Lorraine is a popular electrologist in my area, drawing clients from far and near. I was curious to hear her story and the secrets behind her busy and successful practice.
After our conversation, I truly understood why so many clients are attracted to her – Lorraine is extraordinarily empathetic and compassionate. She shared how it felt to be a teenager with facial hair, and why she feels privileged to be able to help others in her situation.
I would love to hear about your background. When did you become interested in electrolysis?
At first, I was a client. I started seeing some stray hairs on my face and tweezed all through high school. I thought I was some freak of nature and the only girl in the whole world who had hair growing on her face. I was embarrassed about it.
I didn’t seek out electrolysis until I was in my late teens, and was able to drive appointments and afford it on my own. I found this really sweet, little old lady that charged almost nothing. She worked out of a little dark room behind her husband's barber shop. I went to this woman for almost five years. Unbeknownst to me, she was doing electrolysis completely wrong.
Then, unfortunately, her husband was ill. I came to her office one day and there was a sign on the door that said ‘Closed Indefinitely’. I was forced to find another electrologist. When I asked around, I noticed that everyone was charging three times the amount that I had been paying until then. So I narrowed it down to someone who was closest to my job.
It was kind of funny; the first time she worked on me I accused her of doing it wrong. I said, "Why don't I see you pulling them out? Aren't you going to take the hairs out?" She explained to me, "I am taking the hairs out. They're just sliding out." I was shocked, "What do you mean? I went to somebody for five years, and I felt every single hair she took out."
She just put her hand on my shoulder and said, "You're not going to be coming to me for five years for these hairs. I'm going to get you cleaned up. You should never feel hairs being tweezed. You could do that yourself."
She was right. It took only eight months of coming very regularly. It was a completely different experience, and that's when I decided to become an electrologist. I was so excited that there was a real solution and that I can help other people.
I love what I do. I've been doing it for a long time, and I still love it. I get up every morning excited to go help people. I found my niche in life and it feels really good to be helping people feel better about themselves in our society.
Did you own a business right away, or did you first work for somebody else?
I went to school, graduated, passed my state boards, and became a certified electrologist. But even before I graduated, I already had a job lined up. While still in school, I went knocking on doors and found this little spa that was opening up in South Jersey. They hired me. I also found a place up in Howell, and they hired me because there was no electrologist in that establishment. But both jobs were part-time.
I started from ground zero and had no clients. I would have to drive an hour in each direction. I was spending a lot of money trying to build up my clientele and my reputation. I was also working in a department store as a manager.
In the meantime, one of my coworkers was a client at the electrologist that I went to for eight months. My coworker found out that she was looking to hire someone. So she told her, "One of my coworkers, Lorraine, just graduated."
She ended up hiring me. She told me, "I will give you as many clients as you want."
Eventually I weaned my way out of my regular full-time job and started doing electrolysis full-time. And then I was very, very, very fortunate. A year after working for her, she sold me her business. At the age of thirty I owned the business.
She left, and about a year later, I hired someone. I pretty much always had somebody working for me after I purchased that business.
How did you grow and maintain your large clientele?
I believe that my best advertisement is a happy client. My number one goal every day is to help people have better self-esteem. I want them to feel good about themselves. Then when my clients are happy, they want to help someone they know that needs it.
A lot of my clientele comes from referrals. I do offer my clients a small incentive - if they refer someone, they get a 25% discount towards their next visit.
There are also dermatologists and plastic surgeons that refer clients to me. I also refer people to them that I feel will be better served with laser. I try to be really fair and honest with my clients and recommend them the best options.
In the past I have spent lots of money on marketing that didn't bring one client in. But I learned from that. It’s all trial and error. At this stage of the game, I mostly get my clients referrals.
I do have some advertising out there. I advertise in a women's magazine. I like it because it explains things in detail, answers a lot of questions, and saves people from calling to ask questions.
I also have a coupon online which has brought a lot of clients and has been very successful. It’s on Groupon. This gives people the opportunity to try out my services and learn about it at a discounted rate. I've been on Groupon for years and it has been much more helpful for me than all the advertising I did which accomplished nothing.
Many business owners struggle to get steady clients. How do you ensure that your clients keep coming back?
I do a 15 minute consultation, at minimum, with new clients if they’ve never had electrolysis before. I explain to them in great detail the cycle of growth of hair. I tell them why they have to come on a regular basis, and why it's imperative that they do not tweeze, wax, or thread. That's really hard for a lot of people, because they are used to getting up every single day and tweezing their hair out.
From this conversation, they understand that it is going to be a process. I will need to treat each and every hair at least one time. If we stay on top of it and they come when there's a growth stage, then we will be most effective and have success.
It's a team effort. They know that they have to show up, and I am happy to help them. But it's a commitment, because they are going to be coming on a regular basis. And I try to do my very best to work with people to help them reach their goals in a realistic way.
Lorraine, you are an inspiration! There is so much to learn from your business strategies, as well as your wonderful qualities.
You're passionate about your craft, and even more passionate about helping others!
To inquire regarding the services of Brick Electrolysis, you can call the office at 732-477-9040. You can also check out their website to learn more.