External Affairs opened on the north side of Edmonton in 1995. Today, the brand has two locations (Edmonton and St. Albert) and 22 years’ experience in helping each client feel beautiful inside and out. Here is how this family business stayed strong from the start, and will continue to push the bar of excellence now and into the future. “External Affairs started with Becky & Kathy Wilkins, two sisters in-law,” starts Jamie Smith, general manager. “At first, External Affairs just offered hair, nails and gifts. We have come a long way! We now offer medical and cosmetic treatments, and have a medical physician on staff. We use medical grade lasers and dermatology formulas. We have 3D technology for incredibly precise imaging and measurements. External Affairs also offers bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and EA LYFT for age reversal, age prevention and transformation. “We are very excited about our new science-based hair regeneration treatments, and solutions for sexual performance and dysfunction. What we treat at External Affairs is our clients’ confidence and feeling of attractiveness. This is incredibly unique to each individual.” The founders know that the growth and success of External Affairs is due, in part, to their strong family bond. “When you work alongside your family, there is an added level of comfort and trust. Your family understands the sacrifices of business. They have seen, and helped you through, the hard times, and have been there to celebrate the successes. This gives them a more well-rounded view of your business, and everyone becomes a lot more invested. “However, at first, that added level of comfort and trust can sometimes work against you. There is that personal relationship that needs to be protected, or separated, from the working relationship.” External Affairs has great advice for families thinking about going into business together. “Family and work needs to be separate, to some degree. As a business owner, you can’t make decisions based on a familial relationships. Business decisions need to be sound for the company; it’s important that there is no entitlement or expectation. We ensure that people get jobs and promotions because of their performance, and not because of their relationship to the owners.” The founders extends the term “family” to the team and to the community. “If there is one thing we have learned over the last 22 years, it’s that family does not mean ‘blood relation.’ We have a large extended family, built of many people who have been with us for a very long time. “We have the added benefit of having most of our ‘family’ live and work in St. Albert. Throughout the year, External Affairs donates a lot of silent auction baskets to St. Albert sport teams, fundraisers and charities. We also support and cross promote with many local businesses.” External Affairs is proud to be a successful family business invested in the people and communities of St. Albert and Edmonton. To learn more about External Affairs, visit www.externalaffairs.ca.