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Next Gen Biz: Woman on a Mission

May 02, 2016
Kelly Mack

The following is the first installment of Paychex's The Changing Face of Business campaign. 

Kelly Mack is proof that good things come to those who wait. With a relentless drive and desire to achieve a lifelong dream, Kelly didn’t let anything stand in her way and joins a movement of women just like her opening the doors of small businesses at record rates.

Business is in Kelly’s blood. Growing up, her parents owned the local laundromat where her father engineered the operation and her mother kept the books.

“For as long as I can remember, I dreamed  of owning my own business one day,” she said. “I went through phases when it was a restaurant or health club or retail store. No matter what the business, making my own decisions and being my own boss was a clear life goal from very early on.”

Kelly had her first facial from an esthetician friend of her mother’s when she was 16. Little did she know, that one experience would change the trajectory of her life years down the line. After graduating with a degree in entrepreneurship and small business management from Northern Illinois University, Kelly knew she needed a job.

“It was 1994 and back then, finding a job was completely different than it is today,” she recalled. “The Internet wasn’t what it is today, and I knew I was going to have to settle for something that put food on the table and paid the bills right away.”

Food on the table turned out to be not as easy as it seemed. She wasn’t making a lot of money, and even more importantly, wasn’t feeling professionally fulfilled. She dabbled in human resources and also did a stint with an association management company. Nothing seemed to be the right fit, so she decided it was time for a change. Just three months before she had planned to step away from her employer, Kelly got laid off.

Despite the roadblock, she managed to put herself through esthetician school where she graduated at the top of her class. Even she’ll admit times were not easy during those years, relying on inconsistent and typically small tips and other very humbling means. Although Kelly’s life lacked in luxuries during that time, she was rich with a passion she didn’t know could exist. This is what she was meant to do, and now it was her time to make it happen.

With her parents’ moral support throughout, in 2006 Kelly rented a room from a family friend who owned an electrolysis practice out of which she opened her doors for the first time. Kelly had finally gotten her break and Absolute Precision Skincare was born.

On her first day in business, Kelly saw four clients – her mom and three friends. Fast-forward almost 10 years and business is booming. She’s moved into a larger facility, has added three additional employees, and has cultivated a client base so robust that there’s a significant waiting list even to book an appointment. Absolute Precision Skincare has been rated the #1 Esthetician in Chicago by Time Out Magazine and earned a #1 rating from Allure Magazine for offering the “best facial in Chicago.”

“I am so grateful for what I have and the success that I’ve experienced,” said Kelly. “I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish with hard work and dedication. I hope other women see that no matter what challenges are thrown your way or obstacles you face, realizing your dream is possible.”

Spoken like a woman who knows what she’s talking about.