Q & A with Manon Pilon, International Director of Education for Derme&Co

Manon PilonHow many years have you been involved in the spa industry?

I've been involved in the spa and medical spa industry for the past 35 years.

What was the path that led you into the spa industry?

I started out working for a spa in Montreal as an esthetician. During my time there, I discovered my entrepreneurial side and my desire to one day have my own business. When the opportunity to buy the spa I was working for was offered to me, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. During my time as a spa owner, I went on to open several day spa franchises in Montreal and soon after founded a private esthetic school. Having met Nelly De Vuyst at early age, I not only carried the skincare line in my spas and school but also represented the brand internationally as an educator. After meeting my husband Amir, his savvy business sense pushed us to sell my businesses and open a distribution company. Since that day, we've expanded our business to make it a one-stop shop for spa and medical spa owners.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being in the spa industry?

Competition is fierce and ever growing, consumers are overwhelmed by the variety of products in the market each bringing forth their own claims and offering promises. This presents the continuous challenge not only to differentiate yourself but to educate these consumers in order to help them make the best decisions. The rewards are simple, once you've done your job; you've gained a loyal customer for life.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

It is difficult to narrow down one accomplishment. However, what I can say is that I’ve enjoyed sharing the knowledge I’ve accumulated over many years to all those who have devoted their lives to the spa and medical spa industry. Publishing two books has enabled me to reach a larger audience and has empowered and motivated me to continue exploring and researching the latest trends this industry has to offer and continue giving back.

Where do you think the industry is heading?

With a growing aging population, the spa industry is continuing to develop ways to integrate preventive medicine to complement existing spa services. From traditional spa treatments to wellness to esthetic medicine, the idea is to offer an array of complementary treatments in order to provide clients with an entire treatment plan. When sick, clients turn to their conventional physician to treat the problem. However, they tend to overlook the underlying causes of these problems. Therefore, the problems come back because of the omission to consider the person's full body characteristics and in most cases not simply look at the problem itself. It has been established that people have different body types that genetically predispose them to certain physical, emotional, and esthetic problems. In that sense, physicians and esthetic professionals need to change their ways when treating a client, by using a different approach that is both curative and most important of all: Preventive.

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?

My favorite skincare ingredient right now is salmon DNA. It essentially stimulates the DNA of the cells’ mitochondria to promote cellular activity. I love this ingredient because it's a multifunctional active ingredient treating a variety of skin concerns. From regenerating to ultra-hydrating, this ingredient is perfect for skin suffering from dehydration, wrinkles, laxity, and hyperpigmentation.

What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career?

Having been the international educator for both Nelly De Vuyst and Méthode Physiodermie skincare lines, I have had the opportunity to travel the world and meet some of the greatest, most influential people in this industry of whom I had the opportunity to work with and learn a lot from.

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?

At the risk of sounding cliché, I really can't imagine myself working in any other profession. I really believe this was my calling.

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?

With regards to the spa industry, my philosophy has always been to offer our clients more than skincare and to educate them in embracing a global-anti-aging approach. By that, I'm referring to prevention, meaning that a skincare regimen should be put in place before the first signs of aging. But more importantly, going beyond skincare, treating clients based on their body types in order to create treatment plans that are personalized and bring about measurable results.

How do you like to spend your time away from work?

The lack of leisure time really allows me to prioritize my time away from work. I spend as much of this time as possible with my family.

What are your three greatest priorities in life?

The three priorities in my life are family, education, and carrying though all of the projects I undertake.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

The best advice I’ve received is from Nelly de Vuyst, who told me 35 years ago to never let go of my passion and my dreams.