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We first caught up with Christchurch-born Chris Mitchell in September 2014 when he was eight months into a Diploma in Beauty and Spa Therapies at Elite. Chris had worked as a flight attendant for 15 years when he made the decision to follow his dream and enrol in a beauty therapy course. Fast forward 2.5 years and he has graduated and is working at one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded medical spas, The Face Place.
Chris’s role as Skin Concierge at The Face Place is hugely varied and involves processing client files, meeting and greeting clients, providing advice on treatments and skincare, and all things makeup; whether that be providing full makeup for clients post-treatment or colour matching new clients. He managed to secure the role after taking the initiative to meet up with the clinic founder during his time at Elite.
“I originally went in to ask Dr Catherine Stone, founder and Medical Director of The Face Place some questions around my thesis for CIDESCO. Once I was there I thought why not ask if I could do my work experience with them. If you are going to work in a clinic, it might as well be the best!”
For Chris, building relationships with clients is absolutely key. Elite provides its students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful and Chris acknowledges the benefit of the skills acquired throughout his two-year Diploma.
“Elite has given me a good foundation of knowledge to build on. It is not until you go out into the industry that you realise how little you actually know. My advice is to be like a sponge – you may not think you need to know it while you are in training, but trust me, you will!”
His advice to budding beauty therapists is to be prepared for hard work and long hours, and to pay attention because ‘it’s not all painting nails and lipstick’. He also encourages students to make sure that they maintain a good attitude to ensure their future success in the industry.
“Get into the right place for you so that your clients will love you and keep coming back. You have the power to change people’s lives. I know that sounds like a lot but when you can assist someone who has a skin condition, and become part of their journey to good skin, it is rewarding to be able to say ‘I did that for them’. Find your niche, if you can’t then carve one out.”