ALAMOSA — In May of 2011, Crystal Chisholm graduated from Trinidad State with her esthetician (skin care) degree. She and her then husband, Jerod Chisholm, had already named the spa she planned to create. They wanted the name to reflect God. They agreed on “Essential Radiance.” Crystal explained, “Essential because God is an essential part of our lives and because it is essential to take care of yourself; and, Radiance because it reflects the beauty God puts in each and every one of us.”
But less than two months after graduation, Jerod died in a tree trimming accident leaving Crystal with two little girls, ages 5 and 2.
Fast forward to February 2013 and Crystal married Robert Anderson who credits her for deepening his own faith. “I went to church with her and I wanted to read the Bible.” he exclaimed. Crystal’s daughters now have a stepbrother in Robert’s son and Robert is crazy about “his” girls.
In January of 2014 with Robert’s help, Crystal opened “Essential Radiance” in Alamosa. Since then she has expanded it twice, now occupying the entire 3,500 square foot building where three businesses were once housed. It is located just south across the street and west of the Trinidad State Valley Campus. Robert helps with updates and makes sure all is working properly.
Crystal, who is a dreamer, is grateful for Robert’s influence in her life. “There’s not a lot of people willing to help pick up the pieces from such devastation and loss,” said Crystal referring to Jerod’s death.
“Robert honors and respects all that the girls and I are.
He’s an incredible man, one of a kind. He makes my dreams richer because he’s a doer and wants to see those dreams satisfied. He does the bulk of the handyman work. He’s behind the scenes but he’s part of the heartbeat in this place as well.”
In 2015 when a business in the same building, just east of hers, relocated, Anderson expanded, quadrupling her space which grew her business from two treatment rooms to five.
Anderson took her expertise to another level in 2017, when she entered a national skin care competition. For eight weeks she worked on her model’s face to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Then, she and her family flew to San Francisco where eight skin care specialists from all over the world came to judge. Crystal likened the event to the Oscars in cosmetics, complete with formal wear. “I placed second in the nation which gave me a strong boost of confidence,” she said.
In February of this year, she added salon services in a separate space in the same building when another business relocated. Robert helped Crystal install hundreds of black 12-inch plastic squares with cut out flower designs, each attached to the next. These plastic walls hang from the ceiling to about two feet from the floating floor (installed without nails or glue to a subfloor) that Robert installed. The plastic walls divide the large space into separate rooms allowing the technicians to know what is going on around them while maintaining a feeling of privacy. The décor in each space reflects that technician’s own style. In the salon technicians offer manicures, pedicures, and acrylic nails as well as hair cutting, coloring, styling, perms and extensions.
The spa entrance is accessed using a combination lock thus eliminating needless foot traffic and added noise. Spa treatments are by appointment only. Often, clientele relax and fall asleep during a treatment in the quiet, peaceful atmosphere. On the other hand, walk-ins are welcome on the salon side of Essential Radiance where lively conversation is the norm.
Crystal, whose own skin is flawless, has continued to attend trainings in order to offer Valley residents a cornucopia of treatments. Skin care is Crystal’s specialty, but other technicians offer facial and body sculpting, teeth whitening, eyelash extensions, eyebrow shaping, lash and eyebrow tinting, bridal makeup, makeup analysis and instruction classes, facial and body waxing, customized skin care treatments, anti-aging facial treatments and massage.
Recently she completed a training in Boca Raton, Florida, to learn how to remove tattoos holistically using pure and natural ingredients. She said ink is removed safer and faster than laser removal taking 3-to-6 treatments compared to 15-to-20 laser treatments and the process has lower scar potential. It acts like a magnet, lifting the ink out of the skin. The products used to help heal the skin after tattoo removal are some of the same products she already uses for skin care. The process, called Xtract, removes all ink colors and is safe for all skin types. Anderson has established a separate room in the salon for that purpose.
When facing the decision about offering tattoo removal, Anderson had the rare opportunity to have lunch with her husband, Robert. She said that might happen once a year. Before she shared her thoughts about tattoo removal, Robert surprised her when he expressed a desire to see tattoo removal offered in the Valley. They had not talked about it before. For Crystal that was a sign, a confirmation from God which gave her the courage to proceed with the training.
A total of 10 technicians now work at Essential Radiance. “They’re doing so well,” said Anderson. “It’s so inspiring and encouraging to see their passion and their creativity and their talents. I want to be a supporter of dreams. They are truly what makes this place great. They love what they do, and the clients know it. We are a sisterhood of businesswomen who encourage and support each other.”
“God is very much a part of what I feel Essential Radiance represents,” she continued. “I want this to be a place of rest and peace, a time to take a few moments for yourself. We expect people to leave feeling good.”
Anderson is grateful to Trinidad State, not only for the training she received that laid the foundation for Essential Radiance, but the training that nine of her ten technicians received. With so many of her technicians coming from Trinidad State, the college continues to play an “essential” part in her on-going business history. Her dream for the future is to double what she has. Robert will help that dream come true.