For Lakeisha Dale, beauty treatments are synonymous with luxury. “[At a salon], you should feel like a millionaire, like a king or a queen,” she says. And as the founder of private facial studio, Melaskin, that’s precisely the experience she’s looking to foster — but with a key caveat: Her services are geared towards people of color.
Growing up, Dale never saw the women in her family treat themselves to facials. In fact, her own first facial experience occurred after college, when she was studying to be an esthetician. For her, that represented a major flaw in the industry: There was this glaring gap when it came to beauty services dedicated to women of color. “There’s this apprehension around going to get facials and skincare services from someone who doesn’t look like you,” she explains. “So [my studio] is about representation. It’s about creating safe spaces.”
Founded in November of 2019, Melaskin Studio was originally housed in the spare bedroom in Dale’s Harlem, New York apartment. But by the start of 2020, with her client list growing steadily by the day, she found the means to move into a full-scale private studio in Midtown — a life-long dream come true.
Naturally, the emergence of the pandemic stopped Dale’s business in its tracks. But she was quick to find smart, creative pivots: Utilizing Straight Talk by Tracfone, she spent the remainder of the year conducting virtual skin consultations and massage videos via video calls, biding her time until she could see her clients in person once more.
Watch the video above for a better look at how Dale got her business off the ground — and how she’s reconceptualizing skincare for people of color.