Moderator: Welcome to today’s episode of True to Form with your host, President and Co-founder of Crystal Clear, highly regarded speaker and two-time Inc. 500 entrepreneur, Tim Sawyer. True to Form is a podcast that highlights leaders making headway in the aesthetic, anti-aging and elective medical industries. Learn from the experts to discover the secrets to success, and the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to growing your aesthetic revenue with the authentic, the transparent, Tim Sawyer.
Tim Sawyer: Hello and welcome to True to Form, the podcast that connects you to the people, technology and hot topics that shape the elective medical community. Brought to you by the leader in digital marketing software and employee training, Crystal Clear Digital Marketing. I’m your host, Tim Sawyer. To our returning guest, we say welcome back and for the first time listeners, we appreciate you joining us and encourage you to become a subscriber. In our last episode, we spoke with Dr. Trent Douglas and Dr. Katerina Gallus, owners of a super successful plastic surgery practice Restore SD in San Diego and they talked about the keys to building a balanced business relationship. So if anyone’s listening and you’re thinking about having a partner, you are having a hard time with your partner, it’s a great podcast for you. So with that being said, today’s guest is a good friend, has been a client of Crystal Clear now for five years, she’s an amazing woman and intelligent business owner.
It’s Christina Imes and Christina Imes received her degree in communications from Loyola University and recently graduated from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. Christina has extensive experience in studio spot management. Her creativity, entrepreneurial and leadership skills have greatly contributed to the expansion and success of Rejuvenate Med Spa and the Rejuvenate Injector Training School which is awesome and I can’t wait to talk about that. Christina coordinates all client functions, injector and laser training, business operations; she runs the place, marketing efforts. She is dedicated to staying at the forefront of the ever changing aesthetics market and strives to keep her clients happy as we all do. So without further ado, I’d like to welcome you to the show, Christina, how are you?
Christina Imes: I am doing wonderfully. Thank you, Tim. Thanks for having me.
Tim Sawyer: Oh, we’re excited.
Christina Imes: Very honored.
Tim Sawyer: We’re excited. So you and I have known each other for a long time. One of the things I don’t know is prior to Rejuvenate Med Spa, what is it that you were doing?
Christina Imes: So right prior to Rejuvenate, I was actually a stay at home mom for probably 10 years before. Yeah. Most important job ever.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah.
Christina Imes: Yeah and then previous to that, I actually owned a yoga studio in Chicago, in the city. It was the Yoga and Wellness Center. I had that for three years and I sold it when I was pregnant with my son right before giving birth to him and then we moved out to the suburbs where I lived a very simple life before entering the world of aesthetics.
Tim Sawyer: Wow and so where did the inspiration, where did you get the idea for Rejuvenate Med Spa?
Christina Imes: So, you know, it actually came from a friend of mine who about six years ago, I guess, she was a neighbor at that time and she is a nurse. And she and I were having, it’s actually a very funny story and I did tell the story on the medical spa insider. So I apologize for people who have already heard this but.
Tim Sawyer: We want to hear it.
Christina Imes: But, anyway, she and I were having. She and I were having a glass of wine. She’s a nurse and she said, hey, would you ever want to own a yoga studio again and I’m like, absolutely not, been there done that. Would you ever want to own a business again, yes. What do you think about med spas and I’m like I have no idea about med spas. Nothing, never heard about them and never thought about them. Well, you know what, we should look into it because your stepfather, my stepfather is a physician and you need a doctor. Oh, alright. So two days later, I go to my stepdad, Dr. Marshall, and I say who was and still is working in the ER and I said, hey, would you ever be interested in opening up a med spa? No. Okay. I never give it another minute of thought, well not never but at that time I didn’t right, never researched it, nothing. That is all I had done was asked him that question. So eight months later or something like that, I’m at home and he calls me and he says, hey, do you want to go into the city this weekend at Trump Tower, there’s a laser show. I’m like, what, what are you talking about? Oh, you know what, I warmed up to that med spa idea. Oh, wow, I haven’t even thought about that.
