Esthetics/Medical Esthetics Program Manager Angie Barnetson Shares Her Passion for Connection

Esthetics/Medical Esthetics Program Manager Angie Barnetson Shares Her Passion for Connection

Ask Blanche Macdonald’s Global Esthetics / Medical Esthetics Program Director Simona Gozner about her Esthetics/Medical Esthetics Program Manager and right-hand woman, Angie Barnetson, the Ayurvedic Massage Queen, and wait for the compliments to flow in.

“Angie has mentored and guided so many of our graduates,” raves Simona. “She has high standards and she’s extremely knowledgeable in so many areas of the medical esthetics industry– as a business owner, product manufacturer, spa manager and esthetic consultant. She’s also the Ayurvedic Massage Queen! She helps with the students, the interviewing and hiring process, training protocols and so much more. We rock together!”

Blanche Macdonald Esthetics Program Manager instructs a student in massage.

Ask politely and Angie will talk about her achievements, but she prefers to focus on the future. In particular, the future for the estheticians and business leaders coming out of the Global Esthetics / Medical Esthetics Program.

“My door is always open for students,” explains Angie. “Whatever information they’re looking for, they can always come to me. And if I can’t give them what they need, I’ll find out where they can get it. Past students call me all the time, asking for help as they’re opening their own spas or where they can get an oil we made in class. I love that. It makes me feel that I’ve done my job. I get a warm feeling that I’ve helped them and they’re comfortable coming back to me.”

Esthetics students train in nail care
Esthetics students train in nail care

Helping people was the motivation behind Angie’s own start in the industry. She was working as an in-store Makeup Artist when she realized that she could solve her customers’ skin problems more effectively than covering them up with the products she was selling.

“I knew that if they took care of their skin that would be a better solution. I had bad skin growing up but I have four older sisters who gave me all of their recommendations. I wanted to help people who didn’t have older sisters.”

Angie was 30 when she started esthetics school. As a Makeup Artist, she’d focussed on the face. Soon she was getting excited about the entire body.

“There are a lot of machines in the industry now but when you can actually feel human touch, that’s when you make the connection.”

“We can all wash our own faces but we can’t give ourselves a body massage. I quickly realized I loved that hands-on holistic approach. I like the human touch. There are a lot of machines in the industry now but when you can actually feel human touch, that’s when you make the connection. Of course you can help people with lasers but with a hands-on treatment it’s a unique experience every time, for the client and for me.”

Angie picked up some real-life lessons at the beginning of her professional journey (“I foolishly did what I tell my students not to do and opened a spa straight after graduation with a friend. You learn from your mistakes, which helps me help students opening their own businesses.”) but as soon as she started working as an esthetician for Vida Spas, her career took off.

“I was an esthetician at Vida for years and loved it. I love the connection with people. You can find out a lot about people when you give them a spa service. They open up when they feel comfortable and understand that they’re in a safe space. That’s when you know the service is going great. You want that connection so the clients come back to see you. Most of my clients at Vida would request me personally. A few of them are now very good friends. It’s because I’m honest. I don’t put on airs and people appreciate that.”

Angie’s passion and honesty soon started opening doors to new opportunities.  

“As an esthetician, you need to keep things neat and clean all the time. I’d always be reminding my coworkers about that. The president of the company saw that, liked it, and asked me if I wanted to be a manager. I was eventually managing about 30 staff in various locations across Vancouver and Seattle. That was when my Dermalogica rep told me that Blanche Macdonald was looking for instructors.”

Office work as Esthetics Program Manager

Over 15 years later she’s still sharing the science, skills and most importantly, the attitude that took her on the fast track to success, while keeping one foot in the industry as co-owner of Victoria’s Manscape Spa, creating her own candles and Ayurvedic oils with Accaroma (“When I’m making the candles and oils, that’s my peaceful zone”) and as an industry consultant helping aspiring businesspeople start their own medical spas.

“There are so many different products and treatments out there it can be hard knowing where to start. I have that knowledge and know enough people in the industry to help out new spa owners. I’ll always be honest. Whether you’re a student or an owner, I’ll tell you when it’s good but I’ll also tell you when it’s not.”

Angie Barnetson judging esthetics  products at Lions Den class

At Blanche Macdonald and in her consultancy work, Angie the “Ayurveda Queen” is introducing new professionals to one of her passions.

“When I was diagnosed with an Autoimmune Disease I wanted to find a non-western medicine that could help my body without me simply taking pills. As I discovered more about Ayurvedic massage and took more classes, the more I found it interesting. I like it because I can get in there with my hands from the feet to the head.

“I like introducing students to Ayurvedic massage, and if they want to learn more, I’m here for them.”

“I like introducing students to Ayurvedic massage, and if they want to learn more, I’m here for them. I’ll talk to students about the doshas and how Ayurvedic oils and particular spots on the face and head can help the body. Then I teach a scalp and facial massage with oil. I’ll let students know that they’ll get oil in their hair, as not everyone wants that. But once they have the treatment, so many of them tell me it’s the favourite thing they’ve learned.

“A former student, Megan Degelman, opened her own spa, Refine Studios in Regina. I gave her some additional Ayurvedic massage and training and she just emailed me to say that she’s fully booked and that the Ayurvedic massage is her best-selling treatment. She’s soaring with it. If Ayurvedic massage can work in Saskatchewan, it can work anywhere!”

Angie’s passion, professionalism and honesty have taken her to the heights of the Esthetics industry. Every day she’s inspiring Blanche Macdonald students to do the same.

“I tell students to learn as much as they can while they’re with us. Pick your instructors’ brains. They’ll give you the tools you need, but you can go even deeper.”

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