For as long as Karen Obern can recall, she has loved nurturing and massaging using lotions and potions. “Even at 15 years old, I saved money from my first job to purchase my mother a facial voucher. But only to request to watch the therapist!” she laughs.The moment she rounded off her studies, Karen’s determined desire to fast-track her experience took her directly to London, where she worked in a spa on Notting Hill. “But still then, I craved more exposure. I joined a five-star hotel on Hyde Park and was part of the launch of the first ever Christian Dior Spa,” Karen reveals.
Equipped with countless hours of hands-on practice and invaluable skills and knowledge, she returned to Australia driven by a desire to open a salon of her own. Outshine was born on James Street in New Farm, followed closely by 2Outshine in West End. “Outshine was eventually sold after 11 years due to my growing family. 2Outshine then became Loft Beauty where my permanent business resides.”
Now 22 years into her career, Karen still exudes a warmth and passion for the industry, demonstrating a genuine keenness to broaden her skillset and bring modern techniques and treatments to her clients.“I still get excited to go to work, which is always a good reminder that I truly love my profession. Plus, it certainly helps that I work with a talented, motivated team of therapists,” says Karen. “The industry has evolved rapidly since I began, bringing all sorts of corrective treatments and procedures that I never imagined possible when I first started with Hope in a Jar!”
According to Karen, her most valued treatment is currently LED Light Therapy with Reflexology, which uses low-intensity light emitting diodes to generate skin tissue, boost collagen production and improve the appearance of the skin. “LED Light Therapy really helps people to stop, slow down and recharge, with the bonus of multiple skin benefits. To me, it’s the most healing and effective treatment for the skin, mind and body.”
“Reflexology, on the other hand, connects with your vital organs and muscles, improving your back, neck and shoulders,” she explains.Customer care is number one priority for Karen, who goes above and beyond to ensure the needs of her clients are personally tailored for. “In an extremely broad industry such as beauty, I believe it’s so important to specialise in treatments. My therapists are paving their way through a successful career by mastering their best talents, and rewarding their clients with top notch treatments as a result,” Karen says.
“Plus, I love working in West End’s inner city environment that attracts such a diverse clientele. We have loyal customers, and it is lovely connecting with regular clients. Previous to the best nail invention (shellac) I walked many ladies to their car, buckled them in and turned out the ignition to avoid any smudging!”
Karen is now expecting her third child, but her skin emits more than a pregnancy glow. Its luminescence reflects years of experience in the beauty industry, and a sincere happiness to be doing what she loves.