Real Women Doing Real Things: Sonya Dakar

If you live in LA and you haven’t had a facial with the amazing Sonya Dakar, you are missing out!  Sonya, with celebrities clients like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence, is a Hollywood aesthetician staple.  And, aside from being in the industry for more than 30 years, this entrepreneur is giving us her best advice and details on her big “aha” career moment.

Tell us about the first “aha” moment of your career.

My first “aha!” moment was in 1984. I was seeing so many new clients coming into my clinic with over-processed, irritated and even burnt skin. It was during the glycolic acid peel craze and people were coming to me to heal their skin afterwards. That’s when I began my search for a solution and through much research, created my first face oil, Organic Omega Booster. I knew I had something special even though my clients were hesitant to put an oil on their skin at that time but as soon as they tried it, their skin began to transform within days. Organic Omega Booster is still my number one selling product for over 30 years.

If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?

My Maternal Grandmother: I miss her so much. She was my favorite person – a strong, business woman who taught, inspired and helped shape me. I would spend hours with her and was there for her at the end. I would love to have one more meal with her and learn from her just one more time.

Barbara Walters: As an immigrant to the US, one of my earliest memories here was watching Barbara on TV. She was a pioneer in her industry. She went further than any man thought she could, breaking rules along the way and making room for other women to follow their dreams.

Estee Lauder: Estee had vision, determination and guts that I admire. She was a fellow immigrant and took the first four products her husband launched, turning them into an empire for her family. As a business woman in the skincare industry, a mother and grandmother, she is an inspiration for me in so many ways. I would love to hear all he stories, as I’m sure she has many!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur thus far?

It’s still a process – I continue to learn every day – but the biggest lesson is to never stop believing in yourself. Every business has its up and downs, but only you can pick yourself back up. An entrepreneur’s drive will guide their business through it all.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing my clients’ faces and hearing their stories about how transforming their skin has changed and improved their self-esteem and ultimately, their lives. What’s more rewarding than that? And I must say, getting to work with my children and getting to see them daily.

What’s been the hardest part of your job?

I’m very dedicated to my business, and I am very much a type-A, so for me it’s been a work in progress to disconnect and be able to leave work at work. When you have your own business it becomes another baby – you work hard and nurture it to see it grow and flourish. I love what I do, but it’s important to remember to take some time for yourself.

What advice do you have for young female entrepreneurs?

Never give up! Don’t take no for an answer and just keep going. If you have a vision, a passion and are willing to put in the hard work and long hours, you will succeed.

What’s next for Sonya Dakar as a brand?

I am constantly working on new developments, new products and new technology for my brand. I also foresee a global expansion. I recently launched my first spa in Europe (The Spa at The Hotel Eden in Rome), and I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed training and working with the estheticians there. I love mentoring, teaching and shaping young professionals.

For more info on Sonya Dakar, check out her website!