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Ultimate Makeover

Appearances aren't everything at this skin-care salon.

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This story appears in the December 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Clients of the Sudbury, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Grady skin-care salon don't expect the woman behind the counter to be an experienced cosmetologist or aesthetician. She answers calls and books appointments for waxing, facial and makeup services, so they assume she's a receptionist.

But Kara Chmielewski isn't the receptionist-'s the owner. What's more, she's not a cosmetologist or an aesthetician-'s a former IT project management consultant. Still, while the lines may seem blurred to others, the change makes perfect sense to Chmielewski, 34. After working for two and a half years in IT, she wanted something different- other words, something not tech-related. "When I started looking at businesses to get involved with, I looked at the companies I liked to go to [as a customer]," Chmielewski explains. "I'd been going to Elizabeth Grady for about 10 years."

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