The SugarShow, S2, Ep. 4: Mindfully Pricing and Creating Your Menu with special guest Joelle Lee


Welcome back to episode 4 of The SugarShow. We are here with Joelle Lee to share her story and share some nuggets of wisdom on mindfully creating and pricing your menu.

Joelle Lee is an esthetician, previously a medical esthetician. She proceeded to specialize in laser treatments with a focus in people of color. One of her first clients happened to be Michelle Obama! This was long before anything was attached to her. All of the sudden, her client was now the first lady. She moved to D.C. to follow her client and took the opportunity to recreate and launch her line.

While momentum was building, she wasn’t happy with the product line 7 years later. Life took off as she began to grow her family. It was at that moment she let the products go and refocused on clients. Shortly after that change, she was able to start teaching and consulting other estheticians.

This led to publishing her first book! And she discovered traveling with her book, teaching other estheticians, and focusing on education was her true passion. She spends her time building courses, online classes, and books to shape and educate future estheticians!

Joelle maxed herself out with every step of her journey. She spent ten years honoring that treatment room and learning everything she could. If you do something for a decade, you outgrow that business. You also obtain a lot of knowledge that is valuable to share.

The truth is, many of us estheticians graduate with a skillset in the field, but not in the business. It is a common feeling to show up and realize you don’t know what you need to know to run a business alone. Allow yourself time to make mistakes, grow your tools, learn from your peers, and grow during that time. You will be a much better teacher later on once you have made mistakes!

We are going to talk about the big picture when it comes to the pricing and treatment menu. How can a sugaring professional go about valuing themselves.

First step is examining how much revenue you want or need to make. You have to set that amount. This will act as a guide for all of the rest of your decisions such as location, pricing, and target market.

We should streamline pricing. Sometimes, the language that is used and how the materials are presented are aimed at those of us in the business--not our target audience. This means simplifying, packaging, and keeping the client in mind.

When I say pricing by time, not package, I do not mean charging an hourly rate. I mean starting with that revenue number and working backwards. Imagine, you want to only work 4 days and you have so many hours per day and that all has to equal that revenue number. You will then be able to break that down by hour and know what your minimum package should be to meet your monetary goals.

If you want to charge a premium, then you need to bring the value for the clients. That means you can’t price yourself how everyone else prices themselves. You don’t know what is included in their services. You only know what it costs you to perform your services.

Also a key point, your studio needs to be located in an area that can afford you. The location depicts what the market can support. If you want to make $150k per year, then you can’t put your studio in an area where the median income is $40k. They can’t afford you! Instead, look at the top five wealthiest zip codes and pick from there. People will travel to you in those areas. They will feel like they are going to a safe and quality salon/studio rather than going to the other parts of town. Position yourself for what you want.

So the next hot topic--discounts. How do you stimulate business without discounts? The answer is specials! In this industry, we tend to make specials with current services. If you are constantly running specials, as a consumer, I assume the regular cost is not supportive of the value. But, if you make a special that is season themed, or offering something that is not typically a service and is limited time, I no longer associate that with your current menu. Instead, I see it as added value as a client.

Another great way to run a special is when you are trying something new. You need practice and experience, so let it be a special while you learn. Once you finish learning, take away the special.

Also, use your retail! Add in a scrub or lotion with the special. Once they try those things, they are more likely to return and buy it at full price. 


A mistake we make as estheticians is assume what money our clients have. We assume they can’t afford it. But listen to this--if you book an appointment, get in your car, and come to your studio, they are ready to buy. If they see value in your services, they will buy. You shouldn’t customize your menu to a market that isn’t able to support you.

Now is the time to analyze what you are doing and where you are going. What is it that you deserve? Take a moment to check out the links in the show notes. One of them is around pricing and is a must watch. Joelle has some great resources so don’t miss out!

Link to Free Webinar: Pricing by Time Not Service


A highly respected skin care expert, educator and celebrity esthetician, JoElle Lee is the author of "Esthetician on a Mission, Business Building Workbook" and co-author of "Multicultural Skin Treatments: Learn How to Effectively Treat Skin of Color Using Chemical Peels and Laser Treatments," which has become a trusted guide for those treating diverse client populations.

In addition to being featured in numerous national consumer publications and a guest on radio programs around the country, JoElle is recognized for being the former personal esthetician to First Lady Michelle Obama during her time in the White House.

JoElle specializes in No Downtime Chemical Peel Treatments, Customized Corrective Facial Treatments, and a wide range of Laser Treatments when treating skin of color. JoElle feels there is a gap in basic esthetic training and education when in comes to treating clients of color.

She has dedicated her career to creating more innnovative treatment methods that address the most common skin conditions of these clients that have proven to deliver long-lasting results without the worry of complications and downtime. 

JoElle takes a natural "inside out" integrative approach by combining non-invasive treatments and products without harmful chemicals to achieve healthy beautiful skin and "Beautiful Skin Begins Within" is the premise that JoElle Lee's treatments and methods are founded.

JoElle also feels that there is a gap in basic esthetics training when preparing estheticians to work in the skincare industry, especially for those wanting to have their own business.

Over the years, JoElle has helped many estheticians and small businesses in the industry to solve complex problems, and increase their bottom lines. With her straight forward, no-nonsense approach JoElle's philosophy is to first, uncover the learned negative beliefs or negative thinking that has created a barrier or obstacle in your business and tear that wall down.  Followed by uncovering the hidden assets, under performing activities, and undervalued possibilities of your business. 

JoElle teaches effective and more profitable marketing strategies and how to standout from the competition.  Many of her ideas and strategies have been implemented and led to not only increase profits but a more diverse loyal clientele. 

JoElle's path to becoming an esthetician was inspired by another professional in the field. As someone who always had a passion for beauty and a desire to serve others, she recognized that a career in esthetics would allow her to marry both of her passions.

More than 20 years later, that hunch proved correct. Today, JoElle can be found conducting personalized skin care consultations, serving as keynote speaker at industry events, teaching classes around the country on the topic of multicultural skin, and sharing her expertise via her webinars, online courses and social media channels.


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