Okay, so off we go to [indiscernible] [00:04:55] show, they do it at pretty much every year, like 21st century aesthetics or something like that and a great, a great, a great show to go too. So anyway, my mother, my stepdad, and I spent that entire weekend there learning and, you know, talking about lasers and all of the fun stuff and I had to leave early on Sunday, so I go home. Two hours later, my mom and my stepdad call me and they say, hey, guess what, we just bought two lasers for, I don’t know, 400,000 dollars, game on and I am like, wait, no that is backwards. That’s not supposed to be how it goes. Anyway, so you know, baptism by fire for me so hello.
Tim Sawyer: And there was it and when did you actually open up, was it 2014 I think?
Christina Imes: So, you know, we started the planning and all of that in 2014 but we didn’t actually open our doors until June of 2015.
Tim Sawyer: Okay and
Christina Imes: Yeah.
Tim Sawyer: I’m a huge fan for those of you who are listening, I have been front and center watching Christina’s success in her Rejuvenate Med Spa project and taking that from zero to a million dollars plus in revenue, killing it and what would you say, so, you know, we do a lot with the American Medical Spa Association, what were some of those early challenges that you had, that you could share with our listeners?
Christina Imes: Yeah and closed 2 million last year, Tim, but.
Tim Sawyer: Whoa.
Christina Imes: Oh God, early challenges, well, you know, having said what I just said, I mean, everything for me was such an incredible learning experience. I think the biggest thing for us was maybe believing every sales person that came to the door and to I probably don’t want to name any specific names, but two companies stand out. Oh, you know, this is going to be the best skincare line ever and for sure you need 30,000 dollars of it from the very first day, of course. So what do we do, there you go here is a check for 30,000. Okay, we’ll have that skincare line, right, no research, just whoever shows up. Yeah, I mean, just silly, silly stuff, when I look back and definitely kind of embarrassing but.
And something similar with another filler, you know, you get drawn into the sales people and listen, they have wonderful, you know, there’s wonderful people in this industry and mostly honest, and I get it, they’re doing a job and we’re all here to make money. But I think for us, that was the biggest, the biggest thing that we did initially was spend way too much money and not relate to our research. It was actually one thing I was going to highly recommend to people who are new to this industry or even if you have, you know, currently own a Med Spa like, make sure you are researching this stuff, right. I mean it’s just there’s so much out there and there’s, you know, everything is very expensive and there’s lots of ways to spend money, so be very, very cautious.
Tim Sawyer: I get it and you valued marketing out of the gate. I know that about you.
Christina Imes: Yeah.
Tim Sawyer: And so where that appreciation for, okay, I’m going to open this business, it’s not going to be build it and they will come. Where did you get that business acumen for, oh, you got a yoga studio for a little bit but the true appreciation for marketing, where did that come from?
Christina Imes: Well, I mean, I think it was just that, right. I knew for myself that I’m like wait a minute I’m not even a position, right? I can’t personally market myself. So I need help. There was a lot I mean, I’m in the suburb of Chicago, which is extremely affluent, and there’s, you know, med spas and plastic surgeons all around me, dermatologist. So I knew that I had to, you know, find someone to partner with. And of course, when I went, you know, the very first thing that I did, besides you know, my stepdad buying these lasers, the next thing we did, I should say, was I found AmSpa, and you know, that’s easy to do. Alright just start searching for Med Spa, Chicago, you know, and for me, it’s wonderful because they’re based here in the city. So
Tim Sawyer: Right and AmSpa, the American Medical Spa Association.
Christina Imes: The American med spas, yeah, so and then I went, fortunately, one of their events was just happening to come up and it was a two day thing at, you know, one of the hotels and, and I saw you speak too.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah.
