Welcome to today’s episode of true to form with your host president and co-founder of crystal clear, highly regarded speaker. And to time inc 500 entrepreneur, Tim Sawyer, true to form is a podcast that highlights leaders making headway in the ascetic anti-aging and elected medical industry. Learn from the experts to discover the secrets of success and pitfalls to avoid when growing all aspects of your elective medical practice. This week’s episode is brought to you by Candela, a leading US-based global medical aesthetic device company engineering technology that enables practices to provide advanced solutions for a broad range of medical aesthetic application, including hair removal, wrinkle reduction, tattoo removal, women’s health treatments, facial resurfacing, traumatic and surgical scar treatments, body contouring, improving the skin’s appearance through the treatment of benign vascular and pigmented lesions and the treatment of acne leg, veins and cellulite. Please join me in welcoming your host, the authentic, the transparent Tim Sawyer, or welcome to true to form
That’s that connects you to the people technology and hot topics that shaped the elective medical community provided to you by crystal clear and bought, brought to you by this week, sponsor Candela, the leading US-based medical aesthetic device company. I’m your host, Tim storage, our returning guests. Welcome back. And for our first time listeners, we appreciate you joining us and encourage you to become a subscriber. The last episode we spoke with the founder of the American Academy of facial aesthetics, dr. Lewis milk marker, who shared his insight behind why organized practices are seeing an increased increasing consumer demand for aesthetic treatments. Right now we jokingly call it the time of the zoom. Boom, we’re going to talk more about that in the program today, with all that said, we actually have a special returning guests along with one of her good friends, Christina Ives, who by the way, has the most downloaded new people downloading into the podcast.
And that’s on 13,000 folks, unique folks who have downloaded. So she’s royalty on the program. We’re happy to have her back. She received her degree in communications from Loyola university, graduated from Goldman Sachs, 10,000 small business program. She has extensive experience in managing medical spas. Her creativity, entrepreneurial and leadership skills have greatly contributed to the expansion and success of her own spa that she started rejuvenate med spa, true male medical, Christina coordinates business operations and marketing efforts. She is dedicated to staying at the forefront of the ever-changing aesthetics market and strives to keep clients happy. And we also have the pleasure of having Ellen [inaudible], who brings over 25 years of experience and incorporates her managerial skills, knowledge of the aesthetics field to oversee dr. [inaudible] practice in Chicago, both from Chicago. Ellen is the point person for patients considering surgical treatments worked closely with dr. [inaudible] to ensure each patient receives exceptional care. Ellen is an integral part of the team, not only with scheduled procedures, but with assisting patients as they make important decisions. And I also know that she humbly runs the place. So with that said, Christina and Al and Ellen, welcome to two to four.
Well, thank you, Kevin. Hey Tim. Thanks for having us. Yay.
We are going to have some fun over the next 40 minutes. So let’s get the, the, the, the strange stuff right out in the forefront. Both of you are in Chicago. There’s a lot going on in Chicago right now. And Christina talked a little about two things, number one, the climate. And I know you’re just on the outskirts, a little bit of Chicago, but the climate in Chicago, the impact that is, or is not having on your practice also where you’re at with COVID. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Yeah. Um, so we’ll, as you mentioned, you know, my, the med spa is actually not in the city of Chicago. Um, we’re, I dunno, probably depending on traffic, but I’d say probably 20, 20 to 25 minutes West of, of, you know, actual downtown. Um, so what I’ll tell you that I’m seeing, um, my practice is located in a pretty affluent suburb and it’s in a shopping mall. Uh, and I think because the city is experiencing, you know, so much, you know, horrendous violence, um, that we’re incredibly busy. I mean, we’re busier than we’ve ever been. Uh, I mean, we opened our doors first. It has been explosive. Uh, and you know, I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I, I guess I’m starting to kind of attribute a lot of it to, well again, for me, you know, being in, in a suburb and everybody wanting to get out of the city.
