Kerry Benjamin’s passion for skin care is rooted in her own lifelong struggle with chronic eczema. After 13 years working in digital media for Silicon Valley heavyweights (think Microsoft), she decided to head south to Silicon Beach to launch Spa Benjamin, her private skin care oasis in Santa Monica. In short order, she built a following of prominent celebrities, editors, bloggers, and influencers who further established her credentials as a skilled esthetician. She has been an expert contributor to publications from Refinery29 to MindBodyGreen and was featured as a 2014 Los Angeles Woman Entrepreneur in Darling Magazine. Kerry recently launched her line of StackedSkincare, a unique approach to innovative skin therapy that includes microneedling, dermaplaning, SilkPeel Microdermabrasion, and peels. She continues to work on developing new and creative ways to educate consumers on how to care for their specific skin concerns, and is a contributor to the National Eczema Association to support research and awareness for fellow eczema sufferers.
Did your former career prepare you for running your own business? Absolutely. I spent almost 14 years in the digital media business working for Microsoft and DoubleClick (a Google company) for the majority of my tenure. I had the opportunity to develop keen business skills working for some of the top global sales organizations in the world. I am incredibly efficient as a result of my business background and have a solid understanding of software, sales, marketing, branding, and business and product development.
What makes you different from your competition? One, I offer a unique and highly effective approach to skincare. I developed StackedSkincare, a combination of five advanced treatments all designed to work together to effect lasting change in the skin. Each client has a custom treatment based on their skin type and concerns. Two, environment and experience. My clients enjoy a beautiful private setting in a very relaxed atmosphere, and when they are in the spa, it is their time with me and it’s all about them. I converted my garage into a custom spa with rich dark hickory wood floors, high pitched ceiling, a beautiful stone wall, custom cabinetry and bathroom, and two sets of large windowed french doors that overlook a blue salt water pool surrounded by bamboo-like trees. The setting is very serene, private, and elegant.
How did you fund your dream? I self-funded my business.
How do you organize your day to best optimize your time? Describe a day in your life. Software! I automate everything and use all cloud-based software to manage my entire business and life.
What factors have most contributed to your success in business and in life? I was a former NCAA gymnast, and I attribute a lot of my success in life to my athletic training. Tenacity, hard work, determination, and fearlessness are all attributes that I gained while training and those are things that become a part of you forever.
I gave up ____ to pursue my dream: I gave up feeling bad about myself to pursue my dream. I was stuck trying to find a job in a career that did not make me happy any longer. Once I was able to relinquish the fear of letting go of something I no longer wanted in order to pursue my own dreams, I allowed things to work out and become successful in so many other ways.
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
I am most proud of… Being able to help my clients look and feel great about their skin and themselves. This makes my job hugely satisfying. I’ve truly changed people’s lives by helping them heal their skin. I became an esthetician because I have chronic and severe eczema. My whole life, I have had to manage my skin on a daily basis. My struggles led me to learn more about my condition, and ultimately to a second career. I love what I do because I know how difficult it is to not love the skin you’re in.
My favorite getaway is... I’m a world traveler, and the Southern Hemisphere is my favorite. I love the food, the vibe, the culture, and the people. Some of my favorite places are Bali, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Peru. For quick weekend getaways, my husband and I will hop down to Laguna Beach a few times a year.
My favorite scent is… I’ve been wearing Issey Miyake perfume for as long as I can remember. It’s my favorite – a light, clean, and crisp scent that isn’t overpowering.
My favorite TV show or movie is… I don’t really have one, but I love to watch a good drama and once I’m hooked, I am a true binge watcher!
I try to achieve mindfulness by… Watching sunsets over the ocean and taking walks with my dog help to quiet my inner mind and enjoy the present.
My favorite author or non-business book is… I don’t read no- business books. I’d rather read for information, and when I’m looking to get into a story, I prefer to watch it.
One talent I wish I had is… Musical! I’d love to be able to play an instrument or sing.
A woman who inspires me is… My mother.
My favorite quote is… The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. – Amelia Earhart
Tell us what LIVING THE DREAM means to you: Being able to do what I want when I want!
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Image: [Sam Fielding]