Christina Imes: And you spoke to me, yeah. I mean, like, spoke to me, you know, while I was in the audience and I was like, wow, this, you know, this is where I succeed I think or what I’m really good at is forming relationships with people. And, you know, and knowing when to delegate and knowing what I’m not good at, right. I mean I could do some things with marketing and, you know, I listen to people saying.
Tim Sawyer: Lot of people struggle with that, they really do.
Christina Imes: Lots of people struggle with that. Well, I would say a lot of physicians too, you know, have a hard time letting things go. What was I going to say so, anyway, I think that was the biggest thing for me was just knowing that I really needed help, you know, I knew nothing about this industry and, you know, hearing you talk and listening to, you know, other people at that, you know, AMspa show that day. Yeah. So
Tim Sawyer: And there was.
Christina Imes: Yeah, that’s really which was from and yeah there was exactly.
Tim Sawyer: What would you say, currently, without, you know, giving away trade secrets of competitive market in the current state of your Med Spa, what are the major economic drivers in terms of treatments and procedures because you hear some people say, well, you can ever make money with fillers or dad don’t ever buy a laser or, you know, and many of those people really have no idea what they’re talking about because they don’t actually do it whereas you’re running a modern successful medical spa. So what are the some of the key economic drivers for you?
Christina Imes: Well, I mean, for sure, ours is heavily based on injectables. I mean I have three phenomenal nurse injector, they and a plastic surgeon who injects for me as well. So we are heavy on injection and I will tell you that, you know, margins and injections are incredibly challenging and once again, that’s why I talked about, you know, having these relationships with your reps and really trying to work out, you know, getting those freebies for you, trying to work on driving your prices down. I have a lot of advice on how to do that, sadly we don’t have enough time, but I do have a lot of insight on how to get your costs down because if you don’t, you can’t compete with me, right?
Tim Sawyer: Right.
Christina Imes: If you will put up a Med Spa next door and you’re selling your Dysport or you’re buying your Dysport for, you know, the whatever 6 dollars a unit, you cannot compete with my pricing and that is very challenging for people coming into this industry and I get it. So anyway for us that is massive amount of our revenue comes from, you know, I think last year we did a million just in, you know, injectables.
Tim Sawyer: Wow.
Christina Imes: And we do have a lot of lasers right. I have cool sculpting that is huge and the margins on cool sculpting are phenomenal. People even talk about that and oh, the consumable you have to buy the consumable. No, cool sculpting is great margins. I highly, highly recommend that procedure to anyone, you know, anyone opening up.
Tim Sawyer: To include patient satisfaction and.
Christina Imes: An excellent, yes, for sure. Yeah, so and then you know, your bread and butter a lot of times also tends to be, you know, your aesthetician, the laser, right laser hair removal and, so yeah, I mean, we really do run the gamut, you know, but we’re really strictly Med Spa. Even though I have a plastic surgeon here, we do not do any surgeries, nothing like that.
Tim Sawyer: P shot, anything with the P shot, O shot
Christina Imes: Well, you know, it’s funny you say that because my stepfather, we have a second business in the same building in Oak Brook where we are and it is a male, it’s true male medical and it’s a clinic for, you know, ED and he does treatment called GAINSwave for erectile dysfunction
Tim Sawyer: Oh he does have a GAINSWave, okay.
Christina Imes: He does have GAINSWave, yes, so Tim come on out.
Tim Sawyer: Got it. I could do though but then so is that popular the P shot, that seems like it’s catching on with some people?
Christina Imes: It is very popular. Yes. Yes. I think he’s doing like five of them upstairs today right now as we speak. So yeah, very popular.
Tim Sawyer: So you love the injectable piece and is there any advice you would have for someone that collective buying or in other words, how could anybody get their price down, right. In other words, someone coming into the market is that’s kind of the way to do it is they should call you and you can [indiscernible] [00:14:22] ?
