By Adam Van Brimmer, Savannah Morning News
Courtney Victor once considered the following job description a “dream:”
– Position: Front desk receptionist
– Location: Manhattan
– Salary: $22,000 annually
– Shift hours: 5:45 a.m. until
“People were fighting for it,” she said.
The job was with Hugo Boss and with it came access to the company’s account executives. Victor spent her lunch break every day “pestering” them with offers to make copies, courier documents and fetch coffee or food. Eventually they got so “fed up” with her, they promoted her.
Her new title gave her the resume to land a job with global fashion brand Michael Kors. She parlayed that experience into a position with designer cosmetics giant Barneys New York.
Today she owns and operates Glow Medical Spa and Beauty Boutique. She said she’s found success at each stop along her career path for one reason: Passion and the ability to instill passion for the product or business in clients and customers.
“Customers shouldn’t leave your business as happy customers but as raving fans,” Victor said. “They should want to get a tattoo of your brand on their body.”
Victor shared her personal story and insights on building a brand during Wednesday’s Business in Savannah Forum in the Savannah Morning News auditorium, 1375 Chatham Parkway. Her spa, which her father, Dr. Jules Victor, started as a laser medical center in 2005, specializes in skincare treatments and procedures while the boutique offers designer cosmetics and skincare products.
Glow Medical Spa was named the 2011 Small Business of the Year by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. Victor was named an industry leader by spa trade publication. Les Nouvelle Spa and Esthetiques in 2010 and was listed among the “Top 20 Future Savannah Business Leaders” by Business in Savannah and Savannah Magazine.
Victor encouraged BiS Forum attendees to focus on the “why” of their businesses when it comes to branding. Entrepreneurs often get consumed by what they make and how they make it rather than why the product or service is desirable.
Introduced as a “brand nerd” by Savannah Morning News Publisher Michael Traynor, Victor strives to “empower people,” particularly women. Every customer that leaves Glow is told how beautiful she looks on the way out the door.
“When you feel good, you look good,” Victor said.
Business leaders, meanwhile, need to find “emotional attachment” to their jobs, she said. Victor’s early professional life included working as a receptionist, a stint tagging hundreds of clothing items with the proper sizes and “swiffering the runway for New York Fashion Week.”
But she did those things in a field she loved and with her aspirations in mind.
“I learned great lessons in humility,” she said. “It was a reminder that something that looks glamorous is just as much a job and just as much work as anything else.”