By PHYL NEWBECK
In some ways, Rachel Ahari is a throwback to the olden days of Vermont, living above her first-floor Shelburne business.
Her business, however, is anything but old school: Ahari is a licensed and certified master aesthetician whose be. Skin Clinic offers natural skin care products and services for patients of all ages.
After finishing the business management program at the University of Northern Florida, Ahari spent a year and a half in Vermont as part of the management team at a spa, but wasn’t satisfied.
“I didn’t feel as fulfilled as I thought I would,” she said. “I watched the other professionals interact with their clients and build relationships with them and I thought that was incredible.”
At a conference in Washington D.C., Ahari met a mentor who helped her decide to become an aesthetician so she could be the one providing cosmetic skin care treatments and services. Vermont only requires aestheticians to have 600 hours of training, but after finishing her Vermont-based education in 2011, Ahari enrolled in a Massachusetts program for an additional 1,200 hours of training.
Ahari began by working for a Massachusetts dermatologist before being recruited by a plastic surgeon in Portsmouth, N.H. “I fell in love with skin,” she said, “but I was working with skin care lines that didn’t seem like the right approach because of the chemicals, so I began to research more natural products.”
In October of 2014 she opened be. Skin Clinic in Shelburne Village. She lived with her sister for a year before moving into the upstairs quarters. “It’s a pretty great commute,” she said. “I really love the space.”
A year ago, Ahari opened a second location in Stowe which gets more tourist traffic; the Shelburne clinic has mostly local customers, many of whom come back regularly.
“Most people come for education,” she said. “I get teenagers with acne or older people with pre-cancerous skin growths who need to learn the right way to treat their conditions. A lot of people don’t know what to do with their skin.”
Ahari carries a line of organic products that is also available online. Many people come in just to shop. Ahari has three employees working in both Shelburne and Stowe and is seeking another aesthetician for Stowe.
Meanwhile, her customers range in age from 11 to 92. She performs deep cleanses for those with acne, and natural peels or microderms for those with sun damage. Other clients come in for an organic facial.
Ahari said she chose the unconventional name “be. Skin Clinic” because the word “be” makes her feel grounded. “I was somebody who suffered from not-so-great skin growing up and it affected my confidence,” she said. “Skin is what people see first so it’s easy for someone with skin problems to take them personally.”
Ahari said she is happy to bring a measure of confidence to those who might be self-conscious about their skin. “I feel blessed because people look so happy and feel so good after a treatment and that just melts my heart,” she said. “I can give people greater understanding and it makes me feel good when someone tells me they think of me whenever they put on sunscreen.”