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The Future of Beauty: Molly Colabuono On How Whatskin’s Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The Beauty Industry

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Beauty is such a subjective thing and feeling beautiful is a state of mind. So do things that make YOU feel good, even if it’s not what someone else would do. Feel free to reinvent yourself every so often; change hair colors, hairstyles, push yourself out of your comfort zone. Accept compliments and believe them!

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing… Molly Colabuono.

Molly Colabuono is Whatskin’s Chief Executive Officer bringing more than 20 years of advocating for the beauty industry as a licensed esthetician, national educator, published writer and an award-winning salon & spa director. Molly’s passion for skincare and business operations ensure every day is smooth sailing at Whatskin. You’ll catch her filing orders, chatting with customers, building on our vendor relationships; no job is too big or too small for our spirited operations guru! Molly also has a deep commitment to serving those struggling with a variety of skin issues. From acne to anti-aging, she wants to help everyone achieve their best skin health! When she’s not obsessing over skincare and operations, she loves car dancing to 80’s music and never passes up the chance to karaoke!

Whatskin is skincare shopping made easy. The app offers an innovative built-in skin analysis from LIVE Estheticians, then curates a beauty shop specific to your skincare needs.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve been obsessed with all things beauty since I can remember. My aunt was an instructor at a beauty school when I was little and being there surrounded by incredible artists who had creative freedom and made people smile and feel good about themselves, I knew I wanted to emulate that and make an impact on people’s lives the same way.

Although I swayed into another path and pursued a career in Advertising, it always led me back to the beauty industry. While working for a magazine company, I met a woman who was an esthetician that helped me overcome my own skin battles with rosacea and inspired me to finally go to beauty school. You just can’t fight what is meant to be!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Working as an esthetician, every day is different and I have stories that could turn your stomach but at the same time warm your heart. I’ve met thousands of people over my 20-year career and the intimate relationships you build with clients is the whole reason why we do what we do. From helping clients overcome issues with acne, rosacea, even cancer; that’s the impact I wanted to have in the world; one face at a time!

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

When I left my corporate job in advertising and started working as an esthetician full-time, I knew I wanted to learn everything about the beauty business. I gave myself a 5-year goal to becoming a spa director and then another 5 years to become a business owner. I networked with industry leaders, attended local beauty events, and took business classes. I never stopped learning about what it takes to be successful in this business. Through that education and networking, I became an award-winning salon and spa director in just 4 years and 5 years later started my own business; The Makeover Studio, Inc.
My advice to anyone in any industry is to keep learning. I’m a huge proponent of education. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to future beauty professionals at area schools and that’s what I always start and end with, education. It also inspired me to become a licensed continuing education sponsor so I can pass on the knowledge and experiences I’ve learned along the way to help other beauty professionals set goals and get to where they want to be!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m grateful to so many people along the way. From my clients to employees — they’ve all taught me valuable life lessons that I’ve been able to apply to business success. Ultimately, I do have to thank my co-worker at the magazine company. If she hadn’t offered to lend her expertise to help me with my skin struggles at the time, I would have never known that I could find the perfect industry for me that let me use my right and left brain at the same time and be able to help people feel beautiful and confident in their skin.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

The skincare sector is seeing this shift to personalization. With the use of AI technology, you can answer a few questions, submit photos, and get a skincare routine in minutes! It helps to take the guesswork out of what to use for your skin since the options in today’s market can be completely overwhelming. What we are doing different with Whatskin is taking away AI and making your skincare selection experience real. What I mean by that is, we have real estheticians that analyze your skin profile and selfies to give you a completely personalized skincare shop with products to help with your specific skin concerns and conditions. No two skincare shops are the same! We took the personalized skincare shopping experience to a whole new level. No one is doing what we are doing by bringing the esthetician and beauty store together with over 50 different skincare brands to choose from — not just from one skincare line. It’s customized options for the customer but they know what ever product they purchase, it was chosen just for them by a skincare professional.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

The biggest concern with this technology is privacy. This has come up with major skincare brands who implemented this technology without having policies and safeguards in place. We’ve more than done our homework and make sure our customers information is secure and remains private. We’re transparent with our privacy policy and have a dedicated section on our Whatskin App about it.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

1.) Making professional skincare advice accessible to everyone.

2.) Creating more jobs for beauty industry professionals.

3.) Marrying the creative and scientific worlds of the beauty industry.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

1.) Diversion is still a major problem in the beauty world. To stay safe, purchase straight from manufacturers or authorized sellers. With majority of our shopping done on-line always be weary of deeply discounted items or unfamiliar sources.

2.) Create a living wage and benefits for beauty professionals. Living in the service industry is challenging in regular times alone but the pandemic rocked the beauty world. It hurt me to see friends and colleagues lose their businesses, clientele, and livelihoods. Our industry needs to establish a unionized approach to protect our workers and allow them to build a scalable career path in good and bad times.

3.) Education for beauty professionals. It breaks my heart to hear technicians struggling to find education and training on new techniques and trends. I’d love to see more affordable and hands-on training centers for beauty professionals at all stages of experience so they can continue to grow and help even more people.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Beauty is such a subjective thing and feeling beautiful is a state of mind. So do things that make YOU feel good, even if it’s not what someone else would do. Feel free to reinvent yourself every so often; change hair colors, hairstyles, push yourself out of your comfort zone. Accept compliments and believe them!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I feel like Whatskin is starting a movement all its own. We can bring professional skin therapists to everyone; even people who may not have the access to that kind of help and advice. We all have skin, but we all don’t have our own esthetician. We’re making that possible! The fact that you have professional skincare advice, for free, and get products chosen just for you from well known drug-store brands to clinical professional brands really gives customers control of their budget but still knowing whatever product they purchase, it’s the best choice for them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I never get tired of sharing this quote “If you think you know everything, find something else to do.” I remind myself of this often, so I make sure that I stay focused on not only sharing knowledge but also receiving it because with this mindset I’ve learned so much more.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can visit our website at www.whatskin.com or on IG: Whatskin_official and FB: Whatskin? Download the app on the App store or Google Play: Whatskin? and get your free skin analysis and personalized skincare shop today!

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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