Cosmetic injections were once a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. Today, with the rise of social media, the procedures are so mainstream and accessible that you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t thought about getting a tweak here and there.
Yara Attalla, known as Nurse Yara to her clients, has tapped into this lucrative industry, making a name for herself as a cosmetic injector and expanding her business to two Ontario locations in just four years. Having her own business means she decides how much money she takes home after the business is taken care of. She spoke to us about what it takes to be a successful injector, the challenges she faces and her advice for those aspiring to be in the field.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not reflect the position of Slice.ca and any of its affiliates.
What inspired you to become an injector and pursue being an entrepreneur?
“I actually was going to be a neuroscientist. That was my career path, and one day I went with my mom to a couple of her appointments and I just fell in love. I was just pulled towards it, and I switched career paths. I would go to her appointments with her and I was just very intrigued by the whole thing. I said, ‘You know what, I can do this.’ And I changed my whole career path — my entire life. I never, ever thought that this is what I would do.”
What does a typical day look like to you?
“I love my sleep, so I typically just text the girls [my assistants] and ask them realistically what time I need to be there. They’re usually there before me. My first client is, let’s say, at nine o’clock, so the girls will tell me I have to be there at 9:15. The girls will numb my first client and they put her in my room and then once I get there, the client is ready to go. From there, I’m injecting back-to-back-to-back-to-back. I have to do my charting in between clients. I don’t always have lunch, so sometimes Jeff [my partner] or the girls will order me some food and just force me to eat while someone’s getting numbed. I see maybe nine [clients] on a busy day.”
How did you learn your craft?
“You have to be a nurse or a doctor to be in a position to inject. And afterwards you have to take some basic courses, but the basic courses are never really enough to give you what you need. You need to really work on your skills, whether that means taking more courses or looking for a mentor, shadowing, or getting experience by just injecting people. So all of that you need to do prior to being like ‘OK, I’m confident with injecting.’”
Were there ways your business had to adapt during the pandemic?
“During the lockdowns we had to close on several occasions. We worked with public health and CNO [College of Nurses of Ontario] to know how we can treat our clients safely who require essential services. We had to take safety measures, and had clients wait in their cars or outside until we were ready to bring them in. ”
What’s the most challenging thing about what you do?
“The stress of remaining successful. Once you reach [a certain] level of success it’s called ‘success stress’ [and that’s] where you’re just trying to maintain it. So any little disappointment in terms of disappointing myself will really stress me.”
What do you love most about your career?
“It helps me grow — I feel like I’ve grown so much in such a little amount of time just as a person. I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned so much about myself, like how I’m able to be a leader, take this on and adapt. Other than that, I love meeting my clients. My life revolves around my clients. I love seeing the difference that I can make — a lot of people think that it’s just about beautifying somebody, but really they don’t know that sometimes we have cancer patients that lose so much volume on their faces. To have a little bit more volume in their faces after cancer treatments is a huge thing. Things like that are really memorable. I like the conversations I have with my clients. I like the different relationships I have with them. I get to meet so many amazing people.”
How do you budget?
“I like to reward myself when I do certain things. I’ll say, ‘If I do this, I’m going to buy myself this.’ So, for example, I have this lip trend event coming up which is a big deal for me. It’s my first event ever and I’ve worked so hard for it for a while. So after that event, I’m going to gift myself ‘X.’ That way I can look back and be like ‘I deserved this because…’. But, I mean, I’m not the best at spending — I sometimes spend a lot more than I should. My outfits are important to me so I do spend a lot of money that I shouldn’t on outfits and shoes. Jeff kind of puts me in check when he notices I’m spending a little too much. [laughs]
I would say we have achieved a level of financial stability, but you can never be too comfortable as an entrepreneur. This is a very competitive business where trust and reputation must be maintained at all times, and we have to stay ahead of the trends and unforeseeable challenges that may arise. “
How did you learn how to start and manage a business?
“I read a lot of books, and listened to podcasts related to entrepreneurship. Taking advice from people who have gone through similar challenges and experiences helps me learn how to manage my own business. Social media was definitely a contributor to learning how to market myself and engage with clients. Jeff and I shared the same vision when we actually met, and given his background in managing his own business, he provided a lot of guidance and support.“
How do you deal with the stress of being an entrepreneur?
“It’s very, very stressful, but I try to just make sure that I am not forgetting about myself and making sure that I take some time for myself. I recently had the girls, way in advance, give me some time off. Before I didn’t allow myself to take time off so it was very stressful. Now I’ve allowed myself to do that, even though when I’m on vacation, I’m still kind of working. I’m still involved in the business and I’m still relaxing or [enjoying a] change of scenery. I try to just be around people that I love and work on myself.”
What advice would you give to someone pursuing this career?
“One thing that really helped me — and I got a lot of criticism about this at first — was the idea that you shouldn’t look at what your neighbouring injector is doing. For example, if you’re a dentist, you don’t look at the next door dentist and see what they’re doing. You need to take your own path and just really be yourself and have the business reflect who you are.
I feel like everyone is different. I don’t like copying. I like to find something innovative. How can I take what this person is doing and make it my own? I feel like it inspires people and I love when I inspire other injectors or businesses.”