Bloom Sits Down with KINDri organic products creator, Robin McDonald

We sat down with Robin McDonald, to discuss her KINDri organic products and Beauty Highway website.  Here’s what she had to say!
Robin McDonald

Robin McDonald

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into this business?

My poor parents! I tried college (too many times to remember those loans) and, this is true, finally yielded to the passion and signed up for beauty school while working nights as a lounge singer in Las Vegas.  I started out sharing a room at a salon.  My friend, Lisa and I split the days and started to build little by little.  When I was offered a job in LA at Ole Henriksen, I jumped at the chance and Lisa took over our business in Las Vegas. After a couple of decades at Ole’s, I took some time off to work on my own and to develop an organic skin care line, KINDri.

What attracted you to the beauty industry?
I have always been drawn to beauty.  As soon as I was tall enough to lock the bathroom door, I started “blonding” my head with a tall comb submerged in a glass of Hydrogen Peroxide which,  of course, once applied to the hair and combed through, yielded this horrible orange hue! And, unbelievably,  I sported that look proudly through high school! I’d spend my allowance (pittance!) on beauty mags and skin care products that I just loved to line up on my dresser, rarely taking them out of their boxes.  So, it was a rocky, weird beginning.
What is your top skin care “rule”?
SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN – always opt for cruelty free, but it is absolutely paramount!
How do you guide your clients to the right services or products for them?
Guiding clients to the right services starts in the room.  A good mag lamp and a conversation about what most bothers them is key.  You want to address their immediate concerns, so they know that you’ve listened.  Then, make your service recommendations.  If you feel the need to change up what they’ve asked for, you need to be able to tell them why in language that they can understand. Product wise, it may sound “old school”, but I still believe that one product isn’t going to be perfect for everyone.
In this industry, creativity is just as important as being business savvy.  What skills or tools are most important to your professional career?
I try to get samples and read everything there is about those that interests me.  I love a company with a great story also, like emerginC that features Green Initiatives.  In the beauty world, we have a real responsibility to opt for and guide our clients toward products that strive to implement environmentally  friendly practices.
If you could work with any client/brand/influential icon, who would it be and why?
You know, I fell into a fast paced, celebrity driven environment, which has it own stress. But, I am lucky to still have the clients I’ve had for almost 30 years. Charlize Theron is indisputably the most beautiful woman in the world and she has been loyal to me for 20 of those years. Alfre Woodard, is another fantastic client.  But, it’s those secretaries and nurses,  the working’ girls, just like me, that save their money and show up every month for their facials that  will keep you going – so treat everyone like the super rockstar client that they are!
What advice do you have for current beauty/esthetics students that will soon enter the workforce?
It’s important to have a really good grasp on the anatomy and physiology of skin.  This is true, I always keep my Milady book from 1986 in the room — to this day! You never know when you might have to reach for it to answer a question! And again, develop a language that clients can understand when explaining what’s going on with their skin.
Learn what goes into product. A cosmetic ingredient dictionary is also great to add to your private “library” in the room. Creative mixing and matching products, specially masques, will keep the treatment fresh for returning clients.
Extraction is a skill that you can only really hone the more you do it.  But, if you can master it, it may be the reason certain clients return again and again.
Great equipment, kept current and working! It’s no good if you have an LED panel and it’s not working that day your LED client arrives.  There are a lot of hand held modalities that aren’t very expensive that can really  add to your treatment.
I believe it’s also mportant to develop a relationship with a good dermatologist.  My guy is Dr. Brian Dubow in Los Angeles and he’s shared a lot of valuable information as well as clients with me over the years.
Above all, when you’re first starting out and beyond, confidence is king.  Once you score that job, know that you worked hard and wouldn’t be there if you hadn’t! Form an alliance with co-workers.
Take it slow. Practice on friends. Keep your heart open – doors will open.

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