07 Aug The History of Skin Deep Pt 1
“What the hell, if I don’t like it, I’ve only wasted a couple thousand dollars on it — but at least it’s another experience.”
This was Michelle Sheehan Foster’s initial thought when considering the three-month program required to become a Skin Care Specialist. Foster is a Registered Nurse who was actively looking for a new career avenue which would allow her to spend more time with her children. When her long-time facialist suggested that — because of the excellent care she took of her own skin — perhaps she should try her hand at taking care of other people’s. She entered the program and, in three short months, earned the license to practice.
For Foster, nursing to skin care was a natural transition. Because of her background as an RN and her extensive medical knowledge, she was asked to teach the very class that she had just graduated from. Once she began teaching, she determined that three months of education was not long enough for students to be able to learn everything they should know about the skin care field and about the human body. She took it upon herself to take 100 more hours of post-grad classes. It was only after she completed these hours that she felt ready to touch a client’s skin.
“It’s important not to screw up someone’s face.”
She began work as a Skin Care Specialist at a spa in Downtown St. Petersburg. The business owners’ hand-selected Foster for her attention to detail and impressive work ethic. She fell instantly in love with her new field — not only was she afforded the diversity of new procedures and challenges each day, but she was able to schedule her work around her family (and not vice versa). She continued teaching and quickly realized that few of her colleagues had the same interest level she did. Outside of work, Foster was taking business classes at the International Dermal Institute and, in that first year at the spa, she learned what not to do with a business. She decided it was time to branch out on her own.
Skin Deep was born in an area that was formerly a tanning salon. Foster’s friend was a nail technician in the building and told her that they had a room in the space where she could practice skin care and it was hers if she wanted it. After resisting the offer for three months, Foster pooled together her own money, bought all her own equipment and went for it. Skin Deep opened on February 26, 2002 and has been going strong ever since. Foster still has clients that have been with her since the beginning.
“First, I’m a therapist. Then I do skin.”
Foster’s clients keep returning because they know that, with her, they’re guaranteed the highest quality of products and services. Foster doesn’t see her clients as walking wallets — they’re her friends. People with whom she shares professional and personal time with. People who come to her for skin and life advice.
Michelle Sheehan Foster’s curiosity is neverending. If she’s not working, she’s studying new skin care procedures or products. And if she finds something she’s interested in, she always tries it out on herself before recommending it to clients. She is her own guinea pig and she wouldn’t have it any other way. And just as she was committed to those 100 post-grad hours before actually touching skin, she’s committed to proving to herself that a product or treatment is worthy of her endorsement before presenting it to a client.
No wonder her clientele has stuck around for 14 years and counting.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Skin Deep story and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Please vote for Skin Deep for “Best Spa” and Michelle Sheehan Foster for “Best Skin Care Specialist” in Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay awards!