Interview with Luciane "Lucy" Powell
Born in Brazil and now based in Florida, Esthetician, Luciane Powell, does everything from facials, waxing and microblading to after mastectomy tattoos.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Brazil.
You do so many things.
When I started my business, I opened with facials, but I kept adding more services. Then I got into permanent makeup, specifically microblading. Now I’m doing eyebrows and eyeliners. They help me keep clients coming in regularly to do different services. The other thing that I got into was the tattoo for women who have lost their breast because of cancer. That was a totally different thing that I wanted to do so bad for a couple of years.
Can you share more about mastectomy tattoos?
Women sometimes choose to do a mastectomy because they have the gene. I went to Dallas and we had an instructor who is actually from England. Her technique is 3D and that’s how we differentiate from what these women would get from a surgeon because some surgeons perform this procedure right after they remove the breasts. And when they do, it’s just like a regular tattoo, just like a nipple painted on the surface. When we do it, it looks three dimensional. It is elevated and looks real. These details make the women feel better on the path to recovery.
I would say make sure you have savings to cover at least six months of your bills.
How did you get into the esthetics industry?
I thought a little bit when I was younger about getting into hair, but ended up not doing it. Instead, I signed up for skincare school. I love what I do. I tell everybody every day, you know, I love what I do. I started working for European Wax Center. I really liked it because I learned waxing fast. I had three months, they gave us three months. We had three months to get fast because if you didn’t, they would let you go. They asked, “Are you okay with nudity because we do a lot of Brazilian waxing over here.” And I was like, I’m fine. No problem. I was more nervous about doing an eyebrow than a nude client.
What gave you the courage to start your own business?
I really liked working at European Wax Center, but they changed ownership twice. The second time was just so, so bad. The schedule was so busy. We were slammed every 15 minutes. We had a little pager and every 15 minutes they texted us. We couldn’t even go to the restroom. I started thinking about the risks of leaving. My wish was always to be able to do facials. I was like, you know, why not? This is probably the right timing. I was the fifth person to leave in three months. And I kept working with 10 to 11 clients because I wanted to do facials for them. That helped me and so did advertising on Groupon when I was just getting started.
Do you work all of the time?
At European Wax Center, I worked three days a week, but they were full days. At that time, they were booking clients with whoever they requested. I don’t think they do that anymore. Now, I think they are trying to avoid people having relationships with their clients. So my list of clients kept growing. Clients kept requesting me, requesting me, and requesting me. Then when I started working for myself, I did start by working three days a week as well. Because I put in long days. Also because I lived 45 minutes away from where I worked. I have my time now to say, okay, I’m not too busy this weekend. For example, if nobody booked on Saturday and it’s slow, I’m like, okay, I’m just going to take it off. My kids and I can do something. I can go somewhere. That’s what I love about it. Another example, this morning, I didn’t have anybody booked until 11:30 am. So I decided, I’m going to sleep in a little bit more.
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Do you recommend being your own boss even though it’s riskier?
Absolutely, yeah! There are some things that scared me in the beginning. Like health insurance, doing my taxes, and a lot of other things that I had to think about. I got nervous. I was looking at my book, for example, I’d look at the next week or even a few days ahead. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I have nobody in my book. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. When are clients going to book?” In the end, people always booked. Sometimes people just wait until the last minute. Some people just book the day before. I even have people that book in the middle of the night. I wake up and confirm those bookings. And it’s good.
Do you also sell products?
When I worked at the European Wax Center, they forced us to use a script. We had to talk and be like robots. The script was to sell, sell, sell, sell, sell products. Even if the client already told me I don’t need anything and has been with me for two years. It’s so hard. Oh my gosh, I hate to sell to people when they don’t need anything. No, I don’t try to sell clients who don’t need anything. But I do sell some things, but only when people ask me, “What do you think? What can I do for this? Or for that? But I hate trying to push things on people when they don’t want it. Yeah, that was one downside of my past job. I thought to myself, “I’m getting out of here.”
I have products that I use myself cause I have acne prone skin. I have to use a silicon glycolic acid cleanser every single day. If I don’t, if I don’t clean it twice a day, my skin at the end of the day will start breaking out so bad. So I started using them. And I started selling them a lot.
Do men in Brazil use estheticians more than men in America?
No, it’s universal. Universal. Men just don’t care. And it’s even worse because Brazilian men just think it’s just more like for a woman. They just think it’s a woman thing I’m not going to do what a woman does. They think it’s awful. This is not for me, man. Why am I going to do this? This is not for me. So no. Now maybe they are starting to get a little bit better. You know, the young ones. Cause I see my nephew’s friends, sometimes they do a little highlight on their hair. Here in the U.S., 15% of my bookings are men. You know there are some that do facials, but they are not as consistent as the ladies.
Is the time clients spend with you like a ritual?
Yes, I am alway wondering, “How is everybody?” It’s so cool. I’ve seen people meeting their boyfriends; getting married; and having kids. They’ll bring in a second child. And I’m like, “Oh my gosh, what are they three years old now? Where has the time gone?”
What do your sons think about you being your own boss?
One is 21. And my younger one is 12. You have to explain stuff. When the older one was younger I think he did say sometimes, “Oh mom, ask your boss.” And I would say, “I don’t have a boss. I have my own business. I don’t have a boss. I am the boss.” So I love that.
What advice would you give people who are just getting started?
I would say make sure you have savings to cover at least six months of your bills. Like I remember when I went on my own, I did have that. I was paying for my car. I was still married at that time. So I said that at this time I cannot help with anything in the house because the six months savings was pretty much enough to pay my rent. It was super cheap at that time. So start with wherever you can get lower rent and where you can bring in the maximum amount of people. And have support, somebody that is going to be able to help you to pay the bills for the first six months. Or you need to have the money to pay for the bills for the first six months. You need that money saved. Also, try to get on Groupon. It is a good thing when you are just starting. I know people are always like you don’t make any money with Groupon. It’s pretty much a way to advertise so people have the chance to know about you. To look at your place, meet you, see your services, see how they like it, and see that you treat them just like a regular client. Then they’ll come back. I did have 50:50 retention with Groupon, which is really good. After that, I never did a Groupon again.
Where else do you successfully advertise?
So I do Google Adwords and it really works. I think more than Facebook Ads and Instagram. I have a lot of curious people on social media, but I feel like they don’t buy. Yeah, right now, I think I set up to spend a hundred dollars a month on Google Adwords. I’m getting at least five to six new clients a month. If I get two clients from it that do a Brazilian wax, that pays for my advertising for the month. Then they keep coming back and then they refer a friend. But Google Adwords really works. So I just learned how to do my own. I spent nights and nights reading and breaking my head trying to figure it out. I always ask, “Hey, how did you hear about me?” And they say, “I was just searching for waxing near me and you popped up and I liked your reviews and I read about you. And I went on your website and on your Instagram or Facebook.” and all of that. So people make sure now. People are reading and researching.
Any advice for new PocketSuite users?
I love PocketSuite. I tell people with their own business about it – even people with totally different businesses. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I love it cause it’s my virtual assistant.”