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Life and Work with Sara Wingate

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Wingate.

Sara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started this journey as a freelance makeup artist working in San Diego in the early ’90s. I moved to L.A. to attend esthetician school in Culver City and, after passing the state board exam, I moved back to San Diego. I began at a very busy salon in Encinitas, honed my skills and grew a large client base. After three years, I had the opportunity to start my own facial business and, in 1999, Bliss Facials was born. Nineteen years later, it’s still thriving — and I still have regular clients from that first salon in 1996!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being a woman in the esthetics industry is the norm, so feeling like I fit in the industry has never been difficult. But standing out in this industry is something else. For as long as I have been in business, I have never advertised — it’s always been word of mouth, and I have let my services speak for themselves. I have always customized each client’s treatment, and they both love the results and enjoy the experience.

Sometimes, I struggle with the business end of things, and with being a sole practitioner. I’ve been asked why I don’t expand and have employees, but I don’t want the responsibility — although I would love to have a partnership and collaborate on services.

My advice for this business? You have to be a nurturer, have a strong work ethic, and learn business skills. But most important: you need to give your client the best experience, every time they see you.

Please tell us about Bliss Facials.
I do facials for a variety of needs: restorative, anti-aging treatments as well as revitalizing skin treatments and even some nice teen facials for acne-prone skin. From the moment a client walks in, I want their experience to begin. Whatever length of time a client has with me belongs to them. They come in for their skin but often they need more than just that: They need relaxation, quiet time or to be nurtured. I’m pretty intuitive on who needs what. A lot of people in my industry want to “turn and burn:” Do a micro-whatever, sell the client a product and they’re done. I can’t do that. I’m known for giving an incredible facial. My clients will tell you that I’m very thorough with extractions.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
My industry is already very welcoming to women and I love it that way! But there are some great men working in the field too.

I remember going to a celebrity facialist in L.A., who works on a lot of stars. When he walked out to greet me, he was so gracious and made me feel special — and that left a lasting impression on me.

I’m constantly reinventing parts of me: I redecorate, study different modalities and look for different way to enhance my client’s experience. I also visit spas in my town and when I travel too, that really inspires me. I have so many ideas that I’d like to explore.


  • Custom facial with Sara begins at $125.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sara Wingate

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