By Maysem Awadalla
David Heller was calling numbers at a bingo game in the Jewish Community Center in the 1980s when fate changed his world.
“Shlomit walked into the room, and that was the beginning of my life,” he said.
David and Shlomit Heller have been together ever since. They opened their first store in 1986 and are now celebrating 35 years in business together. They run Beauty Network at 5748 Geary Blvd.
As immigrants and small-business owners, the Hellers know first hand the struggles of opening a small business in San Francisco. They learned from one another and grew their business through learning about the area and the people around them. David and Shlomit were both young when they immigrated to the United States from Israel and both had hopes to create lives for themselves.
David got his start in business in the fashion industry. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, he moved on to work for various fashion industries and eventually, his efforts won a Coty award, once considered the industry’s “Oscar.” After 10 years of owning Beauty Network alongside his wife, Shlomit, David became the president of the Greater Geary Boulevard Merchants and Property Owners Association. Through his position, he earned many awards and has made a significant contribution to helping small businesses in San Francisco. He remains in that position to this day.
Shlomit began taking an interest in the science behind the skin. She decided to go into esthetics shortly after they opened the business. She started her own skin care line based on clean ingredients that are good for the skin.
“I always had that desire to be honest to the consumer,” she said.
Shlomit started her brand, Shlomit’s Skin Ecology, because she has always had a fascination with the physiology of the skin.
“I took tons of classes on physiology and cosmetic chemistry. I always have this desire to learn more about the skin. The skin has its own ecological system, and my brand has some science to the name. I hope one day everyone will use products to take care of their skin and not just because it smells good, but so that it is supportive and protective to the skin.”
When their business first opened in 1986, Shlomit had a clear vision for what products she wanted to feature in the store.
“In 1986, I was really an innovator. There weren’t a lot of products, but I always cared about what was in a product. Every product that I brought into my store had to be to my standards.” David and Shlomit said this was extremely important to them because they care very much about their consumers who rely on them to provide products that are efficient and functional.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses have been greatly affected, and Beauty Network is no exception.
“There were many expenses, and nothing was coming in,” David said. “The thing that really saved us was the internet. It really helped us a lot to stay alive.”
The Beauty Network website makes it possible to reach customers all over the world without those customers leaving their homes. Online stores have been extremely important to helping those who have been homebound due to the lockdown measures.
Both David and Shlomit have high hopes for their business and believe that people are slowly beginning to get more secure about venturing out of their homes.
While Beauty Network has been around for 35 years, David and Shlomit never applied for official City-sanctioned legacy business status. Although they never filled out the paperwork to become a legacy business, they still see themselves as a legacy because of their customers.
“Our legacy is our clients. Everyone is our friend and family member,” Shlomit said
As for future plans, David and Shlomit are focusing on continuing to grow their business. They want to continue providing for their customers.
“We don’t have any plans other than doing whatever we can to keep our business going,” Shlomit said. “We are doing everything we can to provide services to the community.”
David and Shlomit wanted to emphasize their gratitude.
“We really appreciate the support of the neighborhood and the people who understand how difficult it is for small businesses to stay afloat,” Shlomit said.
To learn more about Beauty Network and to access their online shop, go to www.beautynetwork.com.
Categories: Small Businesses