“We just have this connection,” Catherine Larochelle says about newfound friend Fanny Lachance. “Like, even my husband said yesterday, ‘So when’s the wedding?’” She giggles with Fanny, the easy chemistry between the two women palpable even through the screen of the Zoom interview.
The pair may seem like unlikely friends. Although both work in esthetics, Larochelle is a recent (December) graduate from Versailles Academy in Ottawa who runs a home-based spa, Larochelle Aesthetics, and Lachance has about 20 years of experience as an aesthetician under her belt and operates her day spa, Pure Esthetics, in Hearst. The two agree that a ten-hour road trip lies between them.
L’Moor is what originally connected Fanny and Catherine. Fanny has worked with L’Moor for five years, she recalls. Catherine says she has been with L’Moor since September of last year after enjoying the Moor Spa body treatment products she used at Versailles Academy.
It was through the weekly Esthies and their Besties Tuesday morning calls, though, that made the two become aware of each other. L’Moor hosts a Zoom call every Tuesday morning to create opportunities for learning, connection and support in response to the pandemic, although that has become so much more in recent months.
But it was their similar morning routine that really made the two women connect on a more personal level, as told by Catherine after Fanny volunteers her to share their friendship origin story.
“I think you know the story more than me,” Fanny says to Catherine on the call, giggling.
“I think she likes the way I tell the story. I’ve said it many times,” Catherine says.
Catherine begins by stating that she is a morning riser and that is often when she posts on her social media accounts.
“I just noticed that there was an esthetician that kept liking my stuff really early in the morning,” she says.
“And then we started following each other and then I also noticed that she was also posting really early.”
Then, Catherine launched her spa retreat in March.
“She was so cute - the first day I opened she messaged me,” she says, referring to Fanny, “and she said, ‘So how was your first day?’ - as if I had ten people come to my spa, and I was like ‘Oh it was good. I didn’t have anybody,’” Catherine laughs. “But I just thought it was just so cute.”
Catherine mentions almost as an aside that she did have clients later in the week.
“But anyway, it was just really cute how she was so supportive,” she says.
From there, the two began messaging each other, supporting each other throughout the pandemic.
“We started communicating more during the last lockdown we had back in April,” Catherine says.
And then came the wine phone date – the first phone call the two women would share.
“It was a Friday night and we talked for two hours on the phone,” Catherine says while Fanny giggles.
“It felt like we knew each other for years,” she continues. “There was no awkwardness."
Both women agree the call is when they knew they would be great friends.
“I think the call really opened our eyes,” Fanny says. “Don’t you think, Catherine?”
Now they talk on the phone every morning at seven o’clock, according to Catherine.
“Six o’clock sometimes,” Fanny adds.
What do they talk about on these calls?
“Everything,” Fanny says.
Not too long ago the pair met for the first time when Fanny was visiting family who happened to live in the same area as Catherine in Ottawa.
According to Fanny, when Catherine asked where Fanny’s aunt lived, she realized they were only minutes apart.
“She said, ‘Well, it’s five minutes from my place, so I need to see you.’,” Fanny says.
Catherine says she thought Fanny was hesitant at first because of the pandemic – Fanny confirms this with a head nod and a quick “Yep” – but that she wasn’t going to take no.
“I said, ‘Your aunt can live anywhere in Ottawa,” Catherine says. “’But you’re literally five minutes.’ I said, ‘I’m not taking no for an answer.’”
Fanny says they met at a Starbucks and then outside at Catherine’s place.
“It was like meeting, I don’t know, like someone for a long time that you miss,” Fanny says. “I was shaking inside – it was so happy.”
The two have managed to foster a friendship during a time when connecting with friends has seemed difficult due to the pandemic and its lockdowns.
“I find finding a friendship like this now is rare especially during COVID where you don’t see anybody, you know?” Catherine says.
Fanny expresses the wish they have to see more of each other, with the importance of the connection they’ve established. She compares this feeling to that of missing in-person client interaction.
“You know when you do a virtual consultation, you want to be able to see your client, you want to see her reaction, you want to feel what she’s feeling, you want to – you almost want to touch the client but you can’t,” she says.
Fanny and Catherine have been a constant support to each other, from the beginning of Larochelle Aesthetics to personal challenges they’ve faced.
Fanny was there for “a time when I needed support more than anything,” Catherine says.
But Fanny does not allow herself to be declared the only support. “We were there for each other,” she says.
She says they rely on each other for advice.
“Like I really need Catherine,” she says, laughing. “It’s a need. I find that she really completes me… She’s always going to find the beautiful answer,” Fanny continues, referring to Catherine’s advice. “I don’t know how she does it but it’s a pure message.”
In a time that has brought so much darkness and hardship to so many people, it can be a wonderful thing to see something that has flourished.
“We created a beautiful friendship,” Fanny says.
Esthies and their Besties is open to spa owners, estheticians, and other wellness practitioners to create professional connections, but also ongoing education and support with timely topics that change weekly.