Um, also I think, uh, people have a lot of money and no one’s traveling, you know, not a lot of people are going out for dinner. Um, and as you mentioned at the beginning of the call, everybody’s on zoom and there everybody’s looking at their faces all the time. So, um, yeah, so honestly for us, it’s been amazing. Um, we did have again, cause we’re in a, you know, a very large shopping mall. We did experience and still honestly do, um, some shutdown, not based on COVID, but based on, uh, you know, the city being worried about looting. So, uh, w when we first opened up June 1st, um, you know, which we could in Illinois, we immediately had to shut down again, two days later, um, the entire mall was barricaded. Uh, fortunately nothing ever did happen out in this, you know, in our actual mall.
Uh, it kind of happened down the road where like, you know, one, the big buildings got looted and smashed in. Um, and so again, with the recent violence, you know, happening once again in the city, um, same kind of thing, but they didn’t shut us down, they’re just taking precautions. So, um, so yeah, and it’s weird time for us. I mean, we’re we’re, as I said, you know, incredibly busy, um, obviously everybody’s very cautious hoping, you know, that this is not going to all happen again, you know, where we have to, where we have to shut down, but so far aided because we do work together quite a bit. We have two separate practices, but I do come with healthy here to hurt, um, clinic, um, at rejuvenate med spa. And for a period, when the shopping mall was shut down, that met Christina and her staff did not have access to anything in their office, but because of Christina with local, um, colleagues, she was able to shift appointments to a different location, even the day that we were supposed to be seeing patients here, it was unknown until seven, eight. Yeah. Whether or not we could see patients and our backup plan was then to divert everyone, even Christina’s aesthetic team to our practice in Glen view, which is North of the city. Wow. Yeah.
And this question is for both of you, I’m curious the fact that we’re having this conversation. So the aesthetic business, uh, unlike what the casual observer thinks is actually a brutally competitive business. It is difficult to, to grow and scale. Like you guys have both done just in the best of times, running an aesthetic practice or, uh, um, plastic surgery practice. It’s not easy. And now you have to add to that. Oh yeah. By the way, there’s lootings and shootings out in front. And, but we’re working through it. I give you guys so much credit. I really do. I don’t know how you guys do it. I don’t know how you guys maintain the enthusiasm that you have. And just, just a matter of fact, way that both of you are addressing this, you know, I’m sure there’s a lot, you know, some, maybe some anxiety you’re not displaying, but I just, I give you a ton of credit. And so for you, Ellen, how is, where is the plastic surgery practice and how, how are patients feeling about coming in and getting, um, you know, invasive procedures right now? Is that back to where it was? And
Well, similar to Christina, we have been incredibly busy. Um, it’s been nuts. Now, let me take a step back. We actually were shut down for two and a half months. We saw this coming and we made the decision to cancel everything. Even before the governor’s mandate. We’re very cautious, extremely conservative. But having said that we had to cancel all surgeries. And despite the fact that we are owned by plastic surgeon, the public thing, Oh, you are a doctor. You still operate. That’s not the case. All elective procedures were canceled. People think elective only means cosmetic. That is not the case. Think about hip replacements, replacements, all of that was canceled for a period of time. So it has happened through this huge backlog of procedures that still need to be scheduled at the hospital that still needs to be scheduled at the surgery center, which put the cosmetics elective procedures kind of as a lower priority, but we are plowing through it trying to accommodate everyone.
Um, because people have time on their hands. They’re not back at work. They don’t need to be seen in public. They want to do things now, whereas before they were waiting, they didn’t want to do in the summertime because they’re out vacationing. Now they’ve got the time on their hands and they want to do it now. And I have to remind people that we were closed for two and a half months. You know, there is a backlog, um, and that’s been unique just kind of having to explain that to our patients, but then they understand it and are just happy to get whatever they can and eager to come in.
