Local business grows out of tragedy
Valley Campus / January 10, 2016 / Written by Margaret Sanderson
It was June 27, 2011, a day Crystal (Chisholm) Anderson will never forget. She was washing dishes and talking on the phone when her parents walked in. Her mom couldn’t stop crying and her dad could hardly look at her. At first she thought something had happened to one of her siblings. “What happened?” she asked. She couldn’t believe what her Dad was saying, “Jerod was in an accident……He died, Cryst.” She felt like she was dreaming. She immediately thought of her five-year-old who was very close to her Daddy. ‘No no no no!’ she thought. ‘This can’t be true. Where is Neah? Where is my little girl?’ Moments later she cried out to God, “We believe in you. Why me? Why us, God?” She recalled a blanket of peace immediately settled over her as she heard in her mind, ‘My Son died too and Jerod was also my son. I know your pain and I will take care of you. You will see your husband again.’ Despite the challenging times to come, that peace would remain with Crystal and she would confidently assure her girls that they would see their Daddy again.
She had just graduated from esthetician training at Trinidad State. She and her husband, Jerod, had already named her new skin care business. They both wanted something that indicated, not only outer beauty, but inner beauty as well and they wanted a business name that would reflect how they felt about God. Together they settled on ‘Essential Radiance.’
Jerod had moved his tree trimming business and his family home from Silverthorne the year before and they were living in Del Norte. Crystal had found a place in South Fork where she could offer skin care. They were both excited about her new career and the move they would make in three days to the home they were buying in South Fork. But a tree branch Jerod had sawed off caught an electric line and pulled it against the boom lift bucket he was standing in. He was only 25. Their daughters were five and two.
Their belongings were boxed and ready for the move. Crystal knew that without Jerod she couldn’t afford the home in South Fork and called the owners to turn it back. The home they were in had been rented but the landlord allowed her to stay there a few extra days so she could take care of immediate details. Knowing that she alone would now be responsible for her two little girls, she thought about the written exam she was already scheduled to take on July 5. She had passed her practical esthetician exam just eight days before. She dared not wait. Numb with grief, yet buffered by God’s promise and the peace she continued to feel, she planned Jerod’s funeral service which was held on July 3. On July 5 she drove to Pueblo, accompanied by a close relative, and took the written exam. “Okay, Lord, I need to be able to provide for my girls. I’m depending on you to bring everything back into my memory. You know I haven’t had a chance to study, but I need to pass this test.” She knew that Jerod had sacrificed so much to help her accomplish her dream and when she learned she had passed, she exclaimed, “Thank you, Lord! I did it, Jerod!”
On July 8 her family and friends rallied around her and helped her move into the couple’s travel trailer now parked in front of her parents’ home. She needed some time alone to process and be with her girls. Her household belongings were put in storage.
Just three days prior to his death Jerod had told Crystal what to do and whom to call about his business if something ever happened to him. In retrospect she felt God had been preparing her.
After two weeks, she moved out of the travel trailer and in with her parents until she could locate a home to rent. She found one two months later in the country. Work in South Fork was slow, but she and the girls needed some recovery time and she believes, just as He had promised, God provided for her and her children.
Nearly a year later she met Robert Anderson at an Easter BBQ. When she saw him in quick succession at two more events, she said to God, “Lord, if this is the man that you have in mind for me and my little girls, he’ll have a real encounter with you. My future husband has to love you with all his heart and love my girls as his own.”
Crystal then decided a move to Alamosa would be more lucrative for her business. She interviewed with two beauty salon owners and prayed about the right fit. For the next year and a half she worked at Lucky You and dated Robert Anderson. “I went to church with her once and I wanted to read the Bible!” Robert said as he laughed. They were married on February 23, 2013. “I got what I asked for,” Crystal said, “a man who loves the Lord with his whole heart and my daughters as his own. I am so blessed by the man of God that my Robert is. He is an amazing support, friend, companion and step dad. And his 12 year-old son, Trent, is a good brother to my girls.”
On January 2, 2014, Crystal opened her ‘Essential Radiance’ skin care business in Alamosa just across the street from Trinidad State where she got her start. In her heart she believes Jerod would be proud.
Essential Radiance was founded less than two months after her husband died in a tree trimming accident and less than three months after she graduated from Trinidad State in 2011. Crystal (Chisholm) Anderson was determined to support her two young girls. She worked from two different locations, first in South Fork and then in Alamosa until she could open her own spa in January 2014 at 1102 Main Street, Suite C in Alamosa.
