When Jaclyn Peresetsky entered college, the former high school valedictorian and homecoming queen was on a full-ride scholarship at Ohio State, where she was studying communications. The four-year plan for a successful future was shaping up quite nicely.
Then she took an art class.
After she turned in a still-life figure she had drawn, her professor looked at her with one question.
"What," he asked, "are you doing here?"
Soon, she enrolled at the Columbus College of Art & Design to pursue a passion-and talent-she didn't know she had.
It was the first mile marker in Peresetsky's unique path, a trail that led the now-31-year-old to create Skin Perfect salon, which is part medical office, part spa. Most recently, Peresetsky has used her artistic expertise and obsession with color to formulate her own makeup line, My Identity (see sidebar).
A range of experiences got her to this point.
While studying art, Peresetsky worked at a department store makeup counter and painted portraits on the side.
"That was where it began," she said. "I learned there were multiple colors in a skin tone and everyone's was different. I learned what colors were needed to make each unique tone." After graduating, she began working as an aesthetician for plastic surgeons, eventually working to create camouflage makeup for the plastic surgery division of Ohio State's medical center. She performed procedures such as re-structuring eyebrows for burn patients or areolas for breast cancer survivors. "That job," Peresetsky said, "was really, really rewarding."
In 2006, Peresetsky combined her experience with her natural business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit and opened Skin Perfect in Worthington. (She has since brought on a business partner and co-owner.) The spa has become known for its focus on custom skincare, and it offers services from massages and permanent makeup to microcurrent and oxygen treatments.
Its success, said salon sales manager Dyana Orem, has a lot to do with Peresetsky. "I have worked in five or six different day spas and clinics over the past two decades," Orem said, "and I have never seen the rate of referrals that Jaclyn gets on a daily basis." She credits that to Peresetsky's ability to make anyone-not just clients-feel welcome and comfortable.
"She doesn't just tell them what they need to do," Orem said. "She educates them as to why they need to use a specific product and what it will accomplish."
Orem herself has been touched by Peresetsky's charisma. When she started working at Skin Perfect two years ago, "I literally came straight from a tanning bed with an all-black wardrobe. She transformed my skin, helped me to lose more than 50 pounds, and taught me how the right color can go a long way with how I look."
Color analysis is a defining niche for the spa. Peresetsky has created a whole system based on her study of color theory to help women learn what hues they should or should not wear.
Peresetsky's beauty is certainly striking, said Dawn Beckman, a singer and teacher in Dublin who has been a client for three years. But she's got the brains to match, too.
"She studies a lot and is very knowledgeable," said Beckman-who also noted she gets complimented on her skin. "Everything she was telling me, she could back up with fact. I felt like I could really trust her. She's the whole package-beautiful but smart, caring but sensible."
Indeed, Peresetsky-a wife and mother of two young boys-isn't about vanity so much as she is about confidence.
"I'm using my experience to help women feel more proud of who they are," she said. "Coming to work is not work for me. We change people's lives here, and increase people's self confidence. It's amazing."
It's fitting that Peresetsky's favorite color is orange-a bright hue that matches her enthusiastic personality. She hopes to next carry her passion into a book about how color plays a role in everyone's life-emotional, spiritual and physical.
Orem, for one, is certain she'll continue succeeding.
"She has set extremely high goals for herself," she said. "Most of the time, these goals, I often think, are ridiculous or unattainable."
But in the two years she has known her, Orem said, Peresetsky has not only reached them all-she also has surpassed them. "She's very ambitious," Orem said, "and empowering."
And that is truly an art.
What's Your Identity? The My Identity makeup concept makes choosing colors simple. It features four categories-cool, neutral cool, warm and neutral warm. Each category includes a palette of makeup (powder, eye shadow, blush, lipstick, etc.) made of colors that complement skin in that category.
The experts at Skin Perfect choose each client's category by setting plastic sheets with skin-toned hues on the woman's skin until the perfect match is found. Foundation is then custom-blended to match the client's skin. She is then shown the full line of makeup that fits her category and best complements her skin.
Peresetsky created the system after spending years recording the ratios of yellow (carotene), red (blood) and brown (melatonin) in a client's skin and tracking what makeup suited them best.
"It was like everything clicked," Peresetsky said. "There are makeup commonalities to the amount of each in your skin."
Girls Night Out Skin Perfect offers color coding consultations to individuals, while also offering color coding parties that make for a fun girls night out. During the party, clients are stripped of makeup and shown what colors of makeup best complement their skin. They are then draped in myriad colors of fabric to show what clothing makes them look best. The results are compiled in a comprehensive book with swatches of an individual's best clothing colors and makeup looks. Clients often end up toting the books with them while shopping for everything from jewelry to home decor, Peresetsky said. The party packages-which can also include full-body evaluations and makeovers-range from $25 to $200 a person. "There are lines out the door for color coding," Peresetsky said. "People say, 'You showed me how to embrace my skin color.' "