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Meet Irina Shekhtman of I She Beauty and Health in Del Mar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Irina Shekhtman.

Irina, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in born in Odessa, Ukraine in 1984. My success story really stems from my parents. My family immigrated to America in 1989. My parents were 27 years old, I was five years old and my sister was four years old. My parents brought our family to America for freedom and a chance at having a better life. They gave up everything they had. They didn’t know English, had maybe $200, no friends or family in America. They had to start from nothing with two little kids. They have a story that really surpasses mine. They gave me a chance to follow my heart. I am forever grateful for all the sacrifices they have made for our family.

Fast forward to me out of high school. I always loved the fashion and beauty industry. I tried community collage for about two years and it really wasn’t the right fit for me. I finally convinced my parents to let me go to a skincare school. We found the best school that my parents didn’t feel was too far away, a privet Esthetician school in Orange County. The Skin Academy within The Paul Mitchell School. In my class there were lawyers, scientists, women with MBAs all on the path to their second dream career. Here I was 20 years old, no degree but a whole lot of passion. I felt so intimidated but knew that I could do it just as good, if not better because I truly love this industry. I graduated from the school and moved back to San Diego.

My first passion was make-up artistry. At 21 years old, I got a job as a manager of Christian Dior cosmetics. After a year of working there and meeting celebrity make-up artists, I really wanted to follow in their path. Soon enough there I was side by side assisting celebrity Make-up artists for Christian Dior. About a year into my dream job I met a man who I got engaged to eight months later and had my daughter with three years later. We decided to explore other states, so we randomly selected to live in Colorado because we had both wanted to live in the mountains. In Colorado, I worked as a make-up artist for Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent. I absolutely loved having the chance to help women feel beautiful in their own skin. As well as educating adults and young women how to correctly apply make-up without overdoing it.

As I grew older, my passion for skincare grew stronger. I found my self not only educating my clients about make-up but also a skincare routine that best fit their needs. Being a skincare expert, I had very satisfied clients. As we all know, time flies so fast. One day I am traveling the world with my fiance, living in different states and the next moment I find my self single with a six-year-old daughter who is going to kindergarten. Even though my daughter’s dad and I didn’t work out as a romantic couple, we are each other’s biggest fans. We are best friends and if it wasn’t for his constant support and encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am forever thankful for his support. He has always told me to follow my dreams which lead me to have my own business.

I started going to people’s homes to do spa services such as facials, waxing, spray tans and yes of course make-up. When I lived in an apartment I made my own spa room in the kitchen and it was great for that time to help build more of a clientele. I quickly outgrew my little kitchen spa and began to look for a bigger place. With the help of my daughter’s dad, I moved to Del Mar, where now I have my own spa room. For me, it is the best option because I can be the mom I have always wanted to be and still be a business owner doing something I love. I have many other dreams and goals both for the beauty and health industry as well as other health ideas for children.

Has it been a smooth road?
I honestly can’t say anything in life is a smooth road. There are daily struggles and challenges not only in the business aspect but in your personal life that can sometimes hold you back. For me, I was my biggest problem for a long time. I felt as though it was my fault my relationship didn’t work out even though I know I gave it a million percent. Blaming myself put me on hold from being able to achieve my goals. All I ever wanted was to be the best, most amazing mom in the world to my daughter. But I felt as though I was missing a part of my own identity. Not that being a mom isn’t enough. I love being a mom. I just missed being able to help other women feel good about themselves. I love the interaction and relationships I had with my clients.

I didn’t want time to flash before my eyes and have nothing to show for it. I also want to show my daughter that a woman can be a mom and a business owner. I didn’t want her to think that she should have to choose between the two. A woman can be anything she wants to be. A woman can be everything she wants to be. I wanted her to have all of my attention and I felt extremely bad when I choose work over being with her. As she got older and went to school, I was able to work more during the time she was in school. Now she knows that mama works when she is in school and a mama when she is out of school.

Yes, I still have challenges. There are many other amazing and talent estheticians and make-up artists out there. I have a lot of competition. I have to know that my services and special skills will keep bringing my clients back to me. I know that I have something special that other people in my industry are not able to provide and that is the ability to really connect with my clients and feel what they are going through. I can truly provide a one of a kind service that very few people can give.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I have been an esthetician and make-up artist for 14 years. I give facials which if you are not familiar with is a cleanse of the face or back sometimes with or without steam. It usually includes extractions which is the removal of blackheads, oil from clogged pores, sometimes tools are used to help such as microdermabrasion or hydro-facial machines and chemical peels. I also do waxing, make-up and spray tans.

I am most proud of my recent service that I am able to offer to my clients, which is a special treatment that is called the sculptural face lifting method that I learned from world renowned Yakov Gershkovich. I had the best experience learning from such an incredible soul. He doesn’t only teach with a lesson plan but he teaches with his whole heart and soul. I didn’t want the class to end. I am so honored to be able to offer this to my clients, friends and family.

From London to Los Angeles, New York to Zurich, and everywhere in between, Sculptural Face Lifting Method is the modern-day mega-trend in the field of natural aesthetics. This unique approach to natural rejuvenation and manual correction of the face developed by Yakov Gershkovich was dubbed as the “nature’s answer to Botox” and praised by A-list celebrities, beauty bloggers, actors, singers, musicians, politicians and thousands of women around the world who prefer holistic alternative to invasive lifting procedures. Sculptural Face Lifting is performed without surgery and injections – by toning, strengthening and relaxing the basic facial muscles. -“Yakov Gershkovich”

I believe that beauty is deeper than meets the eye. Beauty starts on the inside. Taking care of your body internally is just as important as washing your face, having a nice spray tan or wearing beautiful make-up. I study how food affects our bodies and minds constantly and have had the pleasure of talking to many naturopaths about health.

Something else I am really passionate about being a mom myself is other mothers, especially new ones. I want moms to feel comfortable and beautiful and know that someone understands them. That the person who is giving them the service really feels for them. It can be a challenging shift being a new mom or a mom for the third time. I can come to the hospital or home and provide a relaxing facial cleanse, wax, or make-up service and allow the mom to feel beautiful.

I am not sure what the future holds. I would like to say I can see me opening a large spa. I also have other plans in the works in the health and beauty industry not just for adults but for kids too. I believe that good health practices start when we are kids. So I would like to develop something that focuses on kids beauty and health and internal health.

I remember when I was a young girl, I always wanted to grow up so fast and wanted to look like an adult. I wanted to wear as much make-up as possible without knowing what I was really doing. For some reason, most of the time girls don’t want to listen to their moms when it comes to beauty. Some moms also don’t know where to start when it comes to their teenager or pre-teen when they want to start taking care of their skin or want to learn how to wear make-up. I want to start offering a special new program for young girls on how to properly take care of all their beauty needs in a healthy way, from cleansing to teaching them how to wear make-up that best fits their faces.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I am not sure how the industry will change. I feel as though currently the industry is shifting to a more holistic way, more soul connecting. I think it is really beautiful. I have meet so many amazing women spa owners that are so inspiring, they are constantly improving and evolving the business. I hope the industry will shift to more of a mobile service. To cater more to at home services as it slowly is. But more so, so that everyone can experience and afford it.

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Image Credit:
Dena Meeder, Tiffany Allen

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