During the planning process for her spa, Anderson gathered some basic, practical advice from a business coach she found on-line. At first she had two treatment rooms, but last month she expanded her business after she acquired the adjoining space to her east where SLV Transportation was located. Quadrupling in size and featuring five private treatment rooms and space for nine technicians, Essential Radiance now offers an impressive array of skin care options including facial and body sculpting, teeth whitening, eyelash extensions, bridal make up, analysis and instruction make up classes, facial and body waxing, lash and brow tinting, customized skin care treatments and anti-aging facial treatments. Anderson intends to add a massage therapist and another nail tech. She continues to take advanced courses at the Colorado College of International Aesthetics in Denver. In September she completed a course on paramedical airbrush make-up which covers up things like tattoos, birthmarks, and tan lines.
Anderson drew the spa remodel design herself and with a knack for interior decorating, she chose black, white and shades of grey with simple but elegant décor. She had a sound system installed in every room and she plays instrumental music and sounds of nature to help create a peaceful relaxing environment. “A spirit of excellence is what Essential Radiance is,” said her husband, Robert Anderson. “When people walk in to Crystal’s place of business, they feel God’s presence. They may not know what it is, but they feel God’s presence,” said Anderson who married Crystal in February 2013. He believes God used Crystal to deepen his own faith.
Anderson credits God for her success. Only three days before his death Jerod told Crystal whom to call and what to do if anything should happen to him. After his death, financial support poured in and Crystal’s future quickly unfolded as she met Robert, married him a year and a half later, and then started the spa she and Jerod had dreamed about.
Of the five skin care specialists who work at Essential Radiance in Alamosa, four are Trinidad State graduates and two more will begin work there in November.
Her first skin care recruit was her cousin, Brianne Madril, who was already working toward her Cosmetology degree at Trinidad State. Crystal knew that Brianne had always taken special care of her skin and she convinced Brianne to concentrate her
studies on skin care offering her a work space after she graduated in December 2013. “Crystal and I presented a make-up class at Trinidad State and I talked about eyebrows. I love focusing on eyebrows,” said Madril.
Michelle Martinez Cruz earned her Associate Degree in Psychology at Trinidad State and intended to pursue a four-year degree. But she needed a break from those studies and decided to study Cosmetology. After she met Anderson at a make-up class she taught at Trinidad State, Cruz asked if she could do her “school to work” (required hours of experience) at Essential Radiance. Cruz eagerly took the space Anderson offered her after she graduated in December of 2014. “Crystal just really opened my love for skin care because she loves it too. It’s so relaxing that some ladies just come in here and take a nap,” she said as she looked at her client, Tiffany Archuleta, who had grown very quiet as Cruz applied her eyelash extensions. “Did I fall asleep again?” asked Archuleta as she joined the conversation. Cruz continued, “I have the eyelashes too. It’s addicting. I’ve learned so much from Crystal. It’s hard believing it’s even a job. I love working here.”
Christina Rodriguez began her studies at Trinidad State earning her CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), but soon learned that area of study didn’t suit her. She switched to Cosmetology, graduating with Anderson in May of 2011. She was working out of her home when she saw a note Anderson posted on Facebook indicating she was looking for a nail tech. Rodriguez responded immediately saying, “Crystal, count me in!”
By appointment only, Lindsay Blankenship, a physician’s assistant from Oklahoma, offers Botox and Juvederm treatments. Both are methods of temporary facial wrinkle removal.
When Valerie Romero, a client of Crystal’s, was sharing her dream about the medical side of skin care, Crystal told her about her expansion and invited her to offer permanent make-up at her spa. Beginning in November, Romero, along with Melanie Archuleta, both Trinidad state nursing graduates with over 20 years of experience each, will be offering permanent make-up (tattooing) for eyebrows, eyeliner and lip liner. By next year they hope to offer laser treatments for hair or tattoo removal.
“I found my studies at TSJC to be very, very thorough. I definitely felt like I had the knowledge and confidence to begin my own skin care business,” said Anderson. “Lourdes Fleming taught me about many skin care possibilities and I felt like ‘the sky’s the limit for me!’ My education at TSJC gave me the basics. I’ve gone on to learn about and offer much more.”
“Our hard-working clients deserve nothing but the best,” said Anderson. “I’ve made it a priority to remember that I will do all things as though I am doing them unto the Lord.”