Please tell us about yourself

Anu Varma didn’t grow up dreaming of a career in the esthetics industry. She came to Blanche Macdonald because she thought it would be a solid investment for the future. Instead, what she learnt at Vancouver’s top Esthetics School ignited a passion, changed her life and led to a coveted position as Chanel’s Skincare Expert across British Columbia.

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“I often get asked where I went to school,” she smiles. “As soon as I say Blanche Macdonald, it’s like, ‘Aaah’. Everybody knows Blanche Macdonald. It’s a well-respected Esthetics School and has a really good reputation.

“As a single parent, financial independence is of great importance to me. And my investment in the Esthetics Program at Blanche Macdonald has allowed me to achieve that. I was always taken care of, first by my parents and then by my husband while we were married. I never had to worry about paying bills until my separation. Prior to my divorce, I consulted with a lawyer, which is a service provided by the provincial government. She blatantly said that I would have to rely on spousal support because I was not going to be able to support my daughter and myself. The first thought that crossed my mind at that time was, ‘Just watch me’.”

How is the experience being an esthetician?

There’s far more to Anu’s success than just financial rewards. As a Skincare Specialist for Chanel, she has the honour of being part of the team for arguably the most famous luxury goods brand on the planet. And on top of that, she loves every minute of what she’s doing.

“The ongoing satisfaction that I get from my job is incredible,” she explains. “Knowing clients are having a great experience is so important to me. It doesn’t feel like work. I’m very proud to be a part of the Chanel team that’s always welcoming and caring for each other.”

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

Anu doesn’t believe she’s a natural born esthetician. Her first love was fashion and she managed a chain of retail clothing stores for nine years. Her family became her priority once she married, and during that time she worked part time in the cosmetics department at London Drugs. It was that entry into the beauty industry that first brought Blanche Macdonald to Anu’s attention.

“Initially my interest was in studying makeup artistry,” she explains. “My brother, who is a hairdresser, encouraged me to do the esthetics program. He was familiar with Blanche Macdonald and knew that there were so many opportunities for esthetics graduates. He offered me a room to rent where I could do treatments. It sounded like a good plan.

“I visited other esthetics schools but Blanche Macdonald stood out straight away; both the ambience and the friendly and knowledgeable staff.”

That initial optimism about coming to Blanche Macdonald was replaced by unbridled enthusiasm once Anu started learning.

“I loved the program and really applied myself. I was so driven, so energized. I just loved it. Debbie Nickel was always around and so helpful. As women we should be supportive and encourage strength and independence in each other. Any concerns we had were always addressed. It was a lovely place to learn.

“As we progressed into the skin module, I became fascinated with the anatomy and physiology of skin. At that point I knew that I wanted a career in medical esthetics.”

It was not long after graduation that desire became reality.

What was your career path?

“Upon completion of my board exam, I was hired by a dermatologist. As a medical esthetician and laser technician, there was extensive ongoing training involved. To be able to treat skin at a deeper level and achieve results is amazing.

“Following my separation, I started working for another doctor, Dr. Mathew Mosher, as a part-time clinical esthetician and laser technician. As a single parent I knew I needed a second source of income, and I began searching. Thanks to a past connection I contacted the Chanel representative and an interview was scheduled. After a couple more interviews, I was hired as the Skincare Specialist for British Columbia.”

Anu provides an elite level of service across British Columbia’s Chanel counters, from Victoria to Kelowna, which carry skincare products.

“The clients who are booked for treatments enjoy a unique skincare experience. I’ve met some amazing women who have inspired me, and clients who say I’ve inspired them. I can honestly say that the level of gratification achieved is very rewarding.”

After almost a decade as a clinical esthetician and laser technician, Anu decided to focus completely on being a skincare specialist with Chanel. She’s also found the time to develop and pursue new passions and opportunities. She was certified as a yoga instructor in August 2010.

“When I graduated I didn’t realize the wide range of opportunities that would arise from the Esthetics Program,” she smiles. “The possibilities are endless with a program like the one at Blanche Macdonald.”