Founder of Face by SM, Sanja Maria spoke to Professional Beauty Editor in Chief, Anita Quade about her salon journey and designing her dream treatment oasis on Oxford Street, Paddington.

Location, Location:

Would you believe my first job when I started in the beauty industry was at a clinic on Oxford Street so it feels like I have come full circle. It was a fantastic location where I knew I would be able to service many of my longtime clients and I do feel as though there is a new vibrant energy coming through Sydney’s original high street again.

Aim for atmosphere:

When I was conceptualising Face by SM I knew that I wanted a space that was inviting and luxurious for everyone who visited. Ironically while it is a clinic, I wanted to steer well away from the traditional clinical look. The space has very special touches that incorporate floral tones, marble surfaces, soft metallic textures and crystal accents that make it quite a decadent and modern experience. Our clients often comment that there is this warm and welcoming energy as they walk in so I feel as though that we’ve got the balance right.

Sanjya Maria, image courtesy of Face by SM.

Lessons learnt:

It certainly has been a dream of mine but even with my previous experiences, it was still a huge period of learning and growth. I’m sure many business owners can relate to just trusting your instinct and taking the risk when you know it’s time to expand an existing business. My ultimate goal was to provide the best services and indeed have a state of the art space so for me one of my earliest priorities was to invest in the best. This was not necessarily specific to just sourcing the best equipment and products but also connecting with experts in different fields to build the space, ensuring we have the best team on board and really learn and grow through consultation and collaboration.

Sanja’s background:

“I felt that my business was at the point where it was ready to expand – it was now or never! My ultimate goal was to have a team as I particularly thrive in an environment built on teamwork. My space at La Porte was constricted and I was quite isolated working on my own. At Face by SM we have multiple treatment rooms which has allowed me and my team to not just focus on injectables but also offer a cohesive approach through customised skin treatments and complimentary services.”

I feel as though I was drawn to the beauty industry from a young age – I lived and breathed it and was always happiest when I was working within the industry. I loved being able to help my clients look and feel their absolute best. I consider myself very passionate about the industry and even in my downtime I really enjoy learning about new treatments and innovations – I believe that is what has kept me going in this industry – ensuring I keep my finger on the pulse and that I am constantly evolving and learning.

Choosing treatments:

“Whilst we offer a wide range of services and treatments our team really prides ourselves on an individualised approach where we take the time to understand specific concerns and tailor a plan to achieve the clients’ aesthetic goals. Often, a particular treatment that a client has seen online may not be the best approach to see this so we essentially create a tailored skin journey. As part of an all-encompassing treatment plan, we offer advanced injectables including PRP treatments and Mono Matrix Threads, medical-grade peels, skin needling and rejuvenation, plasma pen, non-surgical skin tightening with Ultraformer and one of the latest addition is laser removal for stretch marks and scars.

At the moment our Jawline Sculpting targeting the lower face, chin and neck has been very popular. Focusing on this area gives an instant rejuvenation giving the whole face an overall lift. This can be achieved with injectables, Ultraformer or a combination of both.

As far as skin revitalisation goes, Mono Matrix Threads are certainly producing amazing results for our clients at Face by SM. This procedure is particularly effective for skin tightening in specific areas of the face. Mono Threads are inserted into the selected areas of the skin – ie. mid-face, accordion lines, jawline, or under the chin to achieve maximum tightening effects. After entering the skin, the threads activate collagen synthesis for a gradual skin tightening and skin rejuvenation effect. We have also just introduced the only FDA laser approved device in Australia to treat stretch marks. This treatment is also suitable for scars including caesarian and surgical scars.

Well thought out interiors are key at Face by SM.

The pigmentation problem:

I definitely think that our harsh Australian Sun does not do us any favours – I am a firm believer that prevention is better than cure so having a good SPF is a non-negotiable. While we can’t turn back the clock now that we know better – our clients have achieved great results through individual plans in our clinic incorporating individual and consistent treatments. There are a number of different causes of pigmentation – for example, pigmentation caused by acne scarring or hormonal pigmentation such as Melasma. Our clinic treats accordingly to that and we incorporate treatments such as Clinical Skin Needling Programs, Deep Medical Peels (such as Cosmelan Peel) or IPL treatments.”

Having a bespoke skincare plan is truly our ethos and what our clinic team stands for. We recognise that every face is different and there is not one specific approach to reach your skin goals. We pride ourselves in programing skin plans with a client-centric approach offering the relevant treatments as a step-by-step process through consultation and a committed skin journey.

Making space:

Salons are traditionally very space-poor equipment real estate needs to be heavily considered and edited. I always revert back to the lesson of investing in the best as it is so important when machinery is involved. I invested heavily in our clinical equipment and there is plenty of research as the market is huge. We review what is on offer internationally and source equipment that can offer the best technology for our clients – multi-tasking is a bonus but safety and effectiveness is paramount.

Standing out:

I believe our clinic stands out by what we stand for – minimal non-surgical treatments. At Face by SM we are client-centric and have an honest relationship with our clients through a detailed consultation. We are honest and diligent with our treatments and are invested in our clients from start to finish. Their skin journey is our journey too.

Want to hear from more beauty business owners? Check out our recent profiles of Victoria Fox of MISS FOX, Melbourne and Marionne de Candia, celebrity facialist and founder of Medi SkinSaver.

This article originally appeared in the July-August print edition of Professional Beauty magazine. To read the full article, flip through our digital issue below.

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