About 10 years ago, Melissa Rushing, 28, pulled into the parking lot of Merle Norman, located between Kroger and Wal-Mart, in search of some “girl therapy.”
Her visit to the Columbus store, where she subsequently was employed and built a reputation giving makeovers, eventually led her to an advanced school of aesthetics in Ocean Springs.
Later, Rushing, a Madison native who suffered from acne and other skin problems since age 12, worked in a dermatologist”s office, before opening Bella Derma, an organic skin spa, next to Merle Norman on Lincoln Road.
Rushing also has worked in California, at celebrity events, and as a make-up artist for the 2009 Victoria”s Secret Fashion Show in New York City. She created Bella Derma as “a place that people could come and feel at peace” and has a mission to “always tell the truth and educate people on all their options,” as well as, “help people feel better, inside and out,” she said.
Tell me about your work at Bella Derma. What is an organic skin spa?
We offer a wide range of therapies for the skin. We also offer consultations to examine and discuss the options for getting the skin in the best health possible. Organic skin spa came about as I learned more about our skins” health and how it all worked together as a whole unit. The more I worked with the skin, the more aware I became that our skin is an organ that has a unique ability to absorb whatever we put on it. And so, it only made sense to me to head in a direction that was more holistic and organic or ”tree-huggerish,” as some prefer to call it.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Everything! All of it is rewarding. I enjoy every facet of what I do. I am so grateful to be able to help people with issues that I struggled with for so long. It is so rewarding to share what you have learned to help people live fuller, more vibrant lives. And the longer I do it, the more I love it.
Every day, I meet new clients with issues that have been driving them nuts. And so to be able to bring peace and balance, that brings the greatest joy to my being.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
The most challenging I would say is having patience. From Day One, I have had very big dreams of where I would like to see Bella Derma go. And so naturally, I would have loved to start all of these ideas at Day One. But resources and demand don”t allow us to bring in everything I would love to (bring in) the moment I find it. So I am learning patience is a virtue, after all.
And I am learning that it is best to build it slow and steady, so that we can continue to grow and evolve. I am constantly researching new products and therapies to introduce to the spa, but it is so important to me to not have (just) the latest and greatest, but rather quality ingredients and lasting results. It is so important to me to make sure we continue to offer quality and real help to our clients over (merely) new and improved.
Are there any misconceptions about your job or industry you”d like to address?
One common misconception in the skin care and spa industry is that spa services are a luxury and for women only, something to do if you want to pamper yourself. A lot of men are afraid that they might lose their “guy badge” if they step foot in the doors. But taking care of our skin is something that is important for all of us, in all walks of life, races and genders. Our skin is a living, breathing organism. And so to not pay attention to it is to not pay attention to our overall health.
A note to people who have never visited a skin spa, but have considered it: A spa does not have to be a scary and intimidating place, for males or females, where you have to worry about what people are saying or thinking about you as soon as you walk out the door. It should not be a place that you have to dress a certain way or act a certain way. A spa is the place to get away from all that and just be yourself, get help with whatever you are wanting to address and unwind. You should leave feeling better than when you came in, from the inside out.