When Lynn Heublein applied for grad school at Stanford University, the Seattle native was working in the brand management program at Proctor & Gamble and knew she wanted a career in business management. After graduating from Stanford with a master’s in business administration, a career in tech wasn’t exactly what Heublein pictured herself pursuing, but that’s exactly where she landed.
Living in Silicon Valley during the Dot-Com boom, Heublein made a name for herself. After working for two software and gaming companies, she decided to start her own business, and in 1994 she co-founded her first company.
Heublein’s company addressed the online gaming market, but she said the timing wasn’t quite right. “We were a bit too early,” Heublein said, “so we ended up selling our company to another firm.”
Despite selling the business, Heublein stayed on with the company for several years as president and chief operating officer before eventually taking what she described as a “self-imposed sabbatical.”
That’s when she met Dr. Michael Dean Vistnes.
Heublein, who was a patient of his at the time, learned that Vistnes wanted to make the skincare services he offered in his office more broadly available, and she saw an opportunity.
Heublein partnered with Vistnes in 2002 to launch SkinSpirit, and the duo opened their first location in Palo Alto, California, one year later. Today, SkinSpirit has locations across the Bay Area, and has even established a strong presence in the Pacific Northwest, with popular locations in Bellevue, Redmond, and Seattle.
SkinSpirt has experienced substantial growth over the years, and growth continues to be the company’s focus.
“In the beginning, I wore a lot of hats because I would be the finance person, and the marketing person, and the HR person, and the facilities person,” she said. “Now, we’ve grown up and have designated players in all those key roles, so I spend most of my time really working on creating a vision and a path for growth for the company.”
Heublein said growth encompasses everything from new clinics and expansion of existing clinics, to bringing on new products and services, and recruiting. Heublein said SkinSpirit always is on the hunt for great talent.
“Our philosophy is we really want to attract the best, hire the best, and then train them and make them even better so that clients have extreme confidence that when they come to SkinSpirit, no matter who they see they’re going to meet someone highly qualified and very well trained in the products and procedures that they do,” she said.
Heublein is especially proud of the opportunities the company creates for women.
“I’m super-proud that we have empowered a lot of women to really have great jobs where they make good money and they can take care of themselves.”
“I’m super-proud that we have empowered a lot of women to really have great jobs where they make good money and they can take care of themselves in a way that gives them balance,” Heublein said. “We have a lot of heads of households working for us, so I’m really proud of that.”
As Heublein looks to the future of SkinSpirit, she is excited to continue the company on its path of growth and is grateful for the lessons she’s learned along the way. Here are three that have stuck with her:
Anticipate the Unexpected
“I’ve founded two companies, and I’ve worked for a Fortune 500 company … I’ve had a really great breadth of experience in different areas, and one thing that I’ve always seen and that I always advise all entrepreneurs is that you really should always anticipate that something unexpected is probably going to happen.”
Have a Clear Value Proposition
“I’m an angel investor in some companies. I do investments for myself personally, and I hear tons and tons of pitches for companies. One of the things that I have found is that if somebody has a hard time explaining how you’re going to make money or it’s a complicated business model and it looks like it’s something that you can’t really explain clearly how you’re going to make money, I kind of shy away from those kinds of ideas or projects because I find that they can be very time consuming. If you don’t have a clear vision of how you’re going to accomplish something, I think it’s very difficult to succeed.”
People are a Company’s Number One Asset
“If you really recognize that your employees and your clients are your huge asset and you treat them that way, I don’t think you get into trouble the way, say, United Airlines got in trouble (earlier this year). And unfortunately, even though a lot of people give a lot of lip service to customer service, I don’t think that many people really do it that well. What I find (with) our clients is they’re so blown away that we actually do it well that they just want to tell people about us. So, if you do a good job, people are going to talk about you. And that’s the way to win in this economy.”
About the CEO
The new SkinSpirit app!
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Best piece of advice:
“Build your network, talk to a lot of people, learn new ideas, and learn what’s going on. So many opportunities come from just talking to people.”
Boards She’s Involved In:
The Human Fund, SkinSpirit, and Wink Robotics. “And I’m on my son’s school district’s fundraising board.”
Favorite TV Show:
Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire
Vendemmia in Seattle
Best Piece of Skincare Advice:
Start early, and use sunscreen. “It’s a lot easier to slow down the aging process than turn it back.”