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Hidden Gems: Meet Madison Augustine of Sea Salt and Skin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Madison Augustine.

Hi Madison, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I opened Sea Salt & Skin Waxing Salon on October 1, 2019, taking over space where Dick + Jane Waxing was formerly located and where I was once a client. When I heard they were closing their doors in Point Loma, I knew something needed to be done to keep the business in our community. As a Point Loma/San Diego native, I loved the idea of bringing a valuable service to our neighborhood, but I knew absolutely nothing about waxing (other than being a client)! I’ve spent most of my adult life putting my husband’s career before my own, and I finally wanted to do something for myself. I took a leap of faith and purchased the salon. We completely rebranded, remodeled and brought new life back into the space. Our business was growing, and I quickly fell in love with the salon, our clients, and our small group of estheticians. Five months after opening, COVID-19 hit and my world flipped upside down.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
After navigating a global pandemic, I don’t think any business owner can say they’ve had a smooth road. We had only been in business for five months before we got shut down. When we first got word that we’d be closed for two weeks, it didn’t seem so bad. We had been full steam ahead for the past half a year, and I thought I was finally getting an opportunity to recharge my batteries. When it became clear it wasn’t going to be “just two weeks,” I started to panic. When funding started to become available, I applied for every grant, loan and government program I could find. We sold my husband’s truck to help pay the rent and became a one-car family while we waited for assistance to come through. I received denial after denial, as most of these options required businesses to be in operation for at least one full year before the pandemic hit.

Our personal savings was small, as we had just purchased a business, so I knew I was going to have to hustle if we were going to make it through. I created an online store with all of our retail products and started offering free contactless delivery throughout San Diego. I advertised in local Facebook groups and asked friends and family to spread the word. My efforts were successful, and soon I was doing deliveries every day. I drove as far south as Imperial Beach and as far north as Carlsbad. I never had any interest or intention of being a retail business (or a delivery driver), but because of retail, we made it through nearly seven months of shutdowns. I will be forever grateful for the many San Diegans who supported us throughout our closure. Without them, I would have lost everything and wouldn’t be here for this interview today.

We’ve been impressed with Sea Salt and Skin, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are the best know for our sugar wax! An all-natural alternative to traditional wax, it’s made of just sugar, lemon and water. The ingredients are so clean that you could eat it! Sugar Wax/Sugaring is the ideal choice for someone with sensitive skin or who is prone to ingrown hairs.

Everyone who works at Sea Salt & Skin is experienced and professional. Our estheticians are the bread and butter of our business. Our clients come back time and time again because of the connections and relationships they build with their providers. When you walk into Sea Salt & Skin, you’ll be greeted with a clean, fresh and slightly beachy vibe. When we rebranded, we wanted the salon to tie in with the community. Located in the historic La Playa area of Point Loma, a coastal vibe seemed like the obvious choice.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
We believe in practicing what we preach. We constantly advocate for the local support of mom-and-pop shops. 90% of the retail products we carry are either locally owned, women-owned, and minority-owned small businesses. There’s nothing better than small businesses supporting other small businesses.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Adriana Michele Photography

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