Starting working in spas at a young age helped make it clear just how much body shame, leading to even body guilt, exists. I think everyone expects a bit of, “my third poutine this week is.. not something to be proud of” but I’ve had amazingly successful and impressive clients apologize for growing body hair, breaking out, wearing makeup or not having their nails done. While estheticians tend to get into the trade because they enjoy grooming rituals, the idea of a client feeling ashamed of their body is opposite of the goal. We also are usually running around with hairy body parts, hidden zits and potentially excessively picked at skin.
Saul’s was created to help break down some of the forced spa image and offer a more chill vibe, or to steal from my Dirt Road Studios, in the case of some services, “a comfortable place to be uncomfortable”. So this week we started a new campaign with the hashtag #noapologiesSpa , because you don’t have to look perfect, be hairless or even really give a fuck about that stuff to be welcome here. If you just want happy skin and a shoulder massage, you can outsource your skincare concerns and problem solving to us. If you don’t care about hairy legs, but prefer a smooth bikini line you’re a) not the first b) doing you. It’s not our job to judge whether you look good enough to our or society’s standards, it’s our job to help you feel better about yourself and outline a nice, healthy, path to get you any skincare goals you might want to achieve.
Nobody wants to be naked in an environment where they feel judged or small, and from an estheticians’ perspective, nobody really wants to work in that environment either.
Opening a new business by 25 years old was not a goal I spent my life working towards, or for the longest time I thought I particularly wanted. I think most young adults would look at that amount of responsibility and shudder at the thought. I figured I’d be one of those stress free adults, just working, saving and travelling. I can even remember a client at my first spa job who described her lifestyle that way, working her ass off for 6-8 months, saving up a storm and then taking off for months at a time on an adventure.
I started working towards my career at a very young age, completing my Nail Tech Certificate at George Brown doing night school courses while I was in high school. I decided to skip the whole unnecessary (for me) sociology degree and go straight into a full Esthetics and Make Up certificate from George Brown so I could get to the life I thought I wanted fastest. Once I started working it took a few years to hit my first real grind of a job. I had been given space, independence and respect to de-green as an esthetician and find my own style in smaller independent spas, but I wanted to grow and have more estheticians around to learn from. My jobs after were far larger teams and a very different pace, they also really played up being part of the team, which includes not taking sick days, stronger sales and rushing through treatments. You would cover for coworkers constantly as an ongoing “Us vs. Them” (them being the bosses) work style, because so many times you or a coworker would be put in a terrible position of a poorly booked service, and you knew how draining that is for the esthetician too. I started seeing my trade getting turned into factory work with little regard for the bodies of the esthetician, and even smaller concern for the respect of the relationship between an esthetician and their client.
After a rather difficult burn out gig (“your end of the day is when there are no more bookings!”) I took off travelling for a few months and upon returning realised there’s a better way to work towards my (more grown up adjusted) life goals, and it meant taking an actual risk. I had worked with so many amazing, kind and hardworking estheticians, and I thought there was a real market for a place that was a less bullshitty, sales heavy and uncomfortable to spa it up. After saving up, writing a business plan, finding an amazing space and an insane amount of support from my parents Saul’s Beauty Shop was born. BlogTO had dubbed it “Where to get spa treatments in Toronto if you hate spas” , I thought it more as a spa estheticians could actually like.