WITH flawless, glowing, healthy-looking skin, Emma Subratie is a walking billboard for her thriving home-based day spa which addresses problematic skin issues in a relaxing atmosphere.
The licensed aesthetician started Dream Spa Jamaica in 2008 by outfitting one of her bedrooms with scents, candles and soothing music to give that ultra-calming ambience. She offers a variety of treatments including microdermabrasions, LED phonic light treatment and deep pore cleansing facials.
"My target is to help the people that have very sensitive skin like myself. I have eczema, I have acne, and I have tried products that dermatologists have recommended and they have worked to a point, but the machines I have discovered personally, give me a longer-lasting effect. My eczema is now completely under control -- although Jamaica is a very warm country and eczema flares in warm climates -- and I am able to live in my make-up and I don't have the break-outs," she said.
"There are no cookie-cutter facials here, everything is tailored to you," she said of her business model.
But the 29-year-old is not your average spa owner as she also juggles a demanding job as an executive assistant at a corporate entity and is a student at the University of the West Indies where she is pursuing a degree in Management Studies. Her busy schedule has made her a bit more understanding and appreciative of her clients' time, and so her spa hours are tailored to ensure that they can fit it into the wide range of responsibilities facing modern-day families.
"In my world, a nine-to-five does not exist. Being an executive assistant, I have to ensure that I manage my time accordingly, and so it does become a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job, so I have to ensure that I don't have anything to clash or cross over," she said.
Subratie admits that the decision to start her business at home was not something to which she readily gravitated. But she finds that she is better able to offer her customers a cheaper rate for her services as a result.
"I was a little nervous at first, because this is your home, this is your personal space; but I had done the office space thing for a few years at various dermatologists and it worked for parts of it, but not consistently enough, and I was faced with the challenges of paying these high overheads and being at home. I made the conscious decision to keep it at home, because I save and I pass on the savings directly to my customers," she told All Woman.
While her busy schedule does not allow for much of a social life, a facial is something she loves doing, and it has become more of an escape for her after a long day at work.
"I am very happy when I do a facial on someone and they come the next day and they say, 'Oh my goodness, my skin looks amazing and I say, yes!' she beamed, before adding, "Here (my home) is comfortable for them, it's convenient and so most times when they are coming from the gym, they just swing by."
Subratie received her certification in skin care, aesthetics and waxing from the Lifestyle Transformation Centre in 2008 and a year later registered her company. Since then, clients have been steadily streaming in. She finds that most of those she sees are busy professionals who want to maintain their appearance in accordance with the corporate landscape.
"Both men and women, they both care about their appearance, their hygiene and we work in sync with that. People are becoming more health-conscious and we stick with that concept as well. You don't necessarily need to buy something in a bottle to be health-conscious. Something as simple as drinking more water instead of a soda makes a big difference with your skin immediately," she advised.
The aesthetician volunteered for several years with the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and does not disguise her concern for the treatment of animals. In keeping with that, she sticks mostly to natural products in her treatment routine.
Lately, she has been expanding her business by sourcing and distributing skin care products which will enable her clients to maintain good skin without threatening the environment.
The aesthetician admits that sometimes handling all her varying responsibilities can prove challenging, but she is encouraged when she considers the work ethics of her fiancé who is a captain in the Jamaica Defence Force and some of her work colleagues as well.
"God gave us the life, the health and the strength and there are people out there who have far less and they are doing far more than you and I right now, and you just think that wow, I have no excuse. It's really what you think you can manage and you take the small steps, because everything can't happen one time. Do the necessary market research and have all the legal boxes checked and get certified," she shared by way of advice to those who want to start their own business.