Christina Imes: Well, yeah, you know, [indiscernible] [00:14:23] do not like collective buying groups as probably a lot of people know. But there are some ways around that. So yes, I would say anybody who’s interested should just call me. Probably, because I don’t really want to speak to it I do not know.
Tim Sawyer: Got it.
Christina Imes: Millions of listeners, Tim.
Tim Sawyer: Got it and we will give out your contact information at the end and so what are the other things, what are some of the cool things that you’re looking forward to that You might, that you currently don’t have or are there any in your medical spa that you might bring in over the next, you know, year, or two years, are there things you’re looking at right now?
Christina Imes: Sure, yeah, absolutely. So, you know, having spoken about this male, you know, the hormones and all of that for the male that we’re doing upstairs, I think that is kind of a direction that we’re sort of looking at is bringing in it, you know, for the whole female side, right. I mean a lot of the clients that we get obviously there, you know, women, heavy, heavy on the women here, our demographic, and they’re typically older, right. They’re in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and guess what, you know, why are they here for cool sculpting, probably because they’re gaining weight, you know, their hormones are changing. So it’s really, I think that is a trend just happening generally. You know, what’s happening with we’re turning our sides. I think it’s happening in the industry is people are starting to look at the client as a whole and everything with it. Right?
Tim Sawyer: Right.
Christina Imes: So you come in for full sculpting, well, let’s talk about, you know, why are you gaining weight, you know, what’s happening, oh, your hormones, let’s get you tested, we do have hormones. Actually, I have a wonderful PA that we work with for female hormones.
Tim Sawyer: Oh good.
Christina Imes: So anyway, that’s sort of where we’re turning our sides too.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah, I see, wellness in general, so if you think about Crystal Clear’s business, Christie, it’s the two largest constituencies that we have, our aesthetics and wellness, right, so the A4M, which is the American Academy on anti-aging. Those are heavily, heavily popular attended events a couple times a year and the huge focus, there’s a trend now called precision medicine, right. So it starts with DNA testing and then, like you said, treating the entire patient and it seems to me like people are more open to that now and like you said, ultimately, you’re treating the final product, right, I put on weight, but to talk about how did that happen and then try to prevent it from them coming back a year later for more cool sculpting is I think it’s a really, really smart idea. The other thing I want to ask you to get a business to the level that yours is at, as you know, is extremely challenging and I know you as a person and what would you say are some of the principles, you know, the general concepts that you apply to the business early on that said, okay, if I’m going to get this thing to where I need it to be, these are the things that I need to stick to, did you ever think about that?
Christina Imes: I mean, you know, I don’t know that I did initially when I was, you know, in it. It’s funny I always say what like my yoga studio taught me, you know, a little bit and now the Med Spa world has taught me a lot and then I think about, you know, what my third business is going to be and it is possibly a multi, I am going to be a billionaire with that one. So, I mean, you know, of course, now I do and I think it goes back to sort of what I said previously, especially for someone like myself, who is, you know, and my stepfather is not one of our main providers here, either. So the fact that I am not someone who is, you know, actually doing, you know, procedures here, right, so I have to make sure that everyone on my staff is phenomenal at their job, right?
Tim Sawyer: Right.
Christina Imes: So this is what I’m, like I said that that I think I’m very, very good at is, you know, finding talent, keeping talent, relationships, I mean, it’s just huge. I can’t stress it enough, you know, how my reps will do anything for me. If one of my girls runs out of a cool sculpting card, you know, in the middle of the day, and my rep is an error or she would meet me somewhere, right, like they’re not doing that for everybody. So, that’s like, that’s very, very important and then I would say the other thing really is our culture. You know, I try to create a phenomenal culture of fun here. You know, and obviously, you know, it can be very serious in medicine and all of that. But yeah, I always tell people make sure that you’re hiring for your culture and not for the talent, right?
Tim Sawyer: Right.
Christina Imes: Because that that won’t work.
