Women of Substance: Patricia Owen
Founder and President
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Affiliations: ISPA, PBA, DSA, US Chamber of Commerce, currently service on the board of directors of the US Chamber of Commerce
Patricia Owen’s beauty career started behind the counter as an educator and makeup artist for Estee Lauder cosmetics. Later, she opened FACES as a small ladies retail boutique on Hilton Head Island, then over the years transformed into an award-winning day spa. In addition to beauty, Owen’s biggest passion is business, and over the years her involvement with her local Chamber of Commerce led to her sitting on the boards of the U.S. Small Business Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, involving her in national conversations about issues, such as taxes, access to financial regulation and health care reform. She’s even represented the small business owner in testimony before the U.S. Congress.
Who was your mentor? “My mentor was, and still is, the former vice president of Estee Lauder cosmetics, Ida Stewart. She is an amazing woman who leads by example. Always direct and to the point, she says what she is thinking and is a strong believer in fairness and integrity. Because of her, I have always tried to find a way to express myself and my ideas in a way that will make a difference.”
As a woman, what barriers, if any did you come across during your professional growth? “I trust and rely heavily on my women’s intuition and believe a successful business owner needs to be visionary. Not a pessimist, but rather a realist, I try to always keep my eye on ‘what could happen next’ in order to be prepared for anything that could come our way. Saying I think ‘out of the box’ is somewhat of an understatement and and when faced with adversity I keep looking until finally find the hidden silver lining. In a word, I am ‘driven,’ never giving up and never being satisfied with the status quo. Questioning how we can improve makes me continue to strive to be even better.”
What would you consider to be your biggest professional break? “When I first opened FACES DaySpa in 1983, we provided a real unmet need in the community by offering Estee Lauder cosmetics so our business thrived. Soon after, however, a large shopping mall opened nearby with its own department store cosmetics counter. The competition forced me to look at my business and take a leap into the unknown. That’s when we expanded into the professional skincare arena—and from the brink of failure our business took off to new heights. With the help of an SBA loan, we were able to purchase and renovate a recently-closed jewelry store adjacent to our original space and expand, to become the award-winning spa that we are today.
What’s the best business advice anyone ever gave you? “I’d have to say my husband who reminds me daily ‘You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.’”
What’s business achievement are you most proud of? Over the years, we have won industry and business award on a statewide, national and international level where we have competed and won against some of the best small businesses in America. Yet, what we value most is the endorsement of the locals who consistently vote us as their ‘favorite spa’ year after year.”
What’s the best business book you’ve ever read? “Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson.”
What do you hope to achieve in the next five years? "Having spent more than a quarter of a century starting and growing my business, I want to be able to spend my future giving back. As a member of the board of directors and the chairperson of the Hilton Head Island Small Business Committee, I am able to share my wealth of experience with other small business owners in my community. On a national level, as a member of the US Chambers Council on Small Business, I am able to help identify issues that are of concern form small businesses like mine so the Chamber can formulate policies to act upon. In addition, the Council assists small business members in creating effective grassroots actions and strategies on legislative and regulatory initiatives.I consider it both an honor and a privilege to have also been appointed to the US Chamber’s Board of Directors. As the voice of business, the Chamber’s core purpose is to fight for free enterprise before Congress, the White House, regulatory agencies, the courts, the court of public opinion, and governments around the world"