• Eliss Halina

    Following Her Own Path

    Portrait of Eliss Halina.
    Eliss Halina
    Esthetician and Medical Spa Therapist Certificate*, Nail Technician Certificate and Comprehensive Makeup Artist Certificate** Graduate
    *formerly Advanced Esthetics Certificate
    **formerly Pro Makeup Artist – Advanced Certificate

    Esthetician launched her own business with George Brown foundation

    In Toronto, with spas everywhere, esthetician Eliss Halina has put her values front and centre to make her business stand out. Eliss credits her determination in no small way to the foundation she gained at George Brown College's School of Makeup and Esthetics, where she graduated with an advanced esthetics certificate and a nail technician certificate in 2006 and an advanced makeup artist certificate in 2007.

    A big thing for my teachers was stressing that you have a value and your trade has a value, and when you abandon some of your core values like sanitation or let a boss speak down to you, it’s not acceptable. They trained us to understand who we were as estheticians, says Eliss. They taught me it’s important to take pride in my work and respect integrity.

    It’s clear that Saul’s Beauty Shop – launched in April 2014 – is a reflection of Eliss’ values. Filled with vintage furniture, quirky artwork and products from independent brands, the gender-neutral spa fits Eliss’ unique approach to skin care. Drawing from her studies at George Brown, Eliss has created a range of services you won’t find in many traditional spas, such as beard conditioning and facial treatments for skin breakout emergencies. She also carefully selects the products she uses and sells.

    I enjoy the amount of responsibility, and the fact that I’ve got to lead the way. If I don’t like how something is going, it’s on me alone to change it, she notes.

    Although Eliss never dreamed she’d own a business when she was in school, George Brown taught her to think professionally and follow her own path.

    George Brown definitely got me thinking about roles and being conscious of what I’m being paid to do, says the esthetician. In makeup, you’re trained to think more as an independent contractor, and that mindset can be beneficial in a more aggressively set-up spa workplace. I went into more interviews knowing what questions to ask, and understanding the value of places with training programs or room for moving up the ladder.

    Everyone needs a good foundation, and George Brown College set us up. It’s so much easier to make all the new trends click when you understand how the skin works. George Brown was realistic about the fact that you need to learn the theory and take the time to develop your skills. It was a very supportive atmosphere.

    Education is at the heart of Eliss’ career, a value she realized early on in her work while in a product knowledge training session with a skin care brand.

    You’re sitting in this class going over very basic ingredients and use of products, and they would be explaining how the skin works, says Eliss. More than half the room was learning that for the first time – I realized that many didn’t have the same amount of training I had.

    While building her career from part time to a full-time client list to her own business, Eliss says her success began with her time with us.

    Everyone needs a good foundation, and George Brown College set us up, she explains. It’s so much easier to make all the new trends click when you understand how the skin works. George Brown was realistic about the fact that you need to learn the theory and take the time to develop your skills. It was a very supportive atmosphere. I was the youngest in my esthetics class, most likely, and was never treated like the kid, which was great and set a good path for what to expect and how to act in a professional atmosphere.

    But perhaps the most valuable part of Eliss’ learning experience was the real-world insight gained from her teachers.

    The teachers are very honest about what it’s going to be like when you start working, adds Eliss. When you have realistic expectations of yourself and learn the patience you need to really grow into being a great esthetician, then your confidence doesn’t get ripped apart in the process. Maintaining confidence, and knowing realistically what happens when you learn new skills in the workplace, is what’s helped get me through the hardships of new business ownership.