Nancy Toffanin set her mind on two goals when she graduated from aesthetics school three decades ago - to teach aesthetics, and to own a business. “Now I’ve done both in this field,” the sole proprietor of Bella Luna says.
For many years, Toffanin worked for others, though the itch to open her own place was always there. Several years ago, she switched to a part time job so that she could teach at Everest College in Thunder Bay. “It was great, I was the lead instructor and it was a lot of fun,” she says, but the college closed a year later.
“So I decided to open up Bella Luna,” she says. Going from employee to entrepreneur was a big change, but since she had decades of experience and a loyal client base, she took the leap.
“I thought, ‘What’s the worst that could happen? If this doesn’t work, I’ll get another job.’ I’m pretty positive. It is a big step and big jump, but I know I’m resourceful, and I know I’m really good at what I do,” she says.
She opened Bella Luna in 2015, converting her basement on 139 Carl Avenue into a salon. “I love it, I have a beautiful space,” she says. An added bonus is that she can offer her clients a lot of flexibility - she can take last minute bookings and can even fit clients in on a Sunday morning, if they ask.
She provides a full range of aesthetic services, from facials to waxing. She also took courses in reiki six years ago and added a healing component to her services. “Now in my salon I provide crystal healing sessions. People come in and if they have things they need to release or let go of, I just do a treatment on them,” she explains. “I also teach classes, like self love, self care, boundaries, helping to empower women and men.”
Since the pandemic started last year, Toffanin has only been able to work about half of the year. “All of a sudden, your way of supporting yourself is taken away from you. As a business owner, I’m my own sole provider. From March to June [last year] I learned a lot about myself,” she says. “I meditated, and I did free meditation sessions online for my clients. I wanted to give them some light and support, positive energy.”
One positive aspect of the pandemic was how her clients responded. “I love how supportive people have been. They buy products, they buy gift certificates. I really feel like they’re so supportive, sending me messages to see how I’m doing. I have amazing clients. I love how they reach out. It’s been a really great experience actually,” she says.
Although the future is uncertain, Toffanin hopes one day to be back doing the things she loves the most. “The first thing I want to do now is go to a huge convention, maybe Las Vegas, that’s gonna be my goal,” she says, a little wistfully. Throughout her career, she has made a point of regularly attending industry events and learning about the latest technologies in aesthetics.
“I love my job, it’s my passion,” she says. “I’m one of the lucky ones, I do what I love.”