Tim Sawyer: Right and you don’t see it’s funny because I just wrote an article entitled leadership versus management which came out of a podcast that I had with another super success, just like you, Kristy Morrow, who owns Mariposa Med Spa, and we were having this great conversation, and you can tell that was really important to her was the culture in her practice, right, that we have a strong culture and if somebody doesn’t fit into that, then either they can be the greatest injector in the world, but it really wouldn’t make sense to bring them into your culture. And how do you balance, it’s interesting, is because you can end up with divas, right, if you’re not careful divas who start talking about your patients as my patients, right, these are my patients and how do you?
Christina Imes: Sounds like you are familiar with me, Tim.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah and so how do you balance that?
Christina Imes: Well, I guess for me, you know, balance it. I’m not really sure how I balanced it, you know, before. Now, I guess I’m just much more cautious making sure, you know, I can tell the warning signs now if that’s about to happen. So I honestly, I don’t really have that anymore. I mean I did at one point have, you know, some divas working for me and that didn’t work workout and I think that, you know, it’s funny that what is very much happening in this industry with the injectors is they are becoming little say, like Instagram stars, if you will, right.
Tim Sawyer: Right.
Christina Imes: Especially, the ones who are good at what they’re doing and that’s if you are going to be a popular injector making lots of money, you need to be good on social media and the ones that are become these little stars. You know, I used to go out with one of my injectors and whatever around here, and people come up to her, I’m not kidding. Oh my god are you so and so, I am like really, that is miracle, you know. So they’re definitely that is absolutely can happen. So yes, it is something now I know I guess the warning signs to watch for so.
Tim Sawyer: That’s awesome. Are you a board member with AMspa?
Christina Imes: I am on their board, yes, yeah for the medical show.
Tim Sawyer: Got it.
Christina Imes: I am the advisory for, yeah.
Tim Sawyer: What’s cool for our listeners, the medical spa show, it’s the American Medical spa has their annual Show in Las Vegas and it’s really, it’s an awesome show and we heavily attend, you know that we’re huge sponsors. What’s going to be new and cool at the Med Spa show this year, what can our listeners expect, what they have to look forward to?
Christina Imes: Wow, what’s new and cool. You know what, I actually, I’m not really sure yet. I don’t know that we’re ready to start talking about, you know, I mean, obviously, we’re going to have, you know, a lot more speakers, a lot more, you know, of the hands on injections that they were doing last year, which was the first year they did that, you know, for injectors who can come in and you know, get whatever hands on experience and so, yeah, and again, I mean, it’s, you know, any of these shows, the best thing about all of these shows, whether you’re in, you know, Vegas for the aesthetic show, or the Med Spa show, which of course is the best one, especially if you’re owning or thinking of owning a med spa, is just a little pearls that you’re getting, the little titbits, right.
Oh my god, I never thought about what, oh, my warranty is actually going to expire and I have to pay for it for my machine, oh, I didn’t know that, oh, interesting or its meeting people, like, you know, whatever sitting, you know, sitting next to me at a bar, and we’re just chit chatting, and oh, how do you do this or how do you do that, right. Once again, it’s all about those relationships. So I mean, the show itself, obviously, is amazing, and talking about the trends, and you know, all of the great stuff that Alex and, you know, his team put together. But again, I really think the benefit, the biggest benefit in all of that is those little pearls and the people that you’re going to meet.
Tim Sawyer: You know, it’s funny, because you just as we start winding down, you just actually gave me name of this podcast, it’s all about relationships, building a successful Med spa.
Christina Imes: I love it. Yeah.
Tim Sawyer: And I, and I, and I love that because, you know, I’m a business owner, myself, and we’ve got hundreds and hundreds of clients and I’m always amazed that the way folks think the best way to manage a vendor is at the first sign of trouble, fire them, and start over. And, you know, when we get those customers are like, well, you know, my last company sucked and then I asked him, well, what happened to the company before that, they sucked too, what happened to the company before that, they suck and I say, well, probably we’re going to suck too.
