As we approach our one year anniversary of Plain Jane Skinbar, we've sat down for a conversation with our fearless leader Amberly Donnelly to discuss all things Plain Jane, business, balancing work and life and her favourite downtime hobbies (literally what downtime?)
Sitting down with Amberly took a lot of coordinating between hockey games, training new employees, and planning our first anniversary. I truly just think she was avoiding me and this interview, but I eventually wrangled her for 10 minutes, long enough to chat a little bit about what makes her tick.
As I began asking her questions, Amberly was so not into it but eventually got comfortable chatting, showing her natural affinity for conversation and true charisma that comes with every true businesswoman.
K: How did you get involved in the industry?
A: Have you not read our website?
K: Yes, can you just humour me here.
Amberly pauses here, groaning. She knows I know the answer to this.
K: Okay, I'll skip this question and get it from our website.
Our website really does sum it up so well, so I'll put it in here, and let her off the hook for this question.
As a child, Amberly was a sun worshiper that was never one to turn down a warm hug from the sun or the inviting embrace of a tanning bed. Upon reaching her early 20s, she started to notice the damage her external environment had already inflicted on her skin. This unfortunate realization kick-started a passion for skin health.
That enthusiasm led directly to a career in medical aesthetics, which allowed her the unique opportunity of gaining access to all of the lotions, potions, gadgets and gizmos the industry has to offer. However, as a busy young woman with a full calendar she was often overloaded with too many choices, most of which were too costly in terms of downtime and price to be effectively incorporated into her health and wellness routine.
Over the next decade, Amberly developed a simple routine of scientifically-proven facials combined with medical-grade skincare. Her method transformed her damaged skin into bright, vibrant and healthy skin. Knowing women in every neighbourhood would benefit from this kind of easy, straightforward routine, she created Plain Jane Skinbar to make the system accessible not only from a price perspective but also in terms of treatment time and downtime.
K: Why Plain Jane?
A: Like the name?
A: I think that the name means that it could be anybody. Plain Jane makes skin health simple and accessible to everyone. Looking after your skin health should be an ongoing part of your health and wellness routine just like going to the gym and looking after your physical health. The idea is for you to be able to see yourself in our brand. We try to feature people with all different skin types and goals and hope that people can relate to one of their skin journeys to help make them feel confident in what to expect in terms of results and the experience with us. Skin health isn’t just reserved for those in the know, everyone should feel comfortable and confident in their journey to healthy skin.
K: What challenges have you faced during the pandemic? What have been some positives?
A: Challenges in the pandemic...any service based business has struggled with this, but not being able to get out there and talk about it. Just getting the awareness out there. We couldn't get out there and meet with people and so it had to be strictly digital. It's a crowded space online, so it was challenging, but we were able to overcome it. One of the positives was that so many great people were expanding their talents and doing one thing but decided to get out there and do another. For us as a team to come together we have a really diverse background of people who have done really different and cool things who decided during the pandemic to go back to school and do something else, becoming laser technicians. That was one of the silver linings of the pandemic, bringing them to the industry through Plain Jane.
K: Yeah, totally. How do you balance being a businesswoman with everyday life?
A: I don't.
K: I beg to differ.
A: I send you a lot of emails.
A: I think it's all about compartmentalizing. There's no better way to get a task done than to ask a working mom to do it, because everything has a time slot. If you have a half hour to do something, whatever you have at the end of that half hour has to be good enough. Everything needs to get done and I have a certain amount of time to do it, and I'm hyperorganized at this point.
K: Hocus pocus show me your focus.
A: Hocus pocus show me your focus.
We're joking about a saying Amberly's son brought home from school that I've officially adopted into my everyday life.
K: Simple, accessible. What does this mean to you?
A: I think to me, this means everything that we've done has been based on who we're targeting our treatments to. There is a choice overload in the industry and I made it simple, more approachable and accessible, opening it up to people who always perceived the industry to be unaccessible not only because of the price point but also because of the downtime. Small things like there's always parking, we're curbside, you can be in and out within a reasonable amount of time.
K: You support and represent the neighbourhood so well. Why Main Street?
A: I started with a group of people I wanted to serve, and this is where they hang out. I also just like the neighbourhood. The businesses, snacks are good...
K: Snacks are good.
K: What does a day in the life of Amberly look like?
A: Day in the life..usually starts at 6am when my little one wakes up. Hang out with him until 7, 7:25 when I have to drag my other kid out of bed, then I drop my older one off at school around 8:30. I usually hang out with my little one until 10:30 to give him that time, I think it's important for us to have that one on one time. Sometimes I shower. Not often, but sometimes I sneak in a bathing situation.
K: Good for you.
A: Sometimes I'll just take the little one into the pool during that time. Or I'll come to work and get some poor, unsuspecting staff member to suck the dirt out my face. I usually come to work after that, I'm usually here until 5. Or I'll try to sneak in a workout. Put my kids to bed at 8:30. And then I'll work on the couch where I'll fall asleep until around 4am.
K: Try to watch a show. Fall asleep.
A: Always fall asleep.
The both of us are trying to watch the new season of Succession. No time for it, and Amberly fell asleep during the first episode.
A: I'll wake back up, drag myself up to bed, sleep for an hour and then do it all over again.
K: I feel like you're majorly simplifying your day. There's more nuances to it.
A: I mean that is a lot of busy-ness with the kids.
K: You're simplifying all the stuff you do with work. But I'll take it. What are your favourite things to do in your downtime. I put in brackets "what downtime?"
A: In brackets "what downtime?" I feel like if I have any downtime it should be devoted to my kids. I'm trying to read this book Why She Buys. In my downtime I work out, I go to Lagree, Jaybird. Sometimes I just stare at wall.
K: Oh yeah. Stare at a wall. Process things.
K: Okay. We're done. That was fairly painless.
She does not agree with me.
While she might not be the best at getting interviewed, Amberly Donnelly is incredibly humble in her capabilities in all other aspects of life, especially opening a business mid-pandemic (while pregnant!) Nothing much slows her down and she's always ready to take the next step with her employees, friends and family alongside her, faithfully. As we celebrate Plain Jane Skinbar's one year anniversary on November 9th, we also celebrate our Fearless leader Amberly Donnelly.