The rise and rise of the Million Dollar Facial

PUBLISHED: 09:54 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:54 13 October 2020

Jenna Unwin, the founder of now global beauty business Million Dollar Facial
Photo: Merseymedia

Jenna Unwin, the founder of now global beauty business Million Dollar Facial Photo: Merseymedia

Archant

If anyone deserves to feel like a million dollars, it’s Jenna Unwin, Huyton-based founder of global skincare brand Million Dollar Facial

Training complete and ready to start their own business
Photo: MerseymediaTraining complete and ready to start their own business Photo: Merseymedia

Passionate is a bit of an overused term when it comes to entrepreneurs, but I can think of no better term to apply to Jenna Unwin’s approach to her business, founded in 2015 in a tiny shop in Huyton, Liverpool, and now reaching to more than 20 counties overseas, including Dubai, USA, Australia and New Zealand. A conversation with Jenna is a rollercoaster ride, as she hurtles through what she has accomplished to get to this point, from the early days as a mobile beautician to opening her own salon, with borrowed chairs and a loan from her grandparents to the development of skincare products and treatment protocols, and her attitude towards everybody connected with her business, from clinicians to customers.

One thing is more than clear – Jenna is one of those energised, irrepressible, unstoppable women that vibrate at a pitch very few of us ever achieve, even in our most joyful of moments. Think toddler given free rein in a sweet shop, then apply that to an intelligent, hard-working, committed businesswoman who looks at the entire world in the same way the toddler views the pick-a-mix. There is nothing Jenna sees as an obstacle to achieving her dreams, all she has to do is reach out...

Her first reach was to move from mobile beautician to a bricks and mortar salon. Driven by a need to succeed and to support her family, with baby daughter Lily at the forefront of her mind, Jenna decided to train, train, train to enable her to offer the very latest skin treatments to hit the beauty-lover’s consciousness.

‘Within three months I had grown out of that space and had to knock through to next door,’ Jenna says. ‘I continuously reinvested the profits into developing my skills, qualifications and the treatments the business offered.’

Training is intense and includes continuous professional development
Photo: MerseymediaTraining is intense and includes continuous professional development Photo: Merseymedia

An expert in her field, Jenna began to offer training to therapists around the UK, and this is when things really began to move.

‘When I began offering Dermaplane training around the UK, I sensed the concept was very new to the market and not many people truly understood its potential. I had spent years in training courses and seminars up and down the country to learn (sometimes) from people who didn’t have the passion to make changes within the industry like I felt I had. As I gained qualification after qualification there was something still missing from my experience as a student: I wanted to create a family network for my students so they had continuous support, guidance and up-to-date knowledge, to grow as professionals, and together we could rise.’

Together we could rise. Take note of that phrase, as this is where Jenna’s business varies dramatically from most beauty empires you could name.

Dermaplaning is just one element of the Platinum Million Dollar Facial
Photo: MerseymediaDermaplaning is just one element of the Platinum Million Dollar Facial Photo: Merseymedia

Meet another woman taking life and shaking everthing she wants from it, Jessica Toole has taken her love for upcycling and made a business from it.

Realising that through her network of students and the relationship she had developed with them, she already had a brand awareness in her own right, Jenna seized the day and developed her own treatment protocols, using dermaplaning and needling to significantly enhance the results that could be delivered in a facial treatment: her ethos of ‘every woman deserves to feel like a million dollars’ cascading through her training to the development of her various treatment protocols and inspiring the name of her company. Very soon her growing business and industry recognition allowed her access to a skincare developer that could help her take her business to new heights.

Jenna's most recent release, skin cocktailsJenna's most recent release, skin cocktails

‘I found a manufacturer that was ready to take me seriously and help me develop a product range specifically for my treatments. It’s backed by clinical research that supports the objectives I set. I spend a lot of time in online beauty forums, picking up on the latest research and developments that are exciting the industry, talk to my manufacturer and together we look at how we can continuously enhance the collection or develop new products. I wanted to launch a collagen drink for a while and earlier this year found a company in Sweden that I really like, then as it’s all been so dull and down lately decided to inject a little fun into it with bright packaging and the concept of having a cocktail, though there’s no alcohol of course!’

Part of Jenna’s desire to get her cocktail range ready to retail was to support the more than two thousand Million Dollar Facial technicians in the UK who, throughout lockdown and right up into July, were suddenly without an income.

‘During lockdown I worked really hard with all the therapists to help them develop retail sales, to provide some income, when they were not allowed to work for so long. I actually think lockdown will have made a lot of change for the better – lockdown learning made us more versatile, it’s made the therapists more grateful for their clients and they have really understood the importance of building relationships. It was a tough time, but working together made us stronger.’

It’s a holistic view where everybody benefits, loyalty is enhanced and the business goes from strength to strength.

‘For me, the ethos of my company is what makes us successful. We have every technician back for training and updates every 12 weeks, to make sure that they maintain the company ethos, which starts with assessing their client’s skin to decide what’s necessary, which can be less than what the client is asking for. We don’t oversell, ever. This approach gives the therapists a good reputation and the client a great experience that suits both their needs and their budget.’

So, what’s next for the empire builder from Huyton?

‘I’ll be honest, it all took off so rapidly I never had time to stand and think and make plans, it was always just go-go-go. Now it’s grown so big I have to plan things in, because the impact of bringing one new thing in is so massive that the team can fracture if we don’t have the correct infrastructure. I am quite impulsive and if I want something, I want it tomorrow, so we need to plan ahead, to set goals to maintain control. I had always wanted to own a head office. We had always rented – and this month this dream has come true,’ she laughs, pure joy evident in every word. ‘I am 35 today, during lockdown I have had time to look back and appreciate what we’ve achieved, but I think I shall always be striving for extra, I just thrive off it.’

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