Northside SF  

Marina merchant profile: Kristin Kirmeier of Inspired Skin Care
By John Gollin

Kristin KirmeierIn all the years I’ve owned it, I’ve never done more to my face than wash it twice daily using whatever bar of soap I found in the nearby soap dish. I was given good skin genes; a few quick splashes of water were all my face ever seemed to need. When Kristin Kirmeier, proprietor of Inspired Skin Care on Buchanan Street in the Marina, sent me an e-mail in mid-April offering a one-hour medifacial, I thought to myself, “There’s nothing wrong with my skin. Why would she think I needed a treatment?” And, “Do men get facials?”

I’d met Kristin the day before at the monthly meeting of the Marina Merchants Association. Her e-mail to me also indicated that she was considering placing an ad in the Marina Times or Northside San Francisco. Since the first of the year, as editor and publisher of these two community papers, I’ve been on a quest to meet and get to know the merchants and residents in the Marina and Cow Hollow neighborhoods, so it seemed like a good idea for me to take Kristin up on her generous offer. It would give me the opportunity to learn a bit more about a Marina merchant and possibly sell an ad. I made an appointment for my medifacial for the following Thursday.

As I walked down Buchanan Street before my appointment, I heard my mother’s voice in my head: “Are you really getting a facial? Men don’t get facials, Johnny.” She has been dead for 15 years, but her voice, all too often, pops up when I feel a bit insecure about an action I’m about to take. “Chill, Mom,” was my reply, “it’s 2009 and I’m pretty sure men do get facials.”

Inspired Skin Care has a warm and inviting feel to it. More like walking into someone’s comfortably decorated home than a professional office. Kristin is the consummate professional. She seems to know everything about the care and nurturing of skin and quite a bit about healthful living habits that help promote beautiful skin. Kristin assured me that men do in fact get facials. (“See Mom, I was right.”). Although most of her clients are women, she does have male clients as well.

Kristin is an authentic Marina entrepreneur and small business owner who lives and works in the community. She cares about her business, her neighbors and San Francisco. As Kristin massaged and cleansed my face, we talked about my skin and diet – not good, but if I take just some of Kristin’s healthy eating suggestions, it will be much improved very soon, and over time I will see the benefits to my skin and general health.

We also talked about the business climate in the City, the challenges of owning a small business in the current economy, and the need to support other small locally owned businesses. She was pleased about her recent visit to Nettie’s Crab Shack on Union Street, where not only did she enjoy a great meal but also had the opportunity to support a relatively new business in the community.

Kristin is tall and very striking with model good looks, and she’s smart. Very smart. And business savvy. She shared her story about how she took classes at night to become an esthetician while working at her well-paying, secure, high-tech career during the day. She was inspired by her sister, Kari, who had created a great life for herself as an esthetician in Minnesota, their home state. Now Kristin says she is living a more fulfilling and contented life, she is in control of her time and her schedule, and is doing something she is passionate about and truly loves. And she likes her clients, some of whom have become her friends. In Kristin’s opinion, trading a high income and secure job for the uncertainties and challenges of small business ownership have been well worth it.
Her business is good, even in this economy – especially in this economy. Her clients see a visit to Kristin’s spa-like office as a very affordable way to get away from the stresses of daily life and pamper themselves while experiencing a skin-enhancing, relaxing facial. (I have to agree wholeheartedly. I’ve returned twice since my first visit with Kristin, and each time I’ve fallen asleep during the treatments and felt refreshed afterwards.)

Before I knew it, an hour had passed. As Kristin and I were chatting, she was skillfully and carefully working wonders with my skin. As I got up to leave, I glanced in the mirror and saw the face of a relaxed and peaceful man looking back. I’m a bit embarrassed to say this, but I loved the treatment. I really did. That tired look that I sometimes get late in the day was gone. And I felt happy. I had a great time getting to know Kristin and was inspired by her courage, determination and hard work.
Later that evening my dinner companions commented on how relaxed and rested I looked and wanted to know my secret. I told them. The women at the table said that they regularly get facials so they weren’t surprised by the results. The men had never considered getting facials, but were now intrigued and asked for Kristin’s contact information.

Inspired Skin Care: 3623 Buchanan Street (at Bay), 415-440-3900,

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