Registered nurses (RN) Carla Nelson, 38, and Wendy Jules, 41, are the sister entrepreneurs and founders of Fleur De Lis Beauty & Esthetics, a luxury health and wellness spa that centers beauty, self-care, and education for skin of color.

Fleur De Lis offers a wide range of services, including facials, chemical peels, botox, fillers, microneedling, laser hair removal, IV hydration drips, beauty products, and consultations for skin and gut health. They’ve grown their business to serve about 3,000 clients, 80% of which return on a regular basis, said the sisters.

“Whenever we do product trials or new machinery, we always make sure everything that we have is good for skin of color,” said Jules, “Although we service and love everyone, that is the center and focus.”

The spa is located in their hometown of Flatbush, Brooklyn. Nelson and Jules grew up in Flatbush. Their parents are both Haitian immigrants. They loved how freeing their childhood in the borough was. “We could have chosen to open up in the city because that’s where everybody goes, but we wanted to be home,” said Jules.

Nelson made the move first to go to nursing school back in 2007 to support her family. She worked in hospice and in-patient services. Nelson said that after having her first child, she strove to give her daughter a better life, especially as the descendant of proud immigrants.

“I wanted to give her more than what my parents could afford,” said Nelson.

Her older sister followed into the profession shortly after, working in corporate and travel nursing. They made the decision to become entrepreneurs when they noticed a stark lack of diversity in skincare for their community. One dermatologist even prompted her to lie to a patient of color about their condition, which was a disheartening experience, said Jules.

“That really made me sad that the doctor wanted me to not be honest with the patient, who really was just looking for help,” said Jules, “so that always stuck with me and I said no matter what I do, we will be the most integritous and help our people.”

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Nelson, who worked in the dermatology and plastic surgery fields, got additional schooling to be a licensed esthetician (LE). “It’s important to teach children about skincare and it’s the largest organ in our bodies,” said Nelson. “It’s only in the U.S. that skincare is not seen to be a nursing degree. In other countries it’s a four year degree. So I want to spread positive information and help educate everyone about skin health. Skin health is health in general.”

The sisters started the business in a very small space, jokingly referred to as a closet, building out their clientele until they could afford larger accommodations. The name of the spa, Fleur De Lis, was inspired by the French phrase for ‘royalty’ and their mother’s name, Elise. By 2019, they were ready to branch out.

Coincidentally as soon as they found a home on Flatbush Avenue, the pandemic and subsequent shutdown hit in 2020. But, because Nelson and Jules were registered nurses, they were allowed to continue operating as essential workers.

“We’re sisters and we foster that sisterhood with our clients as well,” said Nelson. “It’s a vibe, it’s a connection.”

Last week, the sisters were given the Best of Little Caribbean award for Best Caribbean Owned Interior Design Beauty Spa.
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about politics for the Aficionperu. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting https://bit.ly/amnews1.

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