Harrod started her journey as a young girl giving friends shoulder massages on her stoop. Credit: Shondrea Harrod.

When Shondrea Harrod was growing up in Long Island, she was always plucking friends’ facial hair and giving them shoulder massages. They were “pro bono” clients on her front stoop or at the park.

She also gave her grandmother regular back rubs to help release any knots in her back. And now, after training in esthetics, Harrod’s famed massages and extractions are part of her business, . She’s also a licensed esthetician instructor, teaching others to be master extractors and beauticians too. At the same time, Harrod teaches her community about the importance of self-care.

“I think people are so used to just trying to survive,” she said. “They’re so used to, ‘I’ve gotta pay these bills. I gotta feed the kids, I gotta do, I gotta do, I gotta do.’ They get lost in that. I like to tell people to slow down and take a second.”

A non-smooth path to soothing skin

In 2014, Harrod followed her passion for soothing others’ skin and bodies to esthetics school. But the path wasn’t so smooth. She was also her grandmother’s part-time caregiver, meaning that schooling that would have otherwise taken her one year to complete took three. When she eventually earned her license in 2017 and became an esthetics instructor, Harrod’s schedule became even more demanding. 

She operated a studio in East Meadow and taught at a beauty school in Long Island. Harrod would then drive to Brooklyn to take care of her grandmother before heading back home. 

While Harrod was in Florida, her clients offered to fly her back home for services or waited for her return instead of switching to another esthetician. Credit: Shondrea Harrod.

“I was all over the place,” she said, adding that the experience gave her a no-excuses approach with students complaining about their commutes. 

In November 2022, Harrod had to shut down her studio. Her grandmother’s health was deteriorating, and Harrod took her to Florida to see if warm weather could help. 

But she was missed. For the year she was gone, some of her New York clients offered to fly her back home for services, and one even flew her to Aruba to do her make-up for her birthday. Others told her they would wait for her return instead of switching to another esthetician. 

Harrod did return in early 2024. Her mother is now taking care of her grandmother, so Harrod was able to return to her city and clients. Until she finds a new physical location, she’s doing make-up and esthetics services only.

Hopes more than skin deep

While she’s based in Queens, Harrod always goes back to her Long Island hometown to see old friends and neighbors  — her first clients. She stops by the places that would fuel her massages back then: the grocery store down the block, the Friendly’s where she and her mother often ate, the schools where she taught. 

As a licensed esthetician instructor, Harrod teaches teaches her community about the importance of self-care. Credit: Shondrea Harrod.

As a child, she never dreamed the services on her stoop would become a career. Her next goal is to open a studio in Florida, where she might move, and always have her New York clients to come back to. 

“It’s not going to be easy,” Harrod said. “If it’s something that you really want, go ahead and go through it, because in the end it’s very rewarding. … It’s not going to be overnight. Don’t look at what anybody else is doing — just focus on what you want.”

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2 Comments

  1. You are awesome! Continue to focus on your Journey! I enjoyed reading all about how you started.

  2. I enjoyed this interview as much as I enjoyed the end results. Thank you Epicenter ż for the opportunity.

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