We were lucky to catch up with Nari Ro recently and have shared our conversation below.
Nari, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. What did your parents do right and how has that impacted you in your life and career?
Oh my parents. I look up to both of them so much + I hope that they know it. Maybe this article will help them fully understand how much I owe what + who I am today because of the sacrifices they made for me when growing up.
Both of my parents immigrated to the states in their early twenties from Seoul, South Korea. My mom made her way her way here first, while my dad was still serving his time in the Korean Military.
First of all, their love story is one that inspired me to take up photography when I was 16. My parents had BOXES of love letters they wrote to each other during middle school, high school, all the time they spent together in Korea and then the love letters they wrote when my mom made her way to America and my dad was still over in Seoul. They have so many photographs wrinkled with age and fade marks that just captured them in their early days and I absolutely fell in love with how much a photograph could capture an emotion forever — and soon impact generations afterwards. I knew I wanted to have a career where I could do that for someone else, which is why when they bought me my first camera at 16, I was SO excited. I started building my wedding photography career years later and by 17, I was photographing people in love + haven’t looked back since. That is all because of my parents, their boxes of love stories and photographs that made me believe that having a career that would allow me to give a couple a forever moment was something I truly wanted forever.
The older I get, the more I think about the small moments I witnessed as a kid watching my mom. I remember watching her run out of the house to work 10 hours at her salon 7 days a week. The smell of the coffee she would make every single day in the same metal gray Lexus coffee mug that, for some reason, was her favorite. I remember the small light that I would see from my room that would light the stairs at like 2AM because my mom was in the office downstairs still working. I remember so vividly watching her pray every single morning while whispering what was weighing most heavy on her heart that she would never tell me as a kid.
I remember her cutting up my fruit for me before I went to school and while I would study as a love language — even if I wasn’t hungry. I remember never seeing her cry — like ever. Even through the hardships we faced growing up, she kept it all in until I learned more about it as I got older. My mom is a force to be reckoned with and she taught me to be a FORCE. She taught me to stand my ground. To love my people, HARD. To care for family. To dream bigger. To work harder. To never let people step on me. To be a business woman. To be DIFFERENT. To not think like the rest. To find joy in the small moments of life. To give back to my community. To care for those that need to be cared for. To not be so closed minded. To have a abundance of patience. My mom is my greatest inspiration and for the rest of my life, my goal is to always remind her of that. I want to let whatever success comes my way, to give a part of it back to her.
Now let me tell y’all someone that is just as amazing anf impactful in my life.. my dad.
Even though we didn’t always get along when I was a kid, as I got older I realized how he showed his love for me in smallest actions. My dad is a man of few words but big actions. He was the one that taught me to follow my first instincts, trust my gut and taught me that silence doesn’t mean weakness — it means we are just planning our next step + don’t need the whole world to know it just yet. He told me how proud he was of me a few months ago + I broke down like a little kid again in his arms.
My biggest accomplishment is that — making my parents proud of me but especially this man because to me, hearing those words from a man who has VERY little to say when it comes to his emotions, absolutely meant the world to me.
My dad gave me my sense of humor, my semi obnoxious personality and my love of food. A moment I will forever keep so close to my heart + truly impacted me as i was about to drop out of college, move to a new state on my own and follow this gut feeling I had that I could be a esthetician: “I just want you to be happy” and supported me with small smiles and small actions like coming up to Denver just to buy me coffee, food, or boba throughout every trial I faced.
Without him, my life in Colorado + my businesses would have looked SO differently for me + I feel so loved knowing that this man is my Appa forever + ever.
My parents are the reason why I am the way I am today, They did SO much for me ever since I was just a kid that impacted me to be where I am not with my life, my career + my success. Everything I am today, I owe to them, truly.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
Skin by Nari wouldn’t of been here if it wasn’t for my first passion at 17 — Nari Ro Photography. I started my first LLC with my wedding photography business + still to this day it is my creative outlet, my first business love, my forever baby. Honestly, without that business, I never would have opened up my Medspa.
Without that passion I had found with photographing people being in love, I never would have settled in Denver, worked my 5 jobs to keep up all the bills pilling up with the move at 20 years old, and made sure my wedding photography business could eventually fuel + provide income for my skin business.
Now, I can proudly say that both of businesses fuel off of each other. My wedding clients become my skin clients and vice-versa — which was the DREAM of mine.
Skin by Nari is a place where I get to offer Hydrafacials, Dermaplaning, Chemical Peels, Laser Hair Reduction, IPL, Morpheus8 + Microneedling services to clients WHILE I get the joy of hearing all the stories, making connections + watching people glow up + get one step closer to their skin goals!
Nari Ro Photography is a career where I am able to document the moments that couples are able to build their legacy on — together. I get the opportunity to travel to countries + states that I probably never would have been able to go to just because I wouldn’t have thought I had the time. I am able to connect with humans all over the country + meet the most beautiful souls + watch their love stories come to life with my camera which is SO freaking cool — I cannot believe that this is still my job!
I love both of my businesses so much. They both fuel my soul + make me so excited to wake up the next day and know that I am truly doing what I love!
Putting training and knowledge aside, what else do you think really matters in terms of succeeding in your field?
I think the key to succeeding in your field is asking yourself one question — why do you want to be a small business owner?
Honestly for me, it’s because I don’t take authority very well! I have always worked for other people. From when I was a receptionist at my mom’s hair salon at 16 to when I was 20 when I first moved to Denver + I was working at Starbucks as a barista, to then also adding in becoming a receptionist at a hair salon, to continuously work for other people — I just knew I was not meant to work for someone else.
I wanted the freedom to create the space, the art, the social media, the vibe, the EVERYTHING the way that I visioned it to be. Being a small business owner comes with a whole lot of hard work, drive, effort and tears, but y’all, seeing your dreams come to life really fulfills your soul in ways that I cannot explain.
That’s why I choose to have my small businesses.
That’s what truly pushes me everyday to make sure I continue to work hard + succeed in my field because whenever I go back and think about WHY I wanted to be a small business owner, it just re-lights the fire in my soul to make sure I get up + do it again and again.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
Here’s one of the top advice i can give to anyone starting off in the esthetic industry or to anyone really:
authenticity > everything
Be the person you want to be + expect whatever energy you are putting out to be coming right back at you.
There’s a reason why I love my room + space so much — it’s because it truly is ME in the room. I know that when people book my services, that they are choosing ME as the provider + coming into a space that truly represents me as a person + the vibe I want to put out!
Fellow estheticians, there truly is no competition in this industry. There are SO many clients out there waiting to find THEIR PERSON. the person they resonate with the most. The person that they feel comfortable with. the person they can chat with + enjoy having a service with.
You aren’t for everyone — and that’s PERFECT. You don’t want everyone! You want the clients that choose you for their glow-treatment to choose.you.
Check in with yourself — does your brand identify WITH YOU? Or does it mimic someone else that you’re trying to be?
You are something special and you have something special to give to anyone that walks in your door or comes into your life. Acknowledge that and be the person YOU want to be.
Authenticity over everything else — because that is how you will build your reputation in WHATEVER market you are in!
@wallflowerink_ Erika Kline