When it comes to her clients’ skincare Gwen de la Costa is always happy to take the wheel; metaphorically and literally. Her mobile skin care centre, GWEN Skin Lab has become a Vancouver institution.
“It’s been awhile since I graduated from Blanche Macdonald,” she explains, “but it feels like it was just yesterday. Initially I was interested in the Makeup program but always had a passion for skincare. I didn’t even know there was an Esthetics program until I came in for a tour. Since I didn’t know much about Esthetics, my learning cap was on and I was ready to take it all in. The instructors were amazing and so knowledgeable. It was a great place to develop my skills and prepare me for the field.”
I wouldn’t be where I am now without the guidance of the instructors at Blanche Macdonald
Gwen excelled on the program, matching her knowledge and technical expertise with a sense of motivation to succeed, as an esthetician and a businesswoman, on her own terms.
“When I graduated from the Global Esthetics Program, my instructor gave me a card that read ‘Do not follow the path of others, but instead make your own footprints.’ That message really stuck with me. I feel like I’ve been subconsciously following that quote since the start of my career.”
After a work experience placement at Vancouver’s Project Skin Gwen was hired as a full-time Medical Esthetician. As her technical and interpersonal skills continued to develop, so did her confidence that she could one day go into business for herself.
I get to travel to beautiful locations and meet the most wonderful clients. I’ve given a facial to a client on their property right beside the beach.
“Project Skin was home for most of my career and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be. The knowledge that I gained from the doctors and business partners really gave me the confidence to be great at my job. I built strong relationships with my clients and colleagues that made it especially hard when I made the decision to go out on my own.”
The business classes Gwen had taken during her time at Blanche Macdonald, combined with the experience she’d gained at Project Skin and her personal goals of creating something on her own, meant that she was prepared to take that leap of faith. One fully customized Mercedes-Benz Sprinter later, GWEN Skin Lab was born; a luxurious skincare-focussed spa on wheels.
The instructors were amazing and so knowledgeable. It was a great place to develop my skills and prepare me for the field
“I’d always had a dream of building something that belonged to me. Skincare and client relationships are my passion so naturally, a business within the esthetics industry was a no brainer. I designed every detail of the Skin Lab to delight clients’ senses, bringing the relaxing experience of a spa coupled with the benefits of medical-grade skin treatments right to your doorstep.”
One major benefit of owning a business on wheels is the gift of finding yourself in the coolest places while simply doing your job.
“This experience has been both amazing and humbling. I get to travel to beautiful locations and meet the most wonderful clients. I’ve given a facial to a client on their property right beside the beach. Another time I was giving a treatment on a farm as we could hear horses galloping around us. Most of the time my doors are closed but when I go out to locations that are more private and the weather is warm enough, we can open the doors and it feels like we’re in the fresh air.”
Gwen’s mobile mission is not only bringing glorious skincare across Metro Vancouver. She’s also inspiring the next generation of estheticians willing to think out of the box.
Debbie Nickel was also a huge influence on me while I was on the program. They’re all wonderful humans!
“Follow your heart and never stop learning,” she insists. “The Medical Esthetics industry is always evolving and you have to grow with it. It’s a very rewarding industry to be in. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the guidance of the instructors at Blanche Macdonald, and Debbie Nickel was also a huge influence on me while I was on the program. They’re all wonderful humans!”