Latina Entrepreneur: Laurie Martínez-Baja, Owner & Aesthetician | Eternal Glow Aesthetics

Photo courtesy of Laurie Martínez-Baja.

Photo courtesy of Laurie Martínez-Baja.

“Why can’t I do this for myself?”

Laurie Martínez-Baja—Owner of a Purple Aesthetics Home Studio


Laurie Martínez-Baja

Owner & Aesthetician

Eternal Glow Aesthetics

107 N. Cragmont Ave.

San José, CA 95127

(408) 802-8453

 by Perlita R. Dicochea

Laurie Martínez-Baja’s career journey has taken a distinct path, one marked by the will to survive, grow, and make it on her own. I met Mrs. Martínez-Baja about five years ago when she used to perform treatments out of a hair salon. Four-and-a-half years ago she opened her own studio, attached to her home, which she designed herself (it is black, white, purple and fabulous all over). My appointments—for teeth whitening, hydrofacials and skin care products—always include much needed conversation about the ups and downs of life. I admire her focus on learning from one’s experiences, no matter how trying.

Learn more about a great woman and discover a special offer for our readers below.

Q: How did you decide to open your own studio?

A: I used to work at a medical spa. I did everything there: medical-grade treatments, all the sales, bookkeeping, administrative work, upselling. Along with a co-worker, I was already running a business for the owner, Dr. Shaw. I thought, “Why can’t I do this for myself?”

Before that I did outside and inside sales for over thirty years, starting in electronics and high-tech. When the high-tech economy crashed I started selling oxygen tanks. Dr. Shaw was one of my clients and we became friends. (He is still a good mentor and now my personal doctor.). I worked for another skin care company for a short while and then I decided to get my license in aesthetics. I trained in L.A. and went to all the same trainings as dermatologists, doctors, and plastic surgeons. I even learned about Obagi, which is a resurfacing treatment. About that time, Dr. Shaw called and asked me to work for him at his medical spa.

When I thought to establish my own business, I noticed that a lot of medical spas don’t focus on Latina or Filipina or Indian skin, just Caucasian skin. I wanted to create a space where my clients would feel comfortable and less intimidated so they can ask the questions they want to ask. I wanted my studio to be an inviting space for people.

I have a huge Indian following, I think because I’m dark and they know I’ll understand their needs. My client base is very diverse, only 2-3% are Caucasian. The only thing is I’m not bilingual, but I have interpreters (laughter). But you can see the photos of women on my website and on my walls are women of color.

Q: What has been the most challenging part or moment in opening your studio?

A: It has been a challenge to get my name out there, especially being in East San José, because I have to educate people about anti-aging treatments and why it’s so important. I have to educate people about skin anatomy and how it works. We are aging faster because there is more ozone. I’m seeing 30-year-olds, even 15-year-olds with major skin damage. The other challenge is to find the right price point. I want it to be affordable for people. My prices are about one-quarter of the prices at a medical spa.

Q: What would you say is your greatest achievement?

A: I have been very successful with acne treatment. I have about a 95% success rate. Dealing with acne, especially for young adults and teens, is such an emotional thing. It feels good to help someone, to help their self-esteem, and to do it with treatments. Doctors will just give medications. I do treatments, topicals, and I educate people on the negative impacts of medications that are not necessary, like liver damage. So, it’s a feel-good industry for me to help people struggling with things like acne.

Another issue is that people don’t realize that because of our ethnicity, a doctor’s laser can make pigment problems worse. I’ll even help people find the right medical spa if that’s what they want, but I educate them as much as possible.

Q: What are some advantages of having your own studio?

Laurie-SalonA: It’s such a blessing and so rewarding to have your own business and manage your own time. I have had to learn to embrace it because I was so used to working for someone else. And you’re always planting seeds. For instance, we know it is the holiday season and things slow-down, so fill the calendar with tasks to prepare for the next month ahead of you.

I am blessed that I can run my business part-time, because of my husband—he works full-time. That way I have a clean house and take care of my two dogs, the loves of my life.

There was a time when I was a single parent and I had two boys. I never went to school and so I learned what I needed to about sales and marketing to survive. My boys went to private school from Kindergarten to the eighth grades. That was my focus. That was my sacrifice. I had no social support. I started at $28k, then $35k, then $45k and up to $85k with inside sales.

At 36-years-old I reached a 6-figure income. But I was so stressed out—it became a numbers game and it was not worth it. From that peak-point in my career-life I began to scale back. But I didn’t want to marry my husband until I knew I could support myself and my kids on my own. You know, overall I feel so blessed. I never dreamed I would be in this situation that I’m in now, never. God is good.

Q: What advice do you have for others who want to become entrepreneurs and become aestheticians?

A: Sit down and interview others to learn about the upside and downside of our business. Go intern at a medical spa and find a niche for your own business. And you have to learn how to educate clients. Also, I need to find ways to stay motivated. I can get consumed within my own home and I know I need to get out there. So I find reasons to get out. I volunteer, I participate in Christmas boutiques, I’m going to start selling with It Works [fitness equipment]. That will help me meet new people and add something innovative to my business. –♦

For our readers, Eternal Glow is offering 20% off any treatment from now until February 15th, 2014. Clients are always offered a 25% referral fee.


Perlita Dicochea earned her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies with an affiliated discipline in Environmental Economics and Policy at U.C. Berkeley. Her current research focuses on non-profit efforts to integrate environmental justice approaches within climate change research and policy. Send Perlita comments and suggestions for future stories at and follow her on Twitter: @dr_perlita