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18th October. Los Angeles, CA. Skin Care Guru to the stars Sonya Dakar at her salon.
GCI: What first inspired you to found your own skin care brand in 1971 and later, in 1984, the Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic?
Sonya Dakar: When I started treating skin in 1971, there were no products available to achieve the results I was looking to give my clients. All skin care products on the markets were basic, highly-scented and—in my opinion—out-dated. I offered “fitness facials,” not foofy ones. They work to get your skin in shape, like a workout does for your body. And so with the help of my husband, I started to develop products in our kitchen that would address the skin concerns of my clients. These products worked to address issues that ranged from acne to aging, sun damage, irritation and everything in between. I was a mother of four at the time, as well, so work was always part-time for me. I wanted to be a hands-on mother, so I worked from a guest house my husband converted into a two-room clinic for me. In 1984, when my children were in college and high school, I decided that it was time for me to venture out and begin to work full time. This is when I opened my first Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic in L.A.
GCI: How has your background as a clinical esthetician helped you during your career?
Sonya Dakar: I trained in Israel where estheticians are professionals who deliver similar results to doctors. This has helped, because I take the same approach in my business in the U.S. It snowballed from there; I was the first person to give clients what they wanted—results!
GCI: How is your company a family business?
Sonya Dakar: My husband and I and so proud to have all of our four children involved in the business. My husband’s in the head of R&D. My eldest son, Yigal Dakar, is vice president of sales and marketing. My son, Nate Dakar, is president of our skin care company. My daughter, Mimi, is vice president of public relations, and my daughter Donna is vice president of education. We always joke that I am now waiting for my grandchildren to get a little older and join the team.
GCI: What have been major milestones of achievement during your career?
Sonya Dakar: Wow, looking back I have to say… working with my entire family—that is my number one. Since I never asked my children to join the business, they have each done it on their own. Professionally, I have had a lot of wonderful press and always, the ones that stand out in my head are Skin Inc. magazine spa mentor awards, the Allure’s Editor’s Choice Award, Day Spa’s Editor’s Choice Award and wonderful spreads and profiles in various publications. I am not yet the huge brand that advertises, and so all these awards and press mean the world to me. I started at a very humble place, and am still very grateful for who I am and excited for where I will go.
GCI: What have been some of the challenges you have overcome professionally?
Sonya Dakar: I think one of my greatest challenges is always time management. There is so much I want to develop and achieve. Sometimes I need to remember that it is one step at a time.