When LeAnn Toristoja was a student at Aesthetics Institute in Portland, she didn’t have much interest in eventually operating her own spa.
“Most of my family (members) own businesses, and I saw how difficult it is and how much work you have to put into it,” the Vancouver resident said. “But then I went to work for a chain (last year), and I wanted to do things so much differently. I realized that the only way to do that was to to make my own business and go my own way.”
Toristoja opened Lush Esthetics at Beauty Temptations Salon in Washougal in late October.
“I’m 200 percent much happier now that I’m on my own and able to do my own stuff,” she said. “This is the best decision that I’ve ever made. The chain I worked at previously was very non-personal, and I’m a very personal person. I’m able to be more honest with clients, and that’s my biggest standpoint. I always tell people the facts.”
Toristoja provides a variety of services, including facials, dermaplaning, waxing, makeup application, lash tinting and lifting, brow tinting and back facials.
“I’m very result driven,” Toristoja said. “The skin will never be perfect, but I want to make it as good as it can be. I want to help people become more comfortable and confident. That’s my philosophy. As a child, my parents always told me to be confident and proud about what I do, and that’s driven me to show that in my work.”
Beauty Temptations Salon owner Katie Lewis said that Tortistoja has been a great addition to her team.
“I was closed for the first time in 19 years because of COVID-19, so I have been building the business back up, and finding an esthetician was top priority,” Lewis said. “We were looking for ‘the one’ — someone independent, yet a team player. I needed to come back from isolation and 2020 with someone excited about her new journey, but still honoring mine, and LeAnn was all of this. She is extremely talented in many of the areas her license covers, and is learning something new every day.”
Toristoja said “fate” led her to Beauty Temptations Salon. After deciding to open a spa, she struggled to find a location before her future mother-in-law, who was looking for a place to get her hair done, found Beauty Temptations Salon online. Toristoja visited the salon’s website, which advertised space for rent, and met with Lewis the next day.
“It’s been extremely beneficial (to be here),” Toristoja said. “Beauty Temptation Salon is established and has good clientele, and I’ve been tapping into that and building good relationships with clients. (The Business Temptation Salon employees have) guided me along, and it’s nice to have that support. I’ve never owned a business, and all of this is totally new to me, so to receive some awesome pointers and helpful hints has been really cool.”
Toristoja, who grew up in Battle Ground, originally thought about becoming a tugboat captain like her father, who works for J.T. Marine Inc. in Vancouver. But she eventually decided that she wanted to do something that would allow her to be at “the heart of the community.” She considered physical therapy before discovering her passion for esthiology.
“I’ve always been interested in helping people (gain more) confidence making them feel better,” she said. “I was drawn to esthetics because you’re constantly working with people and constantly making connections. It’s definitely very rewarding, and makes me very happy.”