Christina Imes: Right, totally, yeah.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah, you think, okay, this is the person who just, you know, they think the way you, you know, they went to some class and said, the best way to manage people is to keep firing them, right and you’re philosophically opposed or you think differently than that and I think you’re seeing the fruits of that thinking, right. Because relationships, all relationships are hard, as we all know, we have been through hard relationships and to keep them going, it’s a lot of work. But to me, you know, the greatest business partnerships, I have they are long term, right, they are people.
Christina Imes: Yeah definitely.
Tim Sawyer: You know, you don’t want to kick them to the curb at the first sign of trouble, but go to them and say, hey, can you help me and there’s nothing that I like better to hear from my customers, then, you know, not that the usual hey, I’m going to kill you, I shoot you. But hey, Tim, can you help me and you say, [indiscernible] [00:25:30] business owners love to help people, right. They don’t like to get yelled at but they love to help people.
Christina Imes: Right.
Tim Sawyer: And I can genuinely hear that coming through in your voice and in the words that you use and I guarantee you, staff feel the same way, right. They value the fact that you appreciate relationships and that and you know, you have you’re running a business, but you also have their interests at heart and I think it’s a pretty cool thing. I think there’s not enough of that in what we do. Everyone’s so quick to you know just pop up and fire, just start over and when you start over.
Christina Imes: I totally agree with that.
Tim Sawyer: You go back to the beginning, right?
Christina Imes: Right.
Tim Sawyer: You are like, okay, well, this is, it is not always going to be better, you know. So I think that’s, that’s amazing. So where are you headed next? What do you got coming down the back half of this year, any shows you’re heading to or book you’re writing? What are you got going on?
Christina Imes: Well, I am working on a new injection. We talked a little bit real quickly, you know, when you did the intro, but the sort of a new injector training as a national program and it’s going to be massive, working with a doctor out of Oklahoma City on that. So that’s going to take a minute, but that is sort of on the horizon. Nothing really.
Tim Sawyer: How’s the injector school going?
Christina Imes: Well, I guess that’s the point is now, you know, the injector training program that we had going on here is sort of on pause because now we’re working on something grander, if you will and I had some revamping of staff here, and so it’s taking me a minute to get it all put back together. But keep your eyes out for that.
Tim Sawyer: Cool.
Christina Imes: And nothing as far as, you know, in the way of any events that I’m actually attending so much this year but obviously, as I’ve already mentioned, I will be at the Med special and, you know, at the end of January, so.
Tim Sawyer: You’re one of those business owners that actually works.
Christina Imes: Yeah.
Tim Sawyer: I’m always amazed that I go to 40 shows a year and I see that same person at all 40. I’m like, what are you doing and like I do this for a living?
Christina Imes: It is funny.
Tim Sawyer: This is my job.
Christina Imes: Right, right.
Tim Sawyer: Right. So anyways, listen, you’re awesome. How could if anybody wants to talk to you about anything that we discussed about today, whether they’re looking for injecting help, or trying to figure out how to get their costs down, what’s the best way for [indiscernible] [00:27:48] whole deal?
Christina Imes: Right, right. So you know what, for sure they can email me it’s Christina with a CH Christina at med spa rejuvenate dot com. That’s probably the best way but honestly, you know what, if people wanted to call the office here and ask for me, they can do that as well, so.
Tim Sawyer: Okay [indiscernible] [00:28:07] minute.
Christina Imes: [indiscernible] [00:28:08].
Tim Sawyer: It is [indiscernible] [00:28:09].
Christina Imes: Yeah right just go to my website, yeah and call the office.
Tim Sawyer: And it’s rejuvenate Med Spa dot com.
Christina Imes: It is actually Med Spa rejuvenate dot com.
Tim Sawyer: medsparejuvenate.com. Well, as always, Christy it’s always a pleasure.
Christina Imes: I very much enjoyed talking to you Tim.
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