Clinic of the Month - Bella Vita Aesthetics

It is a pleasure to introduce one of our Dermaviduals rockstars, Gillian Masse, from Bella Vita Aesthetics located in Thorndale, Ontario!

Gillian, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in the world of aesthetics.

Before I came into the aesthetics industry, I was actually studying psychology at Western University. I was nearing the end of my degree, and I didn't know what I was going to do after graduating. Aesthetics, skincare and makeup have always been my passion since I was young. So, I achieved my university degree to please my parents, and then I went back to school and got an advanced aesthetics diploma. I graduated twice in the same year; once from Western, and then with my advanced aesthetics diploma. 

The journey is never as straight and simple as it may seem from the outside! 

Tell us more about what made you pick up the phone and inquire about Dermaviduals. And, what made you decide to bring Dermaviduals into your business, especially during COVID?

Before Dermaviduals I was a full-service spa. I offered not only skin treatments, but also manicures, pedicures, waxing, and makeup artistry. My passion, however, has always been skin health. I had been taking some advanced skin education courses and learned all about different cell processes and skin conditions. Ultimately, that learning is what brought me to Dermaviduals. I also became a lot more interested in the Corneotherapy approach, which goes hand-in-hand with the Dermaviduals product line. So, that's what led me to you!

That is such a courageous decision to make, especially during a lockdown. What ultimately pushed you to make the jump?

I think it was largely because the science behind Dermaviduals went perfectly with my knowledge, understanding, and education in skin. Once I recognized that, I knew I was going to bring in the products. It didn't really matter what was going on at the time with the pandemic, but it certainly gave me extra time to get familiar with the product line and study it. I must admit, that was one of the surprises I had with the bringing in the line, was that it wasn't as overwhelming or as intimidating as I expected it to be. There were specific terms that I hadn’t experienced before, so those can be nerve wracking along with the size of the product line itself, but I caught on really quickly and it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. 

I also found that the education and science behind the products were not complicated at all, because as soon as I got it, I got it. I find it much easier to explain Dermaviduals to my clients than regular lines that come with all the actives and ingredients already in it because of how much it breaks it down. I can see that they really understand it versus just picking up a product off the shelf. As soon as I knew the science behind it and the education that came along with the line, I knew that it fit with my philosophy. Those are my business values, and that's what I want to carry.

What has the impact been on your business since making the decision to bring in Dermaviduals? 

The biggest impact it's had on my business is how it has impacted my confidence to do my job, which then allows my business to succeed. Knowing that I have a complete product line behind me that can treat the entire spectrum of skins and skin conditions and help my clients achieve their skin goals makes me more comfortable and confident as a skin therapist. Knowing I have the line behind me to help me be successful in what I'm doing is probably the biggest impact it’s had.

And how has it impacted your business from a client’s perspective? 

They're loving the products, and they're loving how much more simplified it is and being able to understand it better. In this world of skincare, as a consumer, it's so overwhelming. Every time you turn on your phone or TV, you're being marketed to. My clients are just happy to have a product that is easily explained why it's beneficial for them. And, not to mention, they're trusting me more and loving the product, because they keep coming back to buy more.

Building trust and loyalty in our industry is so important, it’s really our ultimate goal. Keeping it simple for our clients is the key. 

Have there been any additional surprises since bringing in Dermaviduals, or in the world of entrepreneurship in general? 

I guess I thought entrepreneurship would be easier because when you're an entrepreneur, you can make your own schedule. But, you quickly learn that when you're an entrepreneur, you want to please everybody. You want to be available for your customers when it's most convenient for them, not always most convenient for you. That's always my desire for my clients, to be there for them when they need me. But when kids come along, you can’t continue to operate your business that way. At the start of my business, I set some clients up as being available Sunday, weeknights, whenever they may need, so it’s been challenging to reteach them and myself that I can't make myself available all the time. 

Absolutely. Setting boundaries is the saving grace for any entrepreneur because you can’t serve your clients if you’re always burnt out. 

What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking about bringing Dermaviduals into their business?

My advice would be to do it. Dermaviduals allows you to treat the whole spectrum of skins and it's a tool that you need in your arsenal in order to do that successfully. Plus, the line is very complementary to other things you may have in your clinic. So, I would say go for it. 

An important piece of advice I’d also like to mention is that you're not just choosing a product line, but you're choosing a working relationship with the people behind the line or the people distributing the line. I learned the hard way at the beginning of owning my business that sometimes you can choose a line that you think will fit, but the people behind it and the working relationship aren’t very successful. That can be detrimental to your business. Today, I feel very lucky as all of the women behind any of the products I distribute, you included, Rene, have always been cheerleaders for my business. When you're running a business, having people like that in your corner makes it so much easier. 

That's one thing I'm really proud of. This industry in particular can be very cutthroat, but I'm so proud that our community is not like that. We all support each other. 

It's been a tricky year. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self? 

I would tell myself to not be afraid to fail. I think we often see failure as the opposite to success, whereas my best business teacher in 15 years has been the experience I’ve learned through failure. Failure has been my building block to success. I would also tell myself that the feeling of failure is short lived. So, just go for it and don't be afraid to fail.

As someone that operates a very successful business, how do you stay grounded? What is the one thing you think every business owner needs to do for themselves on a regular basis to stay sane? 

I've always been the type of person that likes to work hard, but I also like to play hard. If I have a busy week ahead of me, I try to have some social plans at the end of the week. Whether it’s a concert with my friends, or a night out with my girlfriends, that's how I've managed to ground myself and stay balanced. But, there's been very little of that this year. Because of that, it’s been a challenge to find that balance. But generally, it's social time and reconnecting with friends that helps me balance my work and personal life. 

What does business look like for you in 10 years? 

10 years from now, I hope it's more and more skin treatments and skin therapy. I just love it. I’d also love to integrate with a naturopath that focuses on internal skin health. No matter what it may end up being, I see growth. But I think my ultimate goal is to have a business that I could be proud of that one day my two girls might want to take over and get into the industry. 

Is there anything else you might want to share about you and your business?  

I just want to share how I am completely skin-obsessed and how passionate I am about it. I feel like it's my purpose, I want to help people. I know what it feels like to have like low self-esteem and low self-confidence from skin issues, and I don't want anybody to feel that way. I want to educate as many people as I can and help as many people as I can to feel comfortable in their skin.

I am so glad our paths have crossed and that I’ve been able to watch you grow and work with you. I love what you stand for and I can’t wait for others to hear all of your amazing words of wisdom!

Be sure to check out Gillian on Instagram at Bella Vita Aesthetics, or stop by their website for even more information at
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