Sarah Jane Simons was on an errand with a friend when she first saw a sign advertising beauty salon space for rent on Primrose Road. Simons, who had worked in spas throughout the U.K., Bermuda and Northern California, considered it might be time to get her own space.
Fast-forward 12 years and , Simons’ Burlingame spa, is thriving.
“I just had a passion for doing something aesthetic, and I was introduced to beauty therapy and I said, ‘That looks fascinating, I want to do that,’” said Simons. “It’s funny how you never know where life’s going to take you.”
At Advanced Beauty, Simons uses the exclusive pharmaceutical-grade Guinot skincare line, sold only under the supervisor of a Guinot-educated aesthetician. Simons compares Guinot products to prescription drugs, saying you can only procure them from specific spas.
“It’s always been their philosophy only to be available in a salon situation,” said Simons, who did her Guinot training in 1985 before working for the company in the United Kingdom. “[Guinot’s] really taken skin care to a new level…it continues to grow that way.”
The exclusivity of Guinot, along with Simons’ three-part Youth Recovery Program, may have something to do with her clientele, who travel from as far as Marin County, Saratoga and Morgan Hill for her facial services. Another aspect that keeps customers willing to travel the distance is the privacy and individualized attention Simons gives each client.
The spa holds only one client at a time. The client books a two-hour block and is required to surrender any cell phones in the changing room. Small touches like a wine glass full of water, a little basket of almonds and heated booties worn during spa service enhance the pampered atmosphere.
The goal is for each customer to have two hours of comfort, peace and quiet.
“When a client comes in, it’s literally all about them,” Simons said. “If they leave here relaxed and unwound…if they’ve forgotten their cell phone had a message on it they were supposed to respond to, I’ve done my job.”
Although Simons owns and runs the spa on her own, including performing all tasks from facials to finances to laundry, she finds time for community participation, as well. She is involved with local organizations like the Mills Peninsula Hospital Foundation and Hillsborough Auxiliary and partakes in other philanthropic opportunities as they arise.
“I try to help out my clients when they have personal involvement and I know the people, and it’s for a good cause,” Simons said.
She also has been collaborating with other businesses on Primrose, offering packages that fit the needs of customers in surrounding shops.
Simons is working with neighboring , a bridal dress consignment shop. When women buy a dress, they can buy a facial series package in preparation of their wedding day.
Simons is also teaming up with the ladies at for a Mother’s Day promotion. Moms will get a 25-minute facial followed by hairstyling at Halo.
While running Advanced Beauty Care, Simons has recently made time for interior design school, as well, following a long-time secret passion. She said once she finishes, she might try mixing in a bit of interior design to her already busy schedule.
“Why not a new challenge?” Simons said. “Who know what the future’s going to hold? I didn’t know I’d end up in Burlingame, so we’ll see what the future has in store.”