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Mastering Beauty: Inside Andrea Collins’ Skincare World

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Mastering Beauty: Inside Andrea Collins’ Skincare World

Meet Andrea Michelle Collins, the heart and soul behind Royal Esthetics, a sanctuary where skincare transcends mere beauty treatments to become a holistic journey. As a State of Florida advanced practice esthetician with a rich experience spanning six years, Andrea brings a unique blend of passion and expertise to the realm of skincare. Originating from Detroit, Michigan, she has dedicated her career to mastering the intricacies of corrective skin care, with a special focus on nurturing diverse skin tones and types.

In this interview, Andrea shares her inspiring journey into esthetics, her commitment to continual learning, and the challenges of carving out a niche in the beauty industry. She delves into the importance of specialization in areas like anti-aging, acne, and hyperpigmentation, and reveals how diet and lifestyle choices are integral to skin health.

Join us as we explore Andrea’s approach to personalized skincare, her strategies for business growth, and the invaluable advice she offers to aspiring professionals in the skincare and beauty industry.

Early Inspiration and Journey into Esthetics

SBS – What has inspired you to become an esthetician, and how did you begin this journey?

Andrea – I started in the beauty industry as a makeup artist, I’d say about 15 years ago. One of the things I would see, especially in younger females (or maybe some my age), was that they would walk into the room with no self-confidence because of the issues with their skin. Then you would put the makeup on and make them look really nice. If they had issues, it got covered with makeup, and their self-confidence would light up the room.

But then I started thinking of what happens when they go home at the end of the night and wash their face. They’re back to being not self-confident. And then I wondered, are these people (especially those who don’t know how to do their own makeup) walking around or going to work with their heads hung down? A lack of self-confidence can lead to depression. I thought of all these things and said I had to do something. I have to get out there and not just do facials for relaxation. I really wanted to do corrective skincare. That’s exactly where it started.

Let’s be honest — we all get in the business to make money. But when you plant good seeds and make it about the client and not money, you reap good fruit. So, if I’m sowing good seeds and I’m really there with a heart, serving with integrity, and doing it to truly help people, the money will come. It always does. On the back end, I’ll be taken care of for doing a good service. You see what I’m saying?

Education and Industry Engagement

SBS – You said you were a makeup artist, so you had to have some education to be in this industry, or not? How do you stay updated with the esthetics and skincare industry trends?

Andrea – Well, you don’t need a license for makeup in the state of Florida. You need a license to do skin treatments like chemical peels, even for a basic facial. In that regard, you do have to get an education. For me, in Florida, it was an affordable local community college. Some of these schools just do enough for you to get your license. I really took advantage of all the continuing education that’s out there. It’s just such a wealth of knowledge. If you want to get it, it’s there, especially for me.

I’m going to say 75% of my clientele are people of color (not just African American, but also Asian and Mediterranean), and skin of color is the most underserved in the beauty industry when it comes to skin treatments. In schools, there wasn’t the education for that. You had to go out and find some industry leaders out there who are teaching about the skin of color. Our skin is more reactive and more sensitive. Our skin is thicker than some of our other counterparts. They don’t teach that in school, so continuing education is super important in this industry.

Also, I’m really not about trends per se. I’m more interested in real information, not this trend stuff.

Early Experiences and Overcoming Challenges

SBS – Can you share some experiences and challenges you had when you started the skincare business? How did you overcome those? 

Andrea – One of the biggest things for me is building clientele. When I started, my husband was trying to push me to get my own thing. And I said, “Well, I don’t have clients,” and this, that, and the third. I needed to work for somebody, maybe build some clientele.

I worked under two different ladies in their own businesses. It was a challenge because it was things I knew, things I was educated about, but I didn’t have the freedom in someone else’s business to be able to branch out. I don’t know if they were intimidated by it. I pretty much only did lashes with one young lady, and I was so irritated with just doing that. My passion was skin care.

I was able to build a clientele, so I moved on from her and went to another young lady. I was a commission worker with her and everything was fine until there came an opportunity. She was renting space, and I approached her and said, “Hey, I’d rather not be commissioned. I’d rather start my own business inside of yours.”

However, her business just overshadowed what I was doing because everywhere you look, you see her business and her literature. I wasn’t allowed to put literature out. I wasn’t allowed to do certain things. Even with her logo, I couldn’t put mine up, so it overshadowed what I was trying to do.

Still, I was building a clientele on Instagram. Social media was really big for me. As I started expanding and she started seeing that, our relationship changed for the worse. She didn’t like it. My money-making potential, I think, was evident to everybody, and we ended up having some words. She was very upset, and the writing was on the wall.

