● Founder: Kelli Ellis in 07/16, story below…
In 2009, I had been laid off from my corporate job for around 2 years, when I decided to go back to school to learn something I really loved – skin care. I had been suffering from cystic acne for years and had already done a ton of research. While in school, I found the material so interesting! It was riveting!!! After I graduated, I worked as an esthetician full time. After about a year, it wasn’t paying me enough and no benefits so sadly I went back to a full time corporate job. I did start a home-based skin care business so I could still get my fix of what I was really passionate about. I also worked on the weekend at a local Medspa performing laser treatments, especially the more-invasive procedures. Over the next 6 years, I worked at several different Medspa’s on the side. They would promise me base salary plus commission, then wouldn’t be able to deliver. This was perfect for me because after being laid off for 2 years, I was really, REALLY broke. I have a wonderful, beautiful, sweet daughter that means the world to me and I still I needed to provide for her. Luckily, she was a teenager around that time and was starting to work herself, so I had a bit more opportunities to work those extra hours outside of the corporate gig.
Those 6 years spent working at different Medspa’s allowed me to work with many lasers and equipment, which was fantastic experience! I got to see what really worked and what didn’t….which treatments were tolerable, and which were too painful. I tried every treatment on myself. This was so helpful because I could feel the procedure, experience the downtime, see the results, and then determine what works and what doesn’t. The downside was that some establishments wanted you to sell procedures that didn’t really work, or quote a price based on what purse the client had or how they were dressed. I really hated that side of the industry. I would tell people the truth and constantly get in trouble. Finally, I decided I should just start my own business myself and make it super reputable and ethical, and even post my prices. But, I had a couple of HUGE problems: 1) I didn’t have any money for capital or overhead costs, and 2) I had a bad credit score and was turned down for a business loan. I remember crying and crying. I would have to wait on my dream of owning my own skin care business. I kept forging ahead, looking at possible spaces for the business, even though I had no money to pay for it. It somehow game me hope. I kept telling my friends at my corporate job that someday I was going to start my own business and kiss this one goodbye. I’m sure they thought I was just all talk. A lot of people had left the corporate world, only to return a few years later when their business venture failed.
After a few years and a move to the Eastside, one of my favorite laser sales reps contacted me and said there was a doctor close to where I lived with an Alma Laser (the best laser), with no one to run it. I contacted the doctor and we had similar business ideas. I loved his space and decided to rent a room, and rent his laser. I was ecstatic!!! I quickly worked in the background on website info, marketing, etc. I did everything myself since I had no money. I was still working my corporate job, but was able to open Ellis Esthetics in July of 2016. During the week, I would work 7am-330pm at my corporate job, then 5pm-9pm at Ellis Esthetics. On Saturday and Sunday, I would work very long days at my business. It was so exciting, I didn’t even notice the exhaustion. I tried to treat each client like they were my only client. Over the next 6 months, I
grew the business. Every penny I made went right back in to overhead costs. I grew my clientele until my books were full, and I didn’t need to work at my corporate job anymore. One of the best days in my life was the day I quit that job. I loved the people I worked with, but hated the stress.
The next couple of years, I really focused on growing the business. I went a little overboard and was so busy, I had no time to even hire someone to help me. I kept thinking it would slow down, but it didn’t. In the first year, I only had 1 day off. Eventually, I was able to hire some amazing estheticians, Sheerin and Shana, to help me along the way. I love collaborating with them and together we make a strong, supportive team.
Today, Ellis Esthetics is doing very well and we even survived the pandemic. Our mission is to help people with their self esteem. We always ask why the client came in and what they would like to change…instead of giving them a laundry list of items they should do for a hefty price. If we don’t have the right treatment for them but know what will work, we help them try to find it.
We are constantly researching and trialing new equipment to see what would be a good fit with our practice. One of the things we have found is that you need to actually try these treatments on real people. They can show you all the before and after photos and literature on the laser or
device…but until we actually experience it on our own skin, see the downtime, and hopefully see some benefits…we are very skeptical. We love our clients so much and look forward to seeing them during each treatment. It’s an awesome business and helping people feel better about themselves is unbeatable. There is no greater feeling!