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Monica Kerrigan’s Path to Beauty Industry Success

Written by:

Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Monica Kerrigan’s Path to Beauty Industry Success

Welcome to our exclusive interview with Monica Kerrigan, the passionate and dedicated owner of Esthetics by Monica K. In her cozy, personalized beauty salon, Monica specializes in sugar hair removal, lash lifts, and brow services.

Not only does she excel in providing these sought-after treatments, but she also adeptly manages all facets of her business, from bookkeeping and record-keeping to inventory management. Through a strong commitment to quality service and a savvy approach to marketing via referrals and social media, Monica has established a loyal clientele.

Today, we dive into her journey, exploring the challenges and triumphs of running a successful beauty business.

Monica Kerrigan

Origin Story

SBS – What inspired you to specialize in sugar hair removal, lash lifts, and brow services?

Monica – I always found hair removal to be oddly satisfying. There is instant gratification compared to other esthetic services (like facials). Hair is there, then it is gone! 👻 Sugar hair removal is less wasteful than traditional waxing, which I gravitated toward. It’s also great for sensitive skin as it has simple ingredients (sugar & water + lemon).

Lash lifts & brows are an easy add-on, again, as they have instant gratification. Lash lifts, also known as a lash perm, give straight lashes a semi-permanent curl! I was drawn to doing these because the look is very natural & relatively quick to perform compared to lash extensions.

Skill Development

SBS – How do you stay informed and skilled in these specific beauty services?

Monica – I am double certified for sugaring through two major sugar supply companies. Social media has allowed us to see how other people do things, so I keep up on trends & new techniques by following industry leaders.

Business Challenges

SBS – What challenges have you faced in managing all aspects of the business, such as bookkeeping and inventory?

Monica – I actually have a Bachelor of Arts degree & found the bookkeeping/inventory side of my business easy to keep up with. I use Square appointments & Point of Sale system. They have a user-friendly interface & they make it easy to log items and services and generate sales reports.

I use Google Sheets/Docs and create monthly profit & loss statements to know where I’m at.

Time Management

SBS – How do you effectively manage your time between performing services and handling the business side?

Monica – I just include an hour to two of back end business time at the beginning of my work day once or twice a week. I prefer to do a little here & there so I don’t have a build-up of receipts to find or items to order at the end of the month/quarter/year.

Building Clientele

SBS – Can you share strategies that have been successful in building a client base through referrals?

Monica – I offer a small discount to current clients who refer friends or family.
I also am just honest with people & say, “Hey, I’m still building my books. If you know anyone looking to get hair removed, send them my way!”

Social Media Marketing

SBS – What role has social media played in your marketing, and which platforms have been most effective?

Monica – I find social media a tool for strengthening relationships with current clients, not necessarily a very effective tool for attracting new clients. Instagram seems to have the most reach, it also gives clients a feel for my personality when looking me up on a platform like Google.

Customer Satisfaction

SBS – How do you ensure a high level of customer satisfaction in your services?

Monica – I often ask clients to check their body if they can see any missed hairs at the end of their service. I also try to make things as comfy as possible by providing a comfy bed and candy at the end of an appointment. Wipes & sanitary products are always available as well. I always include detail work with a bright light & tweezers.

Standing Out

SBS – What unique experiences or benefits do you offer to set your salon apart in a competitive market?

Monica – Like I mentioned, I include the detail work to remove stubborn or ingrown hairs as a part of every service, which most places skip out on in order to squeeze in as many guests as they can during the day. I also pride myself in being very laid back & approachable so folks feel relaxed & comfortable chatting. I also make a note of clients’ careers, kids, etc., so I can remember details about them & ask personalized questions at each visit.

Handling Business Fluctuations

SBS – How do you handle fluctuations in business, such as seasonal changes in demand for certain services?

Monica – Since I’m in Seattle, a climate that is cold in the winter & hot in the summer — demand is always higher in the warmer months for hair removal. I handle fluctuations by planning ahead. I make myself more available in those peak times & take time off more so in the winter. I would also say I do fewer promotions in the summer to maximize my profits and keep me in a sustainable spot in the less busy months.

Entrepreneurial Advice

SBS – What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs starting a beauty service business?

Monica – Work for someone else first. Seeing how someone else runs their business will show you what works well and doesn’t work so well. You can also make mistakes in someone else’s business & learn from them for the future. I would also recommend making friends with other folks in the industry — just reach out & say “Hi.” Go trade a service with them or get a coffee. I really value community over competition.

Future Plans

SBS – How do you plan to grow or evolve your business in the future?

Monica – I plan to raise my prices & will continue to build my presence on Google with reviews & fine-tuning my SEO on my website. I’m always trying to be booked solid, so I’m always accepting new clients! I’m also trying to increase my retail sales, which will bring in a little passive income.

Rewarding Experiences

SBS – Can you share a particularly rewarding experience you’ve had with a client?

Monica – Whenever I am first to know about a big milestone in a client’s life (engagement, pregnancy, etc.), it makes me feel so special! To know I’ve built that bond & trust with someone simply by ripping out their hair really solidifies why I love what I do.

Business Lessons Learned

SBS – What are the key lessons you’ve learned from running your own beauty salon?

Monica – It is not for the weak. It requires, above all, consistency. Consistency in the quality of your services, how you present yourself to clients, showing up on social media, all of it. I’ve learned to not give up, to keep showing up & to also be authentic. Be yourself! You will attract clients based on the energy you give.


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Monica Kerrigan’s Path to Beauty Industry Success