A Natural Teacher
Science has always been one of my strengths, and my first career was as a biology teacher. In addition to science, I also have a degree in educational psychology. These two subjects have helped me greatly in what I do now, which is teach skincare. I have done this for the past 25 years. It's the thing I love best—it's my passion.
Pevonias new packaging.
My husband, Philippe, and I began in New York City as distributors of a French skincare line, which we distributed for eight to 10 years before launching our own skincare line. We then moved to Daytona Beach, FL, where we have been located ever since. It has been 14 years, and the Pevonia line has flourished tremendously.
Addressing a NeedI believe that the reason for Pevonia's success is that we recognized the needs of estheticians from the very beginning. We listened to what they wanted—to use products that helped them achieve immediate results. Estheticians wanted to see improvement on the client's skin when the treatment concluded.
The very first product Pevonia developed was a basic must-use cream that estheticians applied in every massage and face treatment they performed. It was a massage cream—slightly oily, so that the esthetician's fingers could glide across the skin and provide a wonderful experience to the client. But not just any cream would do. Estheticians always had the challenge that when they used a massage product containing oil on a client with oily skin, the client left feeling uncomfortable—having oily skin, they did not like the oily feeling left on their skin. Pevonia Micro-Emulsion Massage Cream was the most successful ever and still is, because it answered the esthetician's need: In choosing a massage cream to be used on all skin types including oily skin, what do we use? After extensive research, our chemists developed a formula that was oily yet simultaneously water-soluble so that at the conclusion of the massage, instead of wiping away excess product, the formula could be rendered hydrosoluble by adding water—allowing all vitamins and nutrients to remain on the skin. The end result being that the skin feels non-greasy yet nourished and hydrated. Every product that we have developed since has been a professional product from conception to completion.
Right now we're in the last phase of unveiling Pevonia's new phenomenal packaging for all of our products, some of which in the last year-and-a-half have been restudied, updated to include the latest technologies, and reformulated. Specifically, I have reformulated the men's line—and it's going to be absolutely magnificent. I have also spent time creating a professional treatment just for men. Our suncare line has also been reformulated, and we have a brand-new caviar line launching early this year as well as a home-care program consisting of four retail products. I am convinced that these new launches and reformulations will be something our spa partners will be proud of since they themselves have provided valuable input that we have incorporated into the products.
Evolving the IndustryWhen developing new ideas, I always think treatment first. Everything else follows. That's why Pevonia is a professional and comprehensive line. My constant goal is to develop wonderful body and facial treatments with a consistent outcome. When a therapist uses Pevonia, she knows that the promised results are going to be delivered, and the client will walk away absolutely satisfied.
When I started in this industry back in 1981, skincare was not well-known in the United States. My goal was to establish skincare as a science. A facial back then was basically just an application process. Estheticians were unaware of the science behind the products they were using—what the ingredients were and how they worked synergistically to make the skin better.
A client enjoys a Pevonia body treatment using a Cosmopro Vichy shower at the Hawk's Cay Indies Spa in the Florida Keys.
I envisioned the need for education and began to teach. I created techniques, held classes, and little by little, the company grew. Science and education were the foundation of our company, and this is still true today. I took my knowledge of science and applied it to skincare. This has led to the Sylvie Hennessy Academy of Esthetics & Spa Therapies, founded in 1991, now with locations in Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and 12 locations in the U.S. The Academy offers post-graduate classes on such topics as applicable science, techniques, spa treatments, and business skills as well as product knowledge.
Taking it ForwardThis is a magnificent industry. I live it, and I'm so proud of its achievements. We have really come a long way—and we still have great vision for its future potential. Everyone in the industry has made a general effort to move it forward. And because of this, I love our competition. I truly do. I'm really grateful, because everyone works hard to improve the spa industry, and that's why we've all progressed to end up where we are today. There's been an evolution of salons into day spas, and even now all types of spas are expanding and progressing.
The next big growth area in the industry, I believe, is with medical spas. This is one of the reasons I created Medicalia Skincare, which was launched two years ago. Doctors are now learning about esthetics and applying it to their medical knowledge to complement their procedures. Still, they need guidance from professional skincare companies because they do not have the skincare experience or the customer service approach spa-goers demand today. And more importantly, they require the healing hands of well-trained, highly educated, skilled skincare professionals in order to bring forth excellent medical/surgical results.
The number one factor that has helped the industry grow has been the therapists. I would really like to praise their efforts because they are absolutely wonderful. They do not miss an opportunity to learn something new or to participate in classes and education in order to give the client superior service and to capture the science of their business. They are so well educated—they understand exactly what they're doing. Without them, the skincare industry would be absolutely nothing. —Sylvie Hennessy
Sylvie Hennessy is the creator and founder of the Pevonia and Medicalia skincare lines and is co-owner with her husband, Philippe, of CosmoproGroup, which includes Pevonia Botanica, Medicalia Skincare, Cosmopro Equipment, Interdesign Spa Consulting Group, Spalasium, Flora-Wax, and CosmoproShop. For information, call (800) PEVONIA or visit www.pevonia.com.