Interview with Leanne Sedlak

Leanne is the fabulous owner of SkinCatering Spa & SkinCare. She has participated in many interviews over the years about her business and how much it has grown since its conception. Today, I wanted to interview Leanne and focus on her professional life as an entrepreneur in the highly competitive skincare industry. Here are my questions, and Leanne’s remarkable answers.

Every business started from an idea. Ideas come from inspiration. I asked Leanne who or what inspired her to jump into such a competitive industry such as Skincare.

“My business partner, Kim, and I met at a Melanoma Awareness Certification program in May 2012 and bonded instantly over our mutual love for all-natural skincare. Two weeks later when I hired her to be the esthetician for SkinCatering Spa, I asked her what product line she would prefer to use. Kim responded, ‘Why would you ever want to use someone else’s products when we can create everything we need right here, in spa?’  I blinked at her a few times and then inspiration struck! Just like that, I went from dreaming of having a cute little all-natural spa, to realizing we could build our company into something really special.”

There isn’t success with out struggle. What has been Leanne’s biggest struggle as an entrepreneur in this industry?

      “Self-doubt. Some days I’m overwhelmed when I see so many companies with organic skincare that have amazing packaging and professional marketing (not to mention thousands of followers on social media) and I start heading down that dark path of self-doubt. ‘Who do you think you are? What can you possibly know about formulating skincare? Why would anyone every want to buy your product?’ …I’m sure many people can relate to the negative self talk. You’d think money would be my biggest struggle having started with less than nothing but, I’ve learned that I could have all the financial backing in the world and I would still be asking myself these questions. I think it’s natural to feel vulnerable when you put yourself out there in a big way. Putting blinders on, reminding myself that other companies have started where I did and are now where I want to be (and will be), and every customer testimonial that comes in pushes me to keep going. There are days when I am dying inside and crying on the outside but people are depending on me so I put one foot in front of the other, and you know what? I survive that day and 24 hours later it’s a polar opposite feeling – like I can take on the world and nothing is going to stop me.”

As a successful entrepreneur, Leanne is invited to speak at multiple events and seminars each year. I wanted to know what her main focus is when she gives these lectures and what she hopes the young professionals attending them take away from it.

  “I talk a lot about following your path, whether it’s entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship (helping grow a company as an employee, rather than as a business owner.) I hope my store inspires people to go after what they want in life, and have perseverance.”

With all of her success, Leanne has many accomplishments under her belt, but I asked her what has been her greatest accomplishment as an entrepreneur (so far).

“Seeing our skincare products in a major grocery store chain, in the same aisle as the big skincare industry brands has been the greatest accomplishment so far. To be recognized as a real skincare brand by the buyer of a corporation = super badass!”

I have to say I agree that having SkinCatering SkinCare products on the shelves of Big Y is definitely a badass accomplishment! All accomplishments aside, business owners always have moments that hit home and make them proud of their business and what they do. Leanne’s proudest moment as the owner of SkinCatering Spa is definitely memorable.

“When I was named to the ’40 Under 40 Class of 2016′ by Business West Magazine, I was elated! This award isn’t a popularity contest. I earned this one. It was an honor to have a respected panel of judges find me worthy in a sea of nominations. I don’t think I stopped smiling for 5 days after the ceremony!”

To be recognized by Business West Magazine is definitely yet another huge accomplishment for Leanne. Her skincare line definitely deserves the recognition. I was curious as to which specific product in her line she is the most proud of.

“Hands down, ‘HERO’. This body cream designed for relieving sore muscles & joints has taken on a life of it’s own! I originally created it with the new local team of roller derby girls in mind, but since then we’ve been flooded with stories of people with real, painful & debilitating problems from motorcycle accidents & falls, to bone cancer & cancer medication side affects, to fibromyalgia & arthritis sufferers. We’ve come to realize this product is making an impact on people’s lives that we couldn’t have predicted.”

From personal experience, I can definitely testify to the absolute amazingness that is “HERO”. You won’t understand the hype until you try it yourself!

All of Leanne’s products started as ideas, then she is tasked with the challenge of formulating each product from scratch using all-natural ingredients and essential oils. This is not the easiest task. I asked Leanne if there has ever been a product that was a true challenge to formulate.

