Not even the wettest day in Vancouver’s recent history could dampen the spirits of the Blanche Macdonald Esthetic students eagerly filing into Blanche Macdonald’s Atelier campus with boxes, bags, containers and armfuls of props – all things necessary to set the stage to pitch their business ideas in the first-ever Esthetics Dragon’s Den. Tapping into their entrepreneurial spirits, each student group was tasked with formulating a unique facial masque and creating a brand to go along with it.
The judging panel for the event consisted of various Blanche Macdonald Esthetics Program instructors and top skin care experts, including skoah co-founder and CEO, Andrea Scott – all of whom provided feedback directly to the students post presentation. Not only were the students able to draw from the panel’s extensive knowledge of the industry, but they were also able to take Andrea’s invaluable advice on their products. Firsthand expertise from the legendary brand creator and developer of skoah’s in-house skin care line, which has garnered a cult-following of its own – is just one of the many benefits of being an Esthetics student at Blanche Macdonald.
Most of us go from walking in to Blanche with no training whatsoever and we leave with jobs and so much potential. You definitely don't leave the same person that you were when you started the program.
Andrea’s impressive history in the Esthetics industry spans nearly 17 years back to when she, along with her husband and co-founder, opened the first skoah location in Vancouver and shook up the Spa industry.
“Spas weren’t for young people. You didn’t go for just one service, you went for the afternoon. Everything was designed for the people who were going to the spas which were usually people over 50. And so we saw this opportunity to offer one service that was affordable, both in time and monetarily, for people from ages 20-50.
“We really turned the industry on its head back then. We came out of the gates offering one service at a time. We were professional but we wanted to break down the barriers of intimidation.”
Branded around the idea of “personal training for your skin”, skoah’s values fit perfectly into the notorious love of fitness and well-being on the west coast, even going so far as offering their clients a ‘skin gym’ membership.
Now, the West Coast-born brand, having already become a major player in the national skincare field, is well on its way to becoming a global facial brand with 14 locations all across North America, and one can only assume there will be many more to come.
Andrea’s outstanding business expertise and acumen were recently recognized when she was named the winner of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award in 2016, an international award celebrating exceptional women business leaders and their entrepreneurial contributions.
In the 17 years skoah has been open, there have probably been close to 100 graduates that have been with us from Blanche Macdonald. We have so many with us in the spas right now! There are so many reasons why we love to hire these grads but one big thing is the level of professionalism.
Blanche Macdonald is very fortunate to have an incredible relationship with this powerhouse brand. Throughout the years, skoah has welcomed many Blanche Macdonald graduates into their spas. So many, in fact, that Andrea has nearly lost count.
“In the 17 years we’ve been open, there have probably been close to 100 graduates that have been with us from Blanche Macdonald. We have so many with us in the spas right now! There are so many reasons why we love to hire these grads but one big thing is the level of professionalism.”
Andrea knows firsthand the level of professionalism that is imparted onto Blanche Macdonald students – she was one herself.
“I took the Makeup program and in that program too you’re taught from day one, if you’re not twenty minutes early, you’re late. This is a professional environment. And that’s how Blanche Macdonald graduates are. They come in, they take it seriously and they’re extremely professional.”
But if there’s one thing that can rival Blanche Macdonald graduates’ professionalism, it’s their enthusiasm.
“The enthusiasm that they come with! They come to us and they feel ready to be working. They’re not coming wondering if they’re ready to work, they already know. There’s just a level of confidence that they come with that we don’t see with everyone.”
As much as skoah loves our graduates, it seems that love is more than reciprocated.
Yolanda Ruiz, a Skin Care Trainer for skoah, was only a student when she and her class first toured a skoah spa. Her instructor encouraged her to apply because of her love of facials and nearly six years later, she’s never looked back.
“Blanche Macdonald’s instructors help you find your path and shape you to be the best version of yourself. If you’re passionate about learning skincare and you’re passionate about facials, then skoah is a great company to journey with. We have a great ability to mould you into a fantastic Esthetician!”
For Madeleine Gordon, a Skin Care Coach at skoah, the values that her ‘Blanche Macdonald family’ taught so closely resemble those taught by her ‘skoah family’ that it was a nearly seamless transition.
“Our training at Blanche Macdonald set me up for success by actually emulating a lot of skoah’s Kore Values. Blanche Macdonald grads are an especially good fit because of the work we put in at school. Whether it is physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional work, we work hard every day. We understand that the work has to be done.
“Most of us go from walking in to Blanche with no training whatsoever and we leave with jobs and so much potential. You definitely don’t leave the same person that you were when you started the program. Like we were told in school, ‘Blanche is a family.’ skoah is exactly the same. Everyone wants everyone to succeed, you always have a shoulder to help you up if you start to stumble. We’re all in it together at the end of the day. I honestly couldn’t imagine being at any other company.”