Meet Lori Paley

Women’s Work, Women’s Worth

April 11, 2011

What does Elizabeth from the To Catch a Dollar movie have in common with Lori Paley? One is a salon worker and microcredit loan borrower in Queens, NY, and the other is a skin therapist and small business owner in Claremont, CA.  Both dream big, work hard, and carry through with their determination to succeed. With the To Catch a Dollar campaign, we bring you stories of people from all backgrounds across the country to capture the narrative of today’s American Dream.

The messages behind the film “To Catch A Dollar”, and behind Dermalogica’s global women’s initiative really touch home with me.

For the past 13 years, I have owned Aromatique Skin & Body Care ( in Claremont, California. I became a skin therapist just after the birth of my daughter, who is now 15 years old. I had spent the previous decade pounding on the glass ceiling as the director of store operations for a major, male-dominated retail apparel chain. Impending motherhood changed my priorities, which is common. I began my new life as a skin care therapist in 1997.

Today, the booth-renters on my team of 15 “job-share”, so that the work arrangement is flexible and affordable. I encourage other businesses to consider doing this. It really works well for women, especially for mothers and students who need creative scheduling. It also permits for working women to relax and enjoy skin care services after their work day and on weekends. Traditionally, skin care centers are closed evenings and Sundays, and job sharing gives us the flexibility to be open 7 days a week and evenings.

In 1998, I was able to buy Aromatique from the former owner by borrowing $35,000 from my husband’s retirement account. Yes, I did pay it back, by the way—which I understand is usually the case with women who borrow money through microlending. Women have a much better history than men of paying loans back.

Then seven years ago, when I needed a small business loan to relocate our business, it wasn’t so easy. I knew something about running a business. But the financial challenges were still there. I was only able to qualify for a small percentage of the capital I needed through the Small Business Association (SBA), and had to use my own personal resources to offset the difference. The loan I took out through the SBA, which has long since been repaid, was costly, even though it was considered to be a “low interest loan”.

Needless to say, I completely resonated with Dermalogica’s FITE initiative. First, Dermalogica offers education, incentives and tiered pricing for new product launches, which really empower our retailing. And Dermalogica’s “tribal” value-system has always ignited my desire to do something by and for other women.

We organized a small, intimate event to benefit FITE during March, National Women’s History Month. That gathering, where we taught women how to perform their own at-home skin care treatment by using the five Dermalogica products which benefit FITE, resulted in as many sales as the much-larger events we frequently give. Why? The one-on-one intimacy and the power of the message. The women got it…they understood the power of giving a hand up, and they bought to support the cause.

One of my team-members recently printed out and framed the e-mail confirmation which she received from when she made her investment in FITE. She proudly displays it in her treatment room, and it’s a great way to get our clients involved in the conversation, which leads to participation.

When we’re talking about women’s rights, it’s easy to feel that the obstacles are too overwhelming and vast. But one simple step, investing in one woman, is the way to create immediate and lasting change for the good.



Aromatique Skin & Body Care


About Lori:

Lori Paley, age 51, is a licensed esthetician, and the owner of Aromatique Skin & Body Care, a skincare center and retail store, located in Claremont, CA. Lori resides in Alta Loma, CA, with her husband of 32 years, Gary, and her high school-age daughter, Sydney.

Lori grew up in the Los Angeles area, where spent 18 years working for an apparel retail chain, Miller’s Outpost/Anchor Blue, at which she held various positions in company management and human resources. When she left the company just after her daughter was born, she held the position of Director of Store Operations, and was responsible for the operations of nearly 450 stores, located throughout nine states. Between her past and present retail store experience, Lori has nearly 35 years of experience working in various levels of retail store management.

In 1996, Lori attended Citrus College in Glendora, CA, in order to obtain her state board  training to become a skin therapist. In 1997, she began her career as a skin therapist at Aromatique Skin & Body Care, where she rented a treatment room as an independent contractor. In 1998, she had the opportunity to purchase the business, which she continues to own and operate. In the thirteen years Lori has owned the business, the original staff of six has grown to an average staff size of fifteen. In 2005, Lori relocated the business, expanding the retail square footage and treatment room space, which has allowed for an increase in the overall business.

Lori’s personal interests include spending time with her family, taking weekend getaways, working part-time in her facial treatment room, and overseeing the day-to-day operations of her business. In her free time, Lori enjoys volunteering at various school-related events and in her local business community, where she helps to run a local volunteer marketing group. She loves it when she can squeeze in a girl’s day out with her friends, and she enjoys reading a good book or two in her downtime.

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