At that time, I didn’t really have the faith or the confidence in myself to branch out and get on my own. I was scared. I didn’t know if people were going to follow me. But because we fell out, it was my push to get something of my own, and I took off from there. That was in 2020, and I’ve never looked back.

SBS – If she hadn’t been like that, would you have had the guts to start independently?

Andrea – I might not have. I mean, maybe circumstances would have been different, or somebody would have said, “Hey, you need to get out there on your own.” I don’t know. It was just in the stars for it to happen that way.

In hindsight, I’m glad it happened. I’m a solo esthetician in my business, but if I ever decide to expand and bring others in, it taught me how to treat others. I’ve been treated badly, and it doesn’t feel good. Even my clients would see how rude she was. She was rude to them, too. Now, I know if I had people working under me, I would be the best supervisor, owner, or whatever you want to call it. I would know how to treat people because of how I was treated, and I wouldn’t want anybody to walk away feeling the way I felt.

Importance of Specialization in Skincare

SBS – How important is it to specialize in certain treatments in skin care (for example, antiaging, acne treatment, or hyperpigmentation)?

Andrea – I feel like specialization is a thing that people should focus on. I used to be all over the place when it came to my menu. I still do waxing. I have a huge Brazilian wax clientele. That’s kind of how I built my business. I did lashes, brows, and all this stuff, but I feel like you should drill down. I think people take you a little bit more seriously when you do. Some people get on your menu, and they’re so confused. Some people like it. And some people look at it and say, “She doesn’t specialize in anything. She’s just doing everything and anything.”

Sometimes, it doesn’t look good to be a jack of all trades, and I really do think that. Just think of a doctor. I have thyroid issues. I don’t want to go to my regular primary. They really can’t drill down like an endocrinologist can!

When it comes to skincare, yeah, I’ll put hyperpigmentation, antiaging, and acne under one umbrella — because it’s skin care. But doing all this other stuff just makes you look like you’re all over the place.

Balancing Business and Passion

SBS – How do you balance your business’s commercial aspect with your passion for skin care? Is it sometimes compromised or not?

Andrea – No, I think it goes back to what I said earlier — focus on the passion for helping people. Focus on the consumer part. The money will come if you’re doing a good job and really serving people from your heart and not just putting money in your pocket.

When you only think about the money, sometimes your integrity goes out the window. I’ve seen it happen. You start good, then you start doing shady things because all you’re thinking about is money.

Impact of Lifestyle on Skin Health

SBS – Can you share some insights and some of your thoughts on how diet and lifestyle affect skin health?

Andrea – I think it is diet, for sure. I see it every day, especially in clients with acne. Some people tell you, “I eat so healthy.” I say, “Okay, let’s take inventory of what you’ve eaten over the last couple of days.” Many clients who have acne are eating iodine-rich foods. They’re going to the sushi bar. They say, “I work out, and I drink protein,” but many protein shakes have a lot of iodine in them. It’s crazy.

People aren’t educated about it, but diet and gut health play an important role. I got clients that said, “I only poop once a week.” You’re constipated; all that stuff is in your gut, and it’s negatively affecting your skin. People don’t know that, but it’s my job as an esthetician.

I’m not going to talk about corrective skincare if you’re just coming forth to relax and take your mind off some things. But if I see your face and you have acne or other issues, we must dig deep and see what is causing it. It’s something in the gut. There’s something internally that could be showing on the outside. It’s very important.

Personalized Skincare Approaches

SBS – How do you approach creating personalized skincare plans for diverse skin types?

Andrea – When it comes to customization, you can have a book of different facials. But what I do is that my services are truly customized — even for one client. You might’ve gotten one thing two weeks ago, and when you come back to me two weeks later, I still have to analyze that skin because you could have gotten better or worse. I treat the skin that’s in front of me. I don’t have a script written out.

Obviously, there are things that I will use time and time again on different people. But when that client lays on my table, I analyze them each and every time. It could be just a day later, but I still need to analyze it because something could have changed. That’s truly customized skincare — treating the skin that’s lying there at the time that it’s lying there because it could’ve changed.

Even my menu is set up that way. It doesn’t have, for example, a dermaplaning facial or ice globe facial listed. I do 60 minutes and 90 minutes, and whatever I see that you need, that’s what we’ll do within that time frame.

Evolving Marketing Strategies

SBS – What marketing strategies do you think are effective? You mentioned social media, but how has marketing changed for you, and what are you doing now to get more clients? Is it different, or are you relying solely on social media?

