Q&A with Sally Choie of Skin and Beauté – winner of New Zealand Beauty Salon of the Year 2021

We spoke with Sally Choie of Skin and Beauté, about her win at The Industry Awards 2021, their underlying philosophy and business success.

How does it feel to be the winner of New Zealand Beauty Salon of the Year?

It’s really nice to be recognized for what we do. It still feels quite unreal. The whole team and I are so excited for the win. Our amazing clients have been really great too, sending messages and lovely gifts.

What’s your underlying philosophy?

I guess it comes down to what I was taught growing up: treat people how you want to be treated, learn from your mistakes and be positive.

Treating people how you want to be treated in this industry is really important, and that’s with your staff, clients, and all your suppliers. It builds good relationships.

Learn from your mistakes – this is how we learn. There isn’t a lot you can learn from good experiences but when you make a mistake it teaches you so much more.

Be positive – I’m quite a positive person. Rather than focusing on the negatives, I think how I can turn those negatives into a positive and learn from it.

Do you feel like your team pick up positive energy from you?

I think they do pick it up, but I also hire positive people. When I hire staff, I hire based on their personality and work ethic rather than just skill set. I think we can teach someone skills, as long as they’re willing to learn and are a team player.

Having a positive person to lead the team also sets a good example. Clients that walk through the doors can sense that too. In our industry, clients need to walk in and instantly feel relaxed, because most of them are in the clinic for a bit of ‘me time’.

A positive team also attracts a positive cliental, for example with COVID, a lot of our clients rang and messaged asking us what they can do to help us though this time, for example if they can we buy any retail products. We said if you come back when we are able to open our doors, then that would be the best support we could ever ask for. Not only did they come back, but we had more recommendations then ever!

I’m so grateful for having such an amazing, supportive team and cliental, it makes a massive difference for a business.

When did you start your business and why?

I started Skin and Beauté eleven years ago, from my home. Seven years ago, when my oldest was a toddler, we decided to move and open where we are currently, which is an old historic post office in Dunedin.

When we decided to move to the Mornington Post Office at 10 Mailer Street, I had just had my second child and I knew it was time to move my business away from home. It was a massive undertaking, but I love a challenge.

Skin and Beauté, 10 Mailer Street, Dunedin

How often do you get your team trained?

Prior to COVID we would try to get out of Dunedin once or twice a year. I like to do it as a group because when we’re away, we get to know each other a bit better. We go out for dinners and have drinks together and a great way for team building.

I think it’s so important to be up to date and be able to give our clients exceptional service. We love educating our clients.

Another reason for training is for the staff to network with other clinics. For instance, our junior might get to know another junior at a different salon and our senior might get to know another senior. It’s a great opportunity for me to meet other business owners as well. I’ve made some amazing lifelong friends doing so. We keep in contact quite regularly and we help each other out. It’s nice to share knowledge and experience.

What’s your favorite part of working in the beauty industry?

EDUCATION – You will never know everything, especially in our ever-changing industry. Education and knowledge are key. This is what keeps us on our toes.

Skin and Beauté, New Zealand Beauty Salon of the Year 2021

What makes your business so successful and award winning?

Support is KEY!

The staff and clients have been phenomenal. The staff at the clinic see my vision and support my dreams. They want my business to succeed just as much as I do, and they put a lot of energy and effort into growing the business.

Our clients have been super supportive over the last 11 years, and during the first COVID lockdown we realised how loyal they are. When we were able to reopen the doors we were overwhelmed with the support we got from our clients. Not only did they come back into the clinic but they referred a lot of family and friends.

I’m very lucky I have a super supportive family. I didn’t grow up with a lot, but anything I wanted to try my parents would try their hardest to provide us with. When I wanted to expand, I couldn’t do it all on my own and they helped us out. My husband has been my rock through this journey and without his support I definitely couldn’t do what I love! In the beauty industry we work late nights and without family, late nights wouldn’t be possible for me to help grow the business.

What does the next year look like for you?

I would like to grow the business a bit more. We currently have a part time receptionist, and I would like that role to expand to full time. We are still getting new clients on a daily basis, so I would also like to have one more full-time therapist.

If you could change one thing to do with your business and your journey, what would it be?

I don’t think I would change anything. The whole journey, positive and negative experiences, have brought us to where we are today. Without the pros and cons, you wouldn’t get to learn.

Skin and Beauté, winner of New Zealand Beauty Salon of the Year 2021

Would you recommend entering the Industry Awards to other businesses?

Yes, absolutely. I don’t normally enter these things, but I do think it’s a really good opportunity to understand your business and its numbers and figures, especially if you’re a working owner. It’s good to step back that little bit, look at your numbers and figures, analyse where you are and aren’t spending money, where you are possibly overspending and understand it better from a financial point of view. The possibility of winning is also great! I definitely think it’s a great thing to do.

We’ve had a bit of exposure already from winning – we’ve had clients come through our doors that we may not have picked up otherwise.

For any future salons and clinic that want to enter give it a go! And best of LUCK!

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