  “UGH, yes! We were trying to create a private label product for a client. They had a specific scent in mind that we were trying to create but just couldn’t get close enough to what they were looking for. It’s very difficult to mimic synthetic fragrances with essential oils. We had to put an end to the project and not move forward because it just wasn’t working out. It broke my heart!”

I know what you are all thinking. Yet another all-natural skincare brand. I wanted to know what sets SkinCatering apart from all of the other indie brands out there.

      “We are going for an affordable, all-natural product with out the typical look that is associated with ‘organic’. We make it comfortable for people new to skincare to try products; Each creation has been formulated to stand on it’s own, or it can be combined with other SkinCatering items to complete a healthy skincare routine that works for the individual.”

SkinCatering SkinCare products definitely don’t look like the average organic product. The sleek black packaging and brightly colored labels definitely catch the eye! Look for Leanne at SkinCatering Spa located at Tower Square in downtown Springfield where you will find SkinCatering SkinCare products and amazing spa services. You can also find SkinCatering SkinCare at select local Big Y stores, local salons and Shop Rite of Enfield CT! Thank you to Leanne for taking the time to answer my questions!

~ Dori, SkinCatering Office Goddess

Administrative Professionals Get Rewarded In An Amazing Way

The leaders in one of the tower offices of Monarch Place downtown Springfield rewarded their hard-working staff for Administrative Professionals Day a little bit early this year.  They booked the Elite Spa Squad over here at SkinCatering to come give their team an afternoon of mini manicures and mini massages! What a great idea!

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”

— Max DePree

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The Waiting or What Happens When You Grow Gremlins in Your Boobs

Our friend Melissa over at Bird Girl Industries has an important message for our lady friends!

Bird Girl Industries

On March 17 I thought there would be no better way to celebrate St. Patricks Day than with a mammogram and ultrasound.  I mean nothing says “Kiss Me I’m Irish” better than strange people pancaking and sliming up your boob to get a better look at the insides of the mammory glands.  I wasn’t nervous…this was the last of 2-3 years of every six months or so checking up on the two fibroids Bonnie and Clyde that they found in 2011.

And then…

Well then the radiologist said, “Woah, zoom in on that.  Nurse schedule a biopsy for Thursday please.”  And then my whole world went super blurry because no one had said that in visit after visit…a biopsy…for what?  I am getting a Phd.  I am raising three children.  I have finally met the love of my life.  I don’t have time for this…I can’t even say it…the “C”…

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Roadside Assistance, Take One

Driving home from a mobile spa appointment the other day, it was a gorgeous sunny day so I had the windows down in my car, music blaring, and my hair flipped around in the breeze as I sang off-key to my favorite songs.

I was feeling rather happy!

As I was going around a corner, I noticed a rickety roadside stand with buckets of sunflowers for sale. My mood dictated that I stop in and donate $5 to the self-serve station so I could flood the house with the essence of my sunny disposition.

I hopped out of the truck and skipped over to the yellow blossoms with a smug smile on my face. I was feeling extra good because I was “shopping local” and proud that my money was going to help the little old lady (who I pictured must live in the old farm house) make ends meet.

Ready to pat myself on the back for my good deed of the day, I reached into the bunch to select my blooms ….and BAM!!!

I yanked my hand back like I’d been stabbed!

Confused, I looked at my hand and saw…nothing. Knowing, sunflowers don’t have thorns, I timidly began to reach back for the stems, when JUST in time, I realized – ALL THE FLOWERS WERE COVERED IN BEES!!

Not to be thwarted by the dastardly buzzing ninjas, I carefully reached in, took hold of the flowers and gently waved them around to shake off any potential attacks.  Searching my bouquet one more time and satisfied they were gone, I put my prize on the floor of the vehicle and drove away.

All the way home I giggled as I wondered if a hidden pollinator would make it’s way into the front seat, making me do a reenactment of the bees-in-the-car scene from “Tommy Boy” with Chris Farley and David Spade.

sunflowers

XOXO,

Leanne

PS. Witch Hazel in a spray bottle does wonders for a throbbing bee sting!