I recently caught up with Malia Sanchez, the owner of the leading Esthetician School in Honolulu, Makana Academy Esthetics and Wellness. After growing up in the industry, as her mom was a cosmetologist and her aunt owning a salon, it was only natural for Malia to follow in their footsteps. With years of being an Esthetician, and then trainer for various skin care companies, Malia found her passion in teaching and training. In 2007, she opened Makana Academy Esthetics and Wellness, which is the only nationally accredited Esthetician school in Hawaii.

After celebrating 10 years of business, she continues to develop the most reputable esthetics school here on the island. Read on to find out more on the making of an Esthetician.

How long have you been in the industry?

Malia: I’ve been in the industry for over 24 years.

What is your role at the academy?

Malia: I’m the Director of Education. I develop the curriculum, hire staff, oversee facility, training and of course, students.

What type of credentials does an esthetic applicant need to have before considering applying to Makana?

Malia: You need to have a HS diploma or GED, 16 years old and be a U.S. Citizen.

What type of curriculum should be expected in an esthetic course?

Malia: We have 3 levels. Level 1 is where you learn about the skin, key active ingredients, chemistry and your hands-on in the classroom actually mixing ingredients. Level 2 is the introduction of facials. You get to learn basic facial techniques and partner up with your classmate to practice and learn all the different techniques. Level 3 is independent. You will be given actual clients to work on. We evaluate from start to finish, along with checkpoints. At the end, the client is given a survey on their treatment.

What is a typical class size?

Malia: We have no more than 10 students per class.

Have you noticed more demand for estheticians in recent years?

Malia: Absolutely. Before getting a facial was more of a luxury where you would get one for your birthday or anniversary. Now, people are wanting to improve their skin! It’s a necessity!

Have you noticed your graduates stay here in Hawaii or move off island to work in the field?

Malia: I see both! We have locals and then some military wives.

How many hours does a student need to complete before graduation?

Malia: 19 weeks and 600 hours.

After graduation, what’s next? Do they start applying for jobs?

Malia: Yes, they apply immediately. The first thing I tell them to do is to go to DCCA and apply for a work permit. I don’t guarantee work, but it’s a tight-knit industry, so I know many of the Dr.’s and MedSpa’s that I can put in a good word in if they are extremely hard workers.

Besides the hours and necessary licensing, what else does a hopeful Esthetician need to make it in this industry?

Malia: Emotional connections. You must be emotionally connected to your clients if you want to be successful. Your clients will keep coming back to you and refer their friends to you. This will keep you continuously booked. You must nurture your clients.

Can you imagine working in any other industry?

Malia: It’s so natural for me to be a coach! My relationships with my students continue beyond school. I could definitely see myself being a life coach!

If you’re interested in becoming an esthetician, please visit their website at makanaacademy.com