Isabella Loneragan is one of Sydney’s best and most experienced skin therapists offering expert acne, rosacea, pigmentation plus cosmetic and anti-ageing treatments. She has also qualified with Yakov Gerschovich in Paris in Advanced Facial Sculpture Massage, and the Buccall Massage, which features in The Intrinsic Facial Experience at The Dermal Diary.
Isabella has made beautiful complexions her business, building a solid reputation in the cosmeceutical, beauty and dermatology industries, as well as the plastic surgery industry both in Australia and overseas. Her 13 years across all industries is evident in the results she provides.
She has also designed and formulated A Private Collection of Skin Products alongside an exceptionally experienced team of compounding pharmacists that are all scientifically tested and proven to create specific results.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
Initially, I’d always been interested in the facial industry, not “beauty therapy” specifically, but facials. I’d always loved receiving them and I was fascinated in the whole concept. I also used to visit a beauty therapist in my early 20s that was happy all the time, she just loved it. I aspired to a job that could make me that happy. Fast forward about 10 years, I finished a diploma of Beauty Therapy, various Dermal Sciences Qualifications and started working as a Dermal Therapist in a Dermatology practice. Whilst working here I identified a huge gap in the market for the treatment of acne/rosacea and major skin conditions that didn’t involve prescription medication. Many patients didn’t want to be on medication and hardly any other therapists were offering non-medicated ways to treat skin conditions. I thought to myself, “if no one else is going to do this, I will” and I did!
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
When I did my Diploma in Beauty Therapy – I remember saying to someone, “I want to run my own business”. I’m not sure exactly why, but there was definitely a subconscious drive towards entrepreneurialism. My sister had owned and run a small remedial massage business and I used to look up to her a lot, so I think that is what initiated my drive.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Where do I start? You basically have to be able to do everything all the time and all at once, kind of like motherhood! There’s also really never any ‘switch off’. But the most obvious would have to be tenacity, ability to multitask and to ignore the never-ending ‘advice’ you receive from people that have never run a business and are not marketing experts!
What was the best advice that you have been given?
Everything takes longer than you think it will, so double the amount of time you think you will need to complete a task.
What do you think your key to success has been?
Staying in my lane and actually making my lane narrower if that makes sense. I’ve slowly knocked things off my ‘menu’ in the clinic, for example: when I opened my first business Exquisite Skin Therapy, I offered an array of beauty-focused treatments and kept adding. However, when I opened The Dermal Diary, I cut that menu in half and now 5 years later all we do is facial treatments and no “beauty” related treatments at all. I Believe the more specific you are, the better you get at it. Consistency and laser-like focus on what you do and specialise in is key.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I think the main thing I love about being an entrepreneur is the fact that I’m the one that makes the final decision on all project directions. I found it super frustrating working for others when I had all these ideas that I knew would work and I didn’t have the power to implement any of them. Also, I’m not great at being Idle – and there is no chance of being idle when you own a business. There is literally something you can be doing all the time.
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
Taylor my business coach, she’s such a catalyst for women thriving in business! Funnily enough, my baby’s nanny allows me to thrive. She was an accidental find, a neighbour that offered help when she heard I had to go back to work when my son was 4 months old. She quickly became this incredible support system that I trust implicitly and because I’m not worried about him when I am working, I am able to thrive.
How do you balance your entrepreneur life with friends that don’t understand the challenges we experience?
Mostly, non-business owners don’t really understand what it takes to run a business on a daily basis so I tend to gravitate to those that have an understanding of business ownership. That could be either through their parents owning a business, or partner, or themselves. The disadvantage is that those people are usually as time-poor as me, so the chance to socialise with like-minded business owners is rare.
What makes your business unique?
We are genuine and honest about everything we do and everything we advise. We also very strictly sit between Dermatology and Beauty Therapy and virtually none of our competitors offer the same model.
What keeps you going in difficult times?
The fact that I love what I do, it never feels like work!
What keeps you up at night?
Apart from my one-year-old? The fact that there is so much I want to achieve and I feel like sometimes I’m running out of time. I’m rather obsessed with making sure our business model is as client-centric as possible, therefore I’m always analyzing our current business practices and offerings to make sure they are as high a standard as possible.