APR 2016

DAYSPA is the business resource for spa & wellness professionals! Each issue covers the latest in skin care, spa treatments, wellness services and management strategies.

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ONE ON ONE WITH… 46 DAYSPA | APRIL 2016 Szilvia Hickman Owner, Szép Élet/Ilike Organic Skin Care "Don't do what you believe people would admire you for, or what would bring you more money. Do what you love." What's the most challenging part of your job? Convincing people that taking care of their skin is not only an aesthetic objective but that if they follow an all-natural, antioxidant intensive skincare regimen it will contribute to their total well-being too. What's the No. 1 reason clients should choose organic skin care? Research shows that organically grown herbs, fruits and vegetables have a substantially (20% to 40%) higher antioxidant content than conventionally grown plants. Equally important is that the skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs products like a sponge. Many chemical ingredients are also harmful to the body and, unfortunately, aren't (yet) regulated by the FDA—even if they're banned in other countries. What's the best career decision you ever made? Focusing initially on foreign trade, because that led to a career outside of Hungary and one in international business. But my husband would say it was marrying him! What advice would you give to your younger, just-starting-out self? Don't do what you believe people would admire you for, or what would bring you more money, if it doesn't bring you so much pleasure that you look forward to going to work every day. Do what you love and success will come. Tell us something most people don't know about you. Without fail, I cry if a movie doesn't have a happy ending. To what do you attribute Ilike's continued success? The result of the care and attention we pay to the quality of our ingredients and fi nished products. They look and smell great, but the No. 1 goal with any new development is effi cacy. No new Ilike product is ever introduced to the market if it hasn't been proven to bring results. Who is your mentor? My husband. He has taught me so much in life and in business. I'm a much more analytical manager now. I remain composed under stress and put more thought into decisions. Thanks to him, I've matured into a more successful person in all fi elds. For an extended version of this Q&A, go to PERSONAL MANTRA: Always pick the most natural solution. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Friends. ("Ask me anything about those six!") WOULD MOST LIKE TO MEET OR HAVE MET: Jacques Cousteau, David Attenborough or the 'Trimates': Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall and Birute Galdikas. EARLIEST MEMORY: Falling out of a second- story window at the age of fi ve and spending the entire summer in bed in a full-leg cast. TOP STRESS-RELIEF TIP: Hiking—"for the combination of nature and exercise." MISSES MOST ABOUT HUNGARY: The joyful and cultural daily experiences. ("Budapest is a city of fun—just ask anyone who has visited!") DARREN AND SZILVIA HICKMAN FA S T FA C T S S zilvia Hickman's obsession with skin care began when she was a teenager growing up in Budapest, Hungary. All too aware of the dermal concerns affected by her age group, she decided to become an esthetician and help clients resolve their skin problems and associated self-esteem issues. "It's typical in Hungary for girls and boys to start visiting an esthetician for monthly facials when the hormones kick in and the pimples start showing up," explains Hickman. In 2006, Hickman and her life partner Darren launched Szép Élet (which means "Beautiful Life" in Hungarian), the exclusive North American distributor of Ilike Organic Skin Care. Ilike's name is a tribute to the products' original formulator, herbalist and biochemist Ilcsi Molnár, "Aunt Ilike", who passed away in 2013. Hickman describes Molnár as a "true visionary, who dedicated her life to the development and advancement of natural remedies, as well as the improvement of worldwide aesthetics knowledge and practices." Hickman attributes the products' effi cacy to the fact that they're made using whole, nutrient-rich, raw pulp to yield the highest possible active content. "As soon as I experienced my fi rst facial using our AHA Fruit Peel/Hungarian Paprika Gel Treatment combo, I was hooked!" she says. The U.S. market was hooked too, thanks in part to the brand's international pedigree. "Our products were created nearly 60 years ago and had already been a market leader in Hungary for decades. It was only when I moved to the U.S. that I realized how much Eastern European aesthetics practices and skincare products are respected here," Hickman explains. What keeps the brand successful in today's competitive market? Hickman cites her "wonderful, talented and experienced team" at company HQ in Indianapolis and around North America. She too remains hands-on at every stage. "Customer satisfaction is my passion, and that involves every bit of how I run my business," she says. "I believe that a good manager should be able to successfully perform any process, even if it's not part of their daily responsibility. That way they get to understand their colleagues' challenges, and truly appreciate their ideas and achievements."—Lesley McCave •

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