After seeing its benefits for herself, Valerie Jackson created a career for herself in electrolysis and now has her own business
Tammye Nash | Managing Editor
Valerie Jackson understands the importance of having a good body image. Negative body image has been linked to eating disorders, anxiety, depression and low overall self-esteem. And as a transgender woman, Jackson knows how unwanted facial and body hair can magnify a negative body image and gender dysphoria.
When she started her own transition, Jackson said, one of her first steps was to seek out electrolysis for herself. When the opportunity came along for her to learn how to perform electrolysis herself, she jumped at the chance to start a new career and help other women the way she had been helped.
Then two years ago, while other businesses were being forced to shut their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jackson saw doors opening that allowed her to start her own business, Hair & Now Electrolysis. This week she talked with Dallas Voice about her journey.
Dallas Voice: When and how did you start doing electrolysis?
Valerie Jackson: The summer of 2012 was the beginning of my medical transition. One of my first steps in the process was to see an electrologist for permanent hair removal. Facial treatments were weekly to every other week, until the 2013 new year.
In January, I was seeking new employment after experiencing some workplace discrimination. Finding a job was difficult, and I was unhappy with the credit industry as a whole. I knew I needed more of a change in my life, and I had made a new friend in my electrolysis technician. Her own professional grievances sparked the idea for my apprenticeship turned “partnership,” that would hopefully build a dream business.
Both unemployed now and searching for direction, that technician. and I sat at a restaurant table while she taught me hand maneuvers with forceps. We made our lists of intentions, and we built an electrolysis clinic from the ground up! Our official start date was Nov. 4, 2013.
What kind of training and certifications are necessary to be an electrolysis professional? What certifications do you have? Are you required to do ongoing training and/or to get re-certified on a regular basis?
For electrologists in Texas, there are no licensing requirements to practice electrolysis. Some states do require licensure. The Texas Association of Professional Electrologists helps new and experienced electrologists with information regarding local laws or regulations.
Joining TAPE also grants membership to the American Electrology Association. The AEA is a national association that has supported electrologists with high standards in education and ethics for over 50 years.
Each association offers a yearly continuing education conference, with credit towards maintaining certification. I attend state and national seminars every year to meet all standards and requirements. I have been a certified member of each association for at least eight years. Current certifications are posted in our studio.
What is the difference between electrolysis and laser hair removal?
Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved permanent method for removing unwanted hair. In 1875, an ophthalmologist named Dr. Charles Michel invented a system to remove infected eyelashes from patients. Laser hair removal is a newer concept that focuses on reducing hair density. This treatment is beneficial in combination with electrolysis for large areas.
Electrolysis is safe and effective for all skin types and hair colors. Not everyone is an eligible candidate for laser treatments.
When did you decide to start your own business? And what made you want to own your own business rather than working for someone else? Tell me about what services Hair & Now Electrolysis offers.
Hair & Now Electrolysis was born during the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown. The solitude gifted me an opportunity to make lifestyle changes to pursue even more of my dreams.
My happiest moments are with my clients, doing what I love, and being without limitations allows my artistry to flourish.
We only offer electrolysis treatments at this time. We would love to be a destination for many aesthetic needs. Details matter.
You started your own business, Hair & Now Electrolysis just after the COVID pandemic hit. How did that affect your business? How did you keep it going through all the shut downs and tough times? After several delays, we officially opened our doors on July 16, 2020. Our business was in need of masks, gloves, sanitizers and cleaners to create and maintain a safe working environment. These items were hard to come by and often carried a heavy price tag.
The manufacturer of our equipment is in Canada. Machine and product delivery was challenging with separate regulations and closures.
Great communication with vendors and clients has been one key to our success. Orders are placed in bulk to always have supplies on hand during moments of scarcity. Our first priority is always staff and client health!
You told me that your business is thriving, and that you have added staff. What made that possible in a time when other businesses are having to cut back and some have even closed?
Education and adaptability helped the most in the beginning. I learned a lot! Now we have a cohesive team to maintain our momentum.
I believe the electrolysis industry may be lacking in properly trained and talented electrologists. It seems there are simply not enough technicians to meet the demand. The state and national associations focus each year on increasing our membership. We need more apprenticeship programs and schooling opportunities, especially in Texas. Many veteran electrologists find it too challenging to employ and train staff, so they choose to work solo.
Do you have any specialties at Hair & Now? What is it that sets your business apart from other electrolysis services?
Our specialties are client relationships and challenging cases. We accept all bodies without judgment.
The electrolysis journey is a deeply personal and intimate process. Trust and proper care must be established from the beginning. A customized plan is always developed for each new client. We value the connections we make and the lives we change.
What are your plans for the future of Hair & Now? Do you see yourself adding staff or services?
Plans for the future include further expansion of electrolysis services with additional technicians. More apprentices will be trained under me, and there is possibly the opportunity to open an electrolysis school.
Other spa services could be added as the need arises. Time will tell.
What else do you want to mention that I haven’t asked you about?
Our technician is still completing her hours to gain certified membership into our state and national electrolysis associations, and we are offering discounts for apprentice treatments. That can decrease the investment into permanent hair removal for our new clients.
Please come see us for your hair removal needs! It will change your life.
For more information about Hair & Now Electrolysis, visit HairNowElectrolysis.com. Contact the business at 214- 865-8345 or email at email@example.com.