Clinic of the Month
I am so excited about this month’s Clinic of the Month as we are celebrating the amazing Stacey Irvine Skin. In the short amount of time that I have known Stacey, her business has exploded, and she has transitioned from doing one thing to something completely different. Let’s dig into her story!
You were working in other places as a registered nurse, a yoga instructor, a badass businesswoman, a wife, and a mother of three adorable daughters. So, what did your picture look like before you decided “this is where I'm going” with Stacey Irvine Health?
Sometimes I think to myself ‘I'm not even sure exactly how I ended up here!’ I really feel like I have been guided in a lot of ways over the past couple of years, and meeting you years ago was a big piece of that light bulb that really went off.
I've been nursing for about 15 years in different areas, and alongside my nursing career, I was always more on the alternative, preventative side of healthcare. I really gravitated to yoga, meditation and wellness and played in that world (and still do) alongside nursing for many years. Then, about three years ago, I started to work for a functional medicine physician here in Calgary, and it was the first time I felt like I had found my home in healthcare.
Functional medicine, for those that don't know, is much more about root cause medicine; understanding the underlying factors for either promoting wellness, or causing symptoms and disease and various manifest manifestations within the body. Rather than symptom treating, functional medicine is about getting to the fundamentals of what's going on. For me, that made so much sense and I loved working in that area of healthcare. Ironically, during that time, I got sick with a few of my own health challenges. During these challenges, my skin started to go crazy, so I was really just looking for somebody to help me. Everywhere I looked it was chemical peel, Botox, laser, exfoliation, microdermabrasion and so on. From what I understood of functional medicine, it just felt like a band-aid. I might go get that treatment, but I still don't really know what's happening.
I was a podcast junkie and was listening to all of these different skin podcasts. One day, I listened to a podcast and I heard the speaker casually mention Dermaviduals. She mentioned specific things that could be customized to treat what was happening. I'm like, “whoa, hold up! That makes so much sense.” It was like functional skin! It caused me to start Googling and then I came across you and thought, who is Rene? Rene seems to know what Dermaviduals is. And it led me to Dermal Systems.
What was the moment? Was there a specific moment in time that you thought, “This is it, I'm doing it, I'm pushing the green button?”
I actually remember when you were treating my skin in the training program and I was still in the process of trying to figure out what was going on with me, health-wise. When you were looking at my skin, you thought that I had an essential fatty acid deficiency. You were highly concerned and you thought I had malnutrition, and that was the beginning of fully understanding actually what was physically happening to me. After other testing within functional medicine, we discovered I had an issue with fat malabsorption, I had severe anemia. I remember thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh. How does Rene, as a skin therapist, know that much about what's happening more globally within my body?”
Because I'm so fascinated by what the body can teach us and how we can be in the driver's seat of our own health, wellness, and aging process, it really triggered something in me and made me hungry to understand what you knew. That night, I went home with Dermaviduals products and started playing with them for my skincare. I was 100% in after that. Then you encouraged me to take on the Advanced skin analysis course. It was the key that I was looking for.
That's one of the things that feel so sacred about our industry, is the trust that people put in us. They give us information that is very sacred and it is our duty to protect. It's beyond just touching people, they really trust us immeasurably with information about their life, their being, and their health and wellness. This is something I really don't take lightly. For them to feel safe in my care or in my studio, and to disclose intimate parts of their lives is huge. - Rene
How has bringing in Dermaviduals impacted your business?
Dermaviduals is very customized, and I think we're in a time in healthcare that we're not a one size fits all. Dermaviduals was the major determining factor of how I could actually help to treat people because of how I could really customize the process for them. I think that was the biggest piece that actually set me apart from everything else that I was seeing.
When I was looking for my own skincare, I felt like I was just going to go through the process. I was going to lay on the table, they were going to do microdermabrasion, they're going to throw something on my skin, and then I was going to walk out the door. Dermaviduals was the huge piece of allowing the experience to be so much more custom so that we could treat something very specific.
Dermaviduals, in particular, allows me not to just be a service provider for my clients, it allows me to be a partner in their skin journey.
You’ve since outgrown your space. I want you to tell us a little bit about that because your business itself has gone through such a huge transformation!
When I first started seeing people, I had a very different approach than what we see across North America. Dermaviduals or Corneotherapy is ‘less is more.’ Protecting the epidermis at all times and really nourishing the skin lands for me in such a different way than any sort of ‘throw another acid on the skin’ does. As a result, I was getting great results with clients very early on. It was that word of mouth that helped it grow, and then people started to trust; they were ready for a different understanding of how skin worked.
People want to feel empowered. It's like going to your doctor; you don't want to just feel like the doctor has all the answers for you. You want to be empowered and understand how to care for yourself and to be your own best healer. The same goes for your skin. You want to go see somebody that is going to help you fully understand your skin so that you can be in the driver's seat. I'm not the person that's going to necessarily fix your skin, but I'm going to help lead you down a path and give you some knowledge along the way so you can make good choices for yourself.
