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At 21, St. John’s resident Alicia Baker tackled the formidable task of launching her own business.
“Being so young and not knowing anything about the business world was the biggest challenge I faced,” said Baker, franchisee for DermaEnvy Skincare.
“I still don’t know if I know everything about business, but I definitely know enough.”
Baker’s path was far from easy. She faced the complexities of business finance, inexperience, and navigating a pandemic-ridden landscape. Overcoming these obstacles, Baker said, helped established her as a thriving entrepreneur.
Choosing her path
Baker, who is originally from Little Bay, had a unique upbringing.
Despite growing up in a house full of men, she always found a way to let her girly side shine through.
“I had so much male influence in my household, it made me shift the other way. I brought that female influence into my life on my own; I always had a passion for hair, makeup and beauty,” said Baker, who is now 24.
While she considered pursuing makeup as a career, Baker chose a different path.
“I realized that medical aesthetics offered more stability, which was important to me,” she explained.
Entering the industry
In 2017, Baker moved to Mississauga to study medical aesthetics at the Canadian Beauty College.
After graduating in 2018, Baker began working in a spa, but said nothing stuck. But her time spent in these spas was worth it when she got a call about managing a new skincare clinic.
“I got a call from DermaEnvy, they were about to open a location in Halifax,” said Baker.
Baker said she gained valuable experience managing the clinic and, during her time there, gained insights into the aesthetics industry.
After two years, Baker felt the pull to return home and be closer to her family. She decided to pitch the idea of franchising her own DermaEnvy Skin Care location.
Overcoming the hurdles
Expanding upon her experience as the manager of the DermaEnvy clinic in Halifax, Baker found support from DermaEnvy when she embarked on the path to open her franchise in St. John’s. Yet, this new chapter was not without its hurdles.
Baker said she grappled with the complexities of franchising. The uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic presented further challenges.
“To this day, I have never met my banker, or have never met insurance people in person. It was always me being like, ‘OK, so what’s the next step,’” said Baker.
Baker says her struggle with anxiety added an extra layer of complexity. She never wanted to be in a position where she couldn’t support her business.
A holistic approach
DermaEnvy Skincare is a well-established skincare clinic with locations across Canada. The clinic specializes in a range of aesthetic services aimed at helping clients achieve their skincare goals.
Baker serves as a franchisee for the clinic located on O’Leary Avenue, which offers a wide range of services, such as manicures, pedicures, massages, facials, and skincare.
Her expertise goes beyond standard aesthetics, delving into laser treatments, teeth whitening, body contouring, micro-needling, derma-planing, and chemical peels.
“My goal is to provide a holistic approach to skincare. Aligning more with what you’d find in a dermatologist’s office than a standard day spa,” said Baker.
Meeting high standards
“Starting out, I was faced with many challenges. I had to learn the ropes of running a franchise, which was different from managing a clinic,” Baker said.
“I had to build a strong team and ensure our services met the highest standards.”
Baker has further invested in the professional development of her team, aimed at providing top-notch skincare services. This dedication led to the growth of her franchise in the local market, she added.
Baker said she also recognizes that her path as a business owner is an ongoing process.
“Business is always evolving, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. It’s essential to adapt to changing circumstances and keep the quality of our services high,” said Baker.