July 28, 2023

Educator Spotlight: Ashley Larsen from St. Louis

The beauty industry has long attracted individuals with a creative flair and a desire to help others look and feel their best. For one educator at Crave Beauty Academy in St. Louis, her journey into the beauty industry began with a family connection and a deep love for beauty. In this blog, we will delve into the personal journey of this inspiring educator, exploring the challenges she faced, the mentors who guided her, and the passion she now instills in her students.

We asked Ashley some questions, and her answers offer profound insights into her journey and the educational approach she adopts at Crave Beauty Academy!

Ashley’s Personal Journey

How did you become interested in the beauty industry and decide to pursue a career in education?

“I grew up in the salon with my mother, who was a Cosmetologist. I loved the salon environment. High energy, hard work, and a positive culture. I knew cosmetology was not my niche in the industry. After doing some research about my options, I found Esthetics! When I learned of the ever-expanding careers within the esthetics industry, I knew this was the path for me. Little did I know I would end up pursuing another dream of mine, being an educator! With encouragement from my former instructors and family, I began teaching and knew I had found my calling.”

Can you share any challenges or obstacles you encountered along your personal journey? How did you overcome them?

“When I started esthetics school I was living out of state, in Utah. In the middle of my program, my fiance and I made the decision to move back home for a job opportunity. I had to choose between staying in a new state alone and finishing my program or finding a school that I could transfer to in Missouri. In a way, I felt I had failed. That I wasn’t committed to my studies. I then realized that everyone’s journey is different. There is never one path. I came home to Missouri and chose Crave to finish my education. In the end, I believe this truly benefited me. In my studies, I was able to receive education from a total of 6 different instructors, all giving me their own tips and tricks, and 2 different program curriculums. This resulted in me having multiple perspectives on treatment services and teaching methods.”

What is your favorite part of being an educator?

“My favorite part about being an educator is my students. Seeing them blossom into a new career with passion and dedication. The first day for a student can be nerve-racking, quiet, and procedural. When they become confident and comfortable in themselves within the program is when growth happens. By their last day at school, they have the knowledge and relationships to pursue the dreams they had on their first day, and that is a great feeling. I have had some amazingly creative and talented students. They push me every day to strive for better and continue my own education.”

Did you have any mentors or role models who influenced your career path in the beauty industry? How did they impact your journey?

“Yes, Ms. Dena Moss, Ms. Kendelin Baker, and Ms. Dallas Brissett. These instructors always pushed me to be the best I could be. Always put 100% in and do it in a positive way. Encouraging me when I was doubtful or unsure of myself. Watching them work inspired me to be an educator and I will always be thankful for the guidance and dedication from them.”

What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in the beauty industry? Are there any key insights or lessons you’ve learned along your journey that you would like to share?

“I will cite one of my favorite quotes. “Responsibility is the catalyst for growth.” Take responsibility for your life and goals. Claim them as yours.  Make a commitment to yourself in pursuit of your dreams. Only when we take responsibility for our dreams, our work, and how we treat others will we grow? Fear is always a part of change. “What happens if I fail?” What if it’s not for me?” “Who will support me in this?” are all questions that can only be answered if you try.”

What Attracted Ashley To Work At Crave Beauty Academy?

Ashley is a former alumni of Crave and always felt supported by instructors and knew she could harness that for her students. “The curriculum is set up in a way to benefit a variety of learning methods. Crave also gives educators creative freedom in the best interest of the students. Using all elements of teaching to get a well-rounded education experience. Crave is different in the way of our culture. We pride ourselves on diversity and respect. We always keep our main goal in mind, educating our students. In ways of compassion, coaching, and real-life experience we cultivate confident and adjusted beauty professionals.”

Learn About Her Educational Approach

How do you create a supportive and engaging learning environment for your students?

“I consistently make myself available for questions, hands-on demos, and professional coaching. Always encouraging them to try new things and letting them know it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them. When I am approached with new ideas or more in-depth explanations on a subject I am always happy and willing to go the extra mile with my students. As many of them go the extra mile every day in their own education.”

Can you describe any unique teaching methods or techniques you employ to enhance students’ learning experience?

“Adult education is different in the way that many of our students have had prior professional experiences. I like to use experiences that they have had in past careers and apply them to esthetics. I find this helps build confidence in a new field by utilizing skills they already have. Whether it is customer service, safety, sanitation, or writing skills, these can all be applied in the world of esthetics.”

How do you help students develop their confidence and professionalism?

“Teaching students in the best way they individually learn is important for student confidence. Placing terms or concepts in ways they can digest and understand them. I also believe that remembering to simply let students know that they are doing an outstanding job is vital to their success. To be a truthful but positive educator. I try to take any negative experience as a coaching moment for my students, not to be a disciplinarian, but a coach in professionalism. When a foundation is built on trust with an educator, students are more likely to be receptive to constructive criticism.”

Staying Current with Industry Trends

The beauty industry is constantly evolving, with new trends, techniques, and products emerging regularly. To stay up-to-date, Ashely remains connected with innovators in the industry and actively seeks out new products and techniques. “I think of myself as a “forever student”. In an industry that is forever growing and changing, we must stay in touch with new ideas around us. I take continued education classes to better my knowledge and craft. Social Media is also at our fingertips to explore industry trends, although we must always be vigilant in comparing scientific study to trending fads.”

How does Crave Beauty Academy adapt its curriculum to meet the changing demands of the beauty industry?

“With new and evolving treatments, Crave stays current with industry innovations. We have recently added 3 classes/services to our expanding curriculum. This keeps our students passionate with new and exciting services.”

Student Success Stories

Can you share a memorable success story of a student who thrived under your guidance?

“A particular student comes to mind. When she first started at Crave she was quiet, doubtful, and in an unfamiliar place. A nervous test taker and unsure of her skills. With guidance from educators and her fellow students, she began to come out of her shell. As her time with us grew I saw her blossom into a confident, dedicated, and skilled esthetician. She is now in her own suite and building a steady clientele.”

How does Crave Beauty Academy support students in building their careers after graduation?

“At Crave we have multiple streamlines for students to go into the workforce. Even while attending school we implement exposure from salons/spas to our students. Esthetic students are required to shadow a spa or salon to complete their program. We host guest speakers/demos from surrounding professionals that often scout our students. We also host an event called Meet A Rising Star. This is an event where students create a resume and have speed-date-style interviews with salons in our area. This creates familiarity with our students to prospective employers. It has been a successful way to ensure our students are hired at reputable salons. Crave helps students after graduation by aiding with resume building, notifying past students of openings, and networking with salons and spas in our area.”

Join The Crave Family!

If you’re passionate about beauty, Crave Beauty Academy can help you turn your passion into a reality. Ashley’s dedication and passion for her craft, create an environment that empowers students to excel in the beauty industry. Contact us to learn more about our programs and how you can get started!

“It is an honor to have such a rewarding and fulfilling career. Thank you to all staff and students who make every day a Crave Day!”

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