Handing the empowerment back to the client and emphasizing that it's a partnership, a journey together, speaks to people so much. You feel cared for and you feel respected. It's not just a transaction. There's a lot of value when you get to learn for yourself, like when I started my relationship with you early on. I got so much value from learning from you that it made me want to learn more and more and keep coming back.
I launched my business two years ago. It was a home business, and it grew extremely fast. Within a year, roughly around the eight-month mark, I knew that I needed to move it out of the house because I have three young kids. I needed to find a new home for skin (which is the name of my business). By some sort of divine guidance, I ended up being connected with an amazing location down in Calgary, which was such a gift. I work in a co-working space with a handful of other female entrepreneurs. There are a beautiful hair salon, nail salon, and eyebrow business that works out of the space, and it’s an awesome community. And so, because of that location, I also attribute a lot of the growth to being in the right place at the right time with a message that lands, and it just grew from there.
I don't think it's by accident, it's by design. Congratulations on that, because that has just been stellar to watch.
Were there any surprises that came up while working with Dermaviduals, Dermal Systems, or in the world of entrepreneurship in general?
In terms of Dermaviduals, I feel like there haven't been a lot of surprises. I always felt so lucky right from the beginning because I landed with Dermaviduals as a brand-new therapist. There are so many other skincare brands out there that people really react to and people have a problem with or don't work and over-promise, and Dermaviduals is quite the opposite. Even when I initially brought it in, Dermaviduals is not packaged as the most beautiful, Instagram worthy package. And there was a moment where I thought to myself, “would it be better to have something that was packaged with ribbons and bows?” No, because I just want a product that works.
Dermaviduals is very underrated. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it performs so well. You pay for the product, you don't pay for the packaging, and you don't pay for all the marketing that comes behind it. You get a product that performs. Especially as I got busy and grew so quickly, I remember having a moment of panic, “What if I've given hundreds of clients products that are going to cause a terrible reaction now?” Out of the hundreds of people I’ve treated, Dermaviduals does not do that. Dermal Systems is always so easy and smooth. I've had a really good experience with you guys.
You’ve remained busy even throughout COVID-19. In the last year, you have moved to your new location and are also growing your team. Tell us a bit about that.
Hiring new members has been so helpful to help handle some of the admin work so that I could focus on other areas. I think the other surprise as an entrepreneur is that you never stop working. I have worked my butt off the past couple of years. I see people all day long in the clinic and then I work until midnight to get all the admin work done. I'm really hoping to not do that as much because it takes wear and tear on the body. So, hiring a Business Manager was super helpful to start to offload some of that.
I’m also super grateful as this past year my clientele has never been stronger. The pandemic has presented a real lack of connection between humans, and it's taking a major toll in so many ways, but specifically on mental health. There are a few reasons why I've seen a lot of growth this year, but one of the big ones is for the sake of humanity. People want to have physical touch, people want to be cared for, people need self-care, now more than ever. People are also staring at their face on a computer every single day, causing them to be a little more invested in their skin. Because of that, I've hired two new therapists to help with extra support.
One of the other things that I think really propel your growth is your authenticity. You do have a huge social media following, and not only do you give good skin tips and nutritional advice, but you're very real. You've been very transparent with your clients about how you're managing and how you are implementing self-care to overcome the challenging days.
You're a mom as well, and this balance between the children, the husband, and the business is a very delicate one. So I really appreciate how you share that with your clients and always beautifully tie it into how that can have an impact on your mental and physical health, overall well-being, and your skin.
Now more than ever, people are looking for transparency and looking for relatability. If we can dig into that to be able to share it authentically, it never feels like work! If I get a text message or email asking about skin conditions, I can barely help myself. I get so excited to share answers!
If you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give as you think of starting this business and choosing all the components that make it run?
I think it would be to feel the fear and do it anyway. There have definitely been some moments along the way where I caused myself more mental turmoil around what was the right thing, versus just feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I’d also tell myself not to sweat the small stuff, and to focus on the big picture. It’s always more helpful than to get hung up on some of the little things along the way.
In the day-to-day, it can be challenging to do that. But the thing is, you're going to make mistakes. You don't have to be perfect because you're not perfect, and I'm not perfect, and you're never going to be perfect. You have to just do it over and over and over until you feel confident. Part of that process is going to be making mistakes because you're learning. Every little thing where we have an unexpected result is an opportunity to learn a little bit deeper.
What are your top tips? What do you do to balance life and stay grounded?
There are two major things. One, I'm really big on movement. Movement is medicine for me. I'm really into fitness, not to get the desired body shape, but because it is medicine for my mind. I need to be able to move the energy out and allow there to be a boost of serotonin and a boost in creative energy. So, making time for movement is probably number one.
Number two is I love what I call “pockets of joy”. Little things in the day where even if you’re super busy between personal and professional life, there are little things to enjoy. For example, I love coffee more than anything, so I was making a point of making a really beautiful coffee. I also love candles, essential oils, and I love an aesthetic. I love a beautiful space. I love feeling good in my clothes. I like little pockets of joy that help to feel like I'm tending to my heart and my spirit. Those go a long way for me. It makes a difference.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I owe a lot of my growth to Dermaviduals. That was two years ago, and I’m so excited to see where it goes!