Päivi Kröger-Kekkonen runs a Finnish family-owned professional cosmetics business. She wants to promote beauty care as total care, handicraft that goes way beyond simple powdering. With Sky Beauty opening a new location at Hotel Mestari, Kröger-Kekkonen wants to use the opportunity to shine a light on the master craftsmanship of beauty care professionals.
Lively and good-humored, Kröger-Kekkonen is your quintessential North Karelian. Like her kin in eastern Finland, she has always been active and energetic, traits that have brought her where she is today. Following primary school, once she had graduated as a cosmetologist, they wanted to keep her as the school secretary. Technically proficient, she suddenly found herself managing the school’s IT support, without the appropriate qualifications. She further explored the IT industry by studying information technology at a polytechnic.
“I knew what I wanted from a very early age. When I was younger, however, I felt the need to keep justifying my career choices. So by 24, I already had three professions and working experience. It was difficult to grasp that I was so young and already had so much going on all at once,” Kröger-Kekkonen says, looking back at her early years.
But with beauty care a life-long passion, Kröger-Kekkonen ended up choosing cosmetology. She has now been the managing director of her own business, Sky Beauty, for the past 17 years. Sky Beauty imports professional cosmetics and provides education in professional beauty care in Finland and Sweden. Along with their flagship parlor in Hakaniemi, Helsinki, they run an online store and export operations in the Nordic countries.
Sky Beauty’s know-how and products are brought directly from France, and their customers enjoy treatments not provided by any other business in Finland. At the moment, her company has four employees.
”We have a great work atmosphere at Sky Beauty, and we value each other’s special skills. It’s an all-ages crew of fantastic professionals. We all have our individual strengths, making for a first-rate team.”
In the beauty care business, everyone does a bit of everything, and Kröger-Kekkonen finds this motivating. But she wants to underline that despite the variety of skills involved, we all have that special skill she wants to help her employees, especially student interns, identify. Not everyone needs to have all the skills for each and every job.
”We all have our own unique talent, you just have to identify it. Massage therapy requires the right touch, and polishing nails calls for precision and a steady hand. Our wide range of skills and abilities are evident in other areas, too; for example, the younger crew is more adept at social media than me. Although I did download TikTok to see what it’s about,” Kröger-Kekkonen laughs.
”Many still consider us make mere make-up artists and human powder puffs.”
Kröger-Kekkonen feels that the beauty care industry is still saddled with false preconceptions. ”Many still consider us simply make-up artists and human powder puffs. In reality, the industry operates on a much wider spectrum. We are at times like therapists and at times like nurses, looking into skin aberrations or giving pedicures. Many of our customers jokingly call us their doctors.”
For Kröger-Kekkonen, the business is built on customer relations. Along with her other duties, she sets aside time each month for working directly with customers, because it gives her so much energy. She emphasizes that each customer is always treated as an individual. In the beauty business, it’s important to listen to your customers in confidence and guide and advise them.
”Beauty care is not just about caring for your skin but also for your mental wellbeing. Customers trust us with things you couldn’t even imagine and at times open up about their problems. It’s a really good feeling if you can be of some help. It’s also rewarding to help your customers find the right treatment and the right products for skin problems that may have troubled them for a long time,” Kröger-Kekkonen sums up.
”The beauty care business should go back to its roots.”
Sky Beauty opens a new location at Hotel Mestari where all treatments are carried out by hand. Kröger-Kekkonen wants to highlight the master craftsmanship required in their line of business, and for their Hotel Mestari location, she intends to pick products that serve this particular purpose.
”Supporting domestic products gets a lot of attention but we still like to go abroad, to Bali or somewhere. So let’s bring abroad here.”
Mestari will carry Sky Beauty’s product lines Yon-Ka, Biovive and Cinq Mondes. With these brands, Kröger-Kekkonen wants to bring luxury, first-hand experience and total service to Mestari, things that she feels central Helsinki needs more of.
”I’ve been hoping for a more prominent spa culture in Helsinki. I wish people understood the value of their personal wellbeing and were ready to take action to improve it.”