Andrea – It is different. I’m going to tell you I avoided email marketing, SMS marketing, and that kind of thing because I built my business on Instagram and Instagram only. Then I started seeing I needed to move. I still did Instagram, but I needed to do YouTube. People on YouTube are not on Instagram, and vice versa. TikTok is becoming really big, and I don’t have to do all this education. I can give them a snippet of 30 seconds and then drive them to YouTube.

Email marketing is so important, too! People, if they’re like me and the phone is in their hand, are checking emails and texts. That has been effective because I’ve seen a downturn because of the algorithms on Instagram and other things. I said to myself I got to shift because if I don’t, I won’t be able to get new clients. I might have the same ones, but, of course, you want to continue to build your business. So, SMS and email marketing are definitely working for me.

Client Education and Its Importance

SBS – The next question is about the importance of client education in your practice. I know you educate them during the visit, but do you believe it is vital that they continue educating themselves when they leave you, or does it depend on them?

Andrea – It’s going to depend on them because some are so caught up with social media and trends that sometimes they’ll listen to that before they listen to the professional. I think it’s important that, when a person walks out of that room, you educate them to the point where they don’t have any questions. They shouldn’t decide to self-medicate. I really push that. Don’t do anything crazy. If you have questions or concerns, call me.

Especially if it’s a first-time facial, I know they may want it to be quiet, but I’m walking that client through each step. I’m telling them not just why I’m going to do this, but I’m telling them why. We take pictures, and I blow the pictures up so they can see what they can’t see when they look in the mirror (like yeast, for example). I explain why I have to do this and why the stuff they’re using at home is not working, and I give them the reasons why they don’t need to take this into their own hands. I’m educating the client from that standpoint to pull them away from these trends.

SBS – Sometimes, they don’t know what’s suitable from everything they hear or read because there is so much information.

Andrea – It’s true. It’s so much. I want to be able to talk to my clients intelligently. I had a young lady yesterday, and we had a consultation over products she bought for me. She’s been avoiding purchasing products. I told her, “80% of your success is going to come from your home care. You only see me once a month. You cleanse your skin twice a day, so that’s where your success is going to come from, but I need to educate you on why you’re using each product.”

It’s not “Here’s a bunch of products. Pay me $500, and let me send you out the door, and you’ll figure it out.” No, I need to educate on the whys — what the ingredients are going to do. Yes, you’ll see some bad stuff coming out of your skin, but just trust the process. Trust what I’m saying. And, when you educate the client, you build that trust.

Managing Business

SBS – How do you handle the other aspects of your business, like finances or customer service? Do you do it all yourself, or do you have some help?

Andrea – It’s all on me. I really thought about getting a virtual assistant for some aspect of business, but it’s my baby. In some cases, I feel like a person who doesn’t have skin in the game can’t be of much help. I have a friend who’s an esthetician in Orlando, and I told her, “Nobody’s going to care about your business like you do.” 

I wear my crown to my business every single day. I wear my crown. It’s mine, belongs to me, and I will take care of it better than anybody. Yeah, it gets overwhelming, and if it gets too much when it comes to email marketing or something like that, I can maybe put that in someone else’s hands. I’m probably going to get a bookkeeper as well, but when it comes to some of the other parts of my business, I just can’t let it go because I just feel like nobody’s going to care about my business as I do.

Advice for Aspiring Skincare Entrepreneurs

SBS – What advice would you give someone starting in the skincare business? What do you believe you should’ve done differently when you were starting?

Andrea – I’m telling you, the biggest thing is to believe in yourself. I walked around for a long time with a lack of self-confidence. I have confidence now, but I think I would be much further than where I am today if I had confidence in myself and surrounded myself with like-minded people.

You have a lot of people out here with these classes, saying, “I’m here to empower women, and I’m here to empower the business owners,” and they’re really not. You’re spending a bunch of money on something you could have watched on YouTube. I also feel like you have to find your tribe. That is so important — your cheerleaders. Not everybody’s a cheerleader. Not everybody’s a part of your tribe. Sometimes, if that’s important to you, you have to pick and choose who will be in your tribe.

But confidence, confidence, confidence is king. It helps with a whole lot. That’s my biggest advice — have confidence in yourself, and that confidence will have you. You know what? I feel so confident today. I’m going to take a class that’s going to help me further myself in my business. It’ll have you do things when you’re depressed and sad, when you just sit there, and your business passes you by without you knowing it.


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Mastering Beauty: Inside Andrea Collins’ Skincare World