M. - "Actually yes, it is normal for men to use skincare products. Typically men need products that are designed to control oil. Usually a gel based product."
Q: What's the difference between skincare products in your spa and products in the store?
A: Emily M. - "Lets talk about the difference between "over the counter" products and professional grade to medical grade strength; the difference being 2%-5% active vs. 10%-20% active. When you use "over the counter" you are typically using ingredients that are the lowest quality - hence the inexpensive price. However, when you start using professional and medical grade products you are essentially purchasing the highest quality ingredients on the market. That being said, those individuals with the "perfect skin" or low maintenance skin would do 'fine' using over the counter products; of course there's nothing stopping you from wanting to make improvements by using higher quality products to maintain your already great skin. Those individuals with damaged or 'trouble' skin would do best with products that are of higher quality."
Q: Do I have to use my skincare products every day?
A: Emily M. - "You should... with free radicals, the influence of the environment and other variables fighting against you every day you should be protecting your skin every day."
Interview with Emily
...We all have the same 24 hours in a day - what matters is how you choose to spend those 24 hours...
If one were to label a person within reasonable boundaries, it may very well be safe to say that Emily Mitchell would receive labels like these; wife, mom, small business owner, boss, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, fitness coach, bikini fitness competitor , fitness model and more. These labels, while accurate, can be difficult to live up to all at once in the eye of the public. Far too often I find the public only focusing on the superficial rather than the bigger picture - the positive message that Emily hopes to instill in others along her path. Perhaps we - the public - should focus less on the labeling, the fancy workout clothing and the fitness photos and more on the common values, beliefs and goals; healthy eating, healthy living, reaching personal goals, independence, etc... I hear people say, "I wish I could go to the gym and get the results that Emily does..." or "I could never own and run a small business AND be a wife and a mom like Emily, it's just too much..." What people forget is the process; building a small, successful business doesn't happen overnight. Winning fitness competitions takes months, sometimes even years. Making a name for oneself in the community takes great effort and endless networking. Looking at the finished product can be incredibly motivational or it can be immensely intimidating; but according to Emily, "we all have the same 24 hours in a day - what matters is how you choose to spend those 24 hours." When I questioned Emily about her drive and ability to keep going and not give up - in fitness and in business - she stated that she "is tired from time to time but [she] just keeps going and gives 100% of [her] effort into the task." When asked about her road to small and large successes Emily stated, "You don't have to be great to start. You just have to start to be great.... I think Zig Zagler said that and it's always stuck with me." Emily's biggest day-to-day hurdle is accommodating unexpected changes as they come. Emily says, "I just like to be prepared...and when something unexpected comes up my plan needs to change. Sometimes that throws me off a little." She's passionate about a few key points in her life; skincare, healthy living and having a healthy balance in general. Emily has been a clinical Aesthetician for 16 years and she's been involved in fitness competitions for the past 3 years. Like any normal human being she's got her limits and her goals. As the years go by and her experience grows as she continues to further her education in her business industry as well as in the fitness industry those limits are getting higher and her goals are reaching further. Emily stated, "where would I be if I never bothered to start to begin with?" Even if all we choose to do is wake up an extra hour earlier to make time to eat a healthier breakfast or commit to taking the stairs rather than the elevator or even to start taking a few college classes - we must all remember that to achieve our goals we must first start somewhere. The pretty picture can be deceiving - it's not always easy to reach our goals. However, it will be always be worth it. All you've got to do is pick a starting point and begin.
Photography: Allen Ross Thomas | www.artistxposure.com
Hair + Makeup: Emily Mitchell | Glo Minerals
All successful small business startups eventually face the issue of handling business expansion or growth. Business expansion is a stage of a company's life that is fraught with both opportunities and perils. On the one hand, business growth often carries with it a corresponding increase in financial fortunes for owners and employees alike. In addition, expansion is usually seen as a validation of the entrepreneur's initial business startup idea, and of his or her many efforts to bring that vision to life. But it's obvious that business expansion also presents the small business owner with an array of issues that have to be addressed. Growth causes a variety of changes, all of which present different managerial, legal, and financial challenges. Growth means that new employees will be hired who will be looking to the top management of the company for leadership. Growth means that the company's management will become less and less centralized, and this may raise the levels of internal politics, protectionism, and dissension over what goals and projects the company should pursue. Growth means that market share will expand, calling for new strategies for dealing with larger competitors. Growth also means that additional capital will be required and creating new responsibilities for employees and management alike is a must. Thus, growth brings with it a variety of changes in the company's structure, needs, and objectives. Given these realities, I think the need of the organization to grow must be matched by the need to understand that meaningful, long-term, profitable growth is a by-product of effective management and planning within a well oiled business machine. J.M. Barrie stated in his classic novel, 'Peter pan,' "...to die will be an awfully big adventure..." I disagree - any entrepreneur should agree that '..to run a business - will be an awfully big adventure.'