How SCORE helped. 

Vanity Haus esthetics center opened March 1 in Bethlehem, PA

Mariana Franco traded 13 years of teaching English language arts to kindergarten through eighth-grade students for a new career that paved the way for her to become her own boss.

Franco opened Vanity Haus, an esthetics center featuring full-body waxing, facials, skin therapy, lash extensions, lifts, and tints at 701 W. Union Boulevard in Bethlehem on March 1. The entrepreneurial move followed her schooling, subsequent licensing as a skin care esthetician and work in the field for the last seven years.

“The reason I went into esthetics was to one day be my own boss,” Franco said. “I want to show my daughter that girls can do it too. You can be strong. You can have a business.”

The transition from esthetics employee to business owner was smoother with support from SCORE Bucks County certified mentors Vincent Prinzi and Krishna Akella. Franco began meeting her mentors in summer 2020. Prinzi and Akella offered guidance on startup and operating costs, required licensure, business location and lease agreement review, fit-out of the space, revenue and more.

“Vincent and Krishna have been godsends to me,” Franco said, noting that her mentors continue to assist as her business grows. “They gave me a little bit of homework to do. I was always working on the business before the business was even born.”

SCORE mentors shared insight on construction work needed to convert typical retail spaces to an esthetics center. In the end, Franco lucked out by leasing a former doctor’s office, which required only “basic cosmetic work,” some pink paint and flooring to “make it look pretty and girly.” Her space features a large lobby, two bathrooms, three treatment suites, an office and storage space. 

Franco had hoped to open in September 2020 to culminate her 40th birthday and her daughter starting kindergarten. She opted to open six months later due to the pandemic.

The later opening was worth the wait. Franco has been busy and expects to hire a skin therapist to provide in-demand client services, including body waxing, lash lifts, and intensive facials for the bikini area.

Offering top-notch service is Franco’s primary goal.

“Customers always feel like ‘I came in here kind of crummy, now I feel like a million bucks walking out of here,’” Franco said. “I feel like I did my duty by making you feel beautiful.”

The entrepreneur’s positivity made mentoring that much simpler.

“It makes a mentor’s job much easier when the client is open-minded, driven and enthusiastic,” her SCORE mentors said. “We all make mistakes along the way, but if we think of mistakes as discovery, we tend to keep a positive attitude. That is exactly the attitude our client had during the entire process.”

SCORE provides free mentoring services for every step of the business journey, from startup and beyond.

Photography courtesy of Emily Roebuck.

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