I it’s so funny, Ellen, as you say that I I’m literally picturing in my mind misses a terrible vision to put in our heads, but someone coming in to get a breast dog or a face lift or something, and, you know, saying to a rider or protests or whatever, excuse me, sir, can I, can you put your bat down for a second? I’m just, I need to get,
Please. I need to get in, look at me in the office that are minimally invasive on whether it’s liposuction, upper lid, blepharoplasty, scar revisions, et cetera, that can be done awake, but there’s still, you know, guidelines that we are doing to, we are following with the hospital with the Illinois department of health is dating. Um, all our patients are required to take COVID tests three days prior to their procedures. Then they do have to self quarantine in that time period. So that always, um, creates an interesting situation where a lot of these labs are not able to get the results back in time, which can delay or even postpone surgery.
Right? Yeah, that’s right. Not so obvious question, but, um, you have to COVID test everybody right when they’re getting an elective procedure. Okay.
We have made the decision to do that. Absolutely. Yes.
Oh, you have. Okay. And Christina, in terms of protocols, what do you have to take folks temperature? Are they required to wear a mask? How was that playing out in the waiting room right now? Or, or lack of waiting room? Hopefully.
Yeah. Um, well, that’s a, that’s a good point. Yeah. So, um, you know, obviously our appointments are staggered completely differently than before. You know, we allow much more time for, you know, really sanitizing and cleaning the room, according to the, you know, the guidelines of the state and AMSA. Um, everybody is wearing a mask at all times, although I will tell you Ellen and I are currently not repairing that. Um, we’re sitting away from people, but, um, yeah, everybody has their temperature taken when they come into the door. Um, they get a phone call the day before, you know, those questions of, have you traveled outside of the country? Um, are you feeling ill? Do you have a fever? You know, if so, please do not come in. Um, and then the injectors and the estheticians where, you know, there and 95 and, uh, face shields as well and obviously gloves and, you know, et cetera.
Um, so yeah, you know, it’s funny because when we were first closed, I would say that some of my friends, I mean, our office is so clean anyway. I mean, who’s cleaning, you know, what spot in quotes, if you will, is sending their offices with kava site every day. Um, so it was, you know, a weird, you know, before we really knew what was going on. But, um, so in general, I mean, it’s kind of what they’ve been doing already. Um, you know, somewhat, but yeah, it’s, it’s definitely, uh, you know, we’re just, we’re following the guidelines and you know, like everybody else does when you go into a restaurant or, you know, you’re walking around and you want to go into a store and you have to put your mask on and all that stuff. So
It would seem to me like the, the, the folks almost like the surgical center and, and at some level of the hospital almost feels like a safer place. And I’m curious are w when you’re interface, you know, talking to those patients about booking procedures, is there a lot of conversation around, Hey, what have you done? Am I going to be safe or are folks just kind of not talking about that for a third time or seizures? They trust that everything is completely safe. We’ve had phone calls for patients wanting to do injections, and they’re asking us, what kind of protocol has the implemented to keep people safe? They asked if we were at 95 masks and we also have the face shields on, and we say, of course, we do have something that everyone has to wear their masks coming in. They can get their temperature check. So they’re doing their due diligence. I honestly applaud those patients that are asking those questions, because a lot of them don’t, we sometimes have patients showing out a mask on and we really pull it out and say, you must wear this. And they’ll say, well, I’m getting my lips injected, but it doesn’t matter. You take it off when it’s right.
It does kind of feel like to me though, what, regardless of the media outlet, what is happening on the ground, in other words, in reality, what, um, aesthetic consumers, their behavior is kind of like, Hey, we want these treatments and procedures. We’re going to get these treatments and procedures. They’re not totally freaked out that they’re going to be unsafe coming into the facility. And also, Christina, are you seeing, so there was to Ellen’s point, there’s a backlog and dr. Guitars. He’s trying to get caught up on that as fast as he can. Um, do you S do you think that the patients who are coming in now as a result of, you know, kind of people you couldn’t get to in March and April, or is this you’re seeing new patients as many new patients for the first time? What’s the mix?
Yeah. You know, um, I would say it is my business today is really, truly no different than it was, we’ll say last year, except I’m busier. Right. Which is maybe like a normal progression for a business. Right. You, you hope to have a certain percentage of it and increase if you will, and in revenue and in clients. Um, so yeah, I mean, we’re seeing a ton of new people, uh, as well as our, all of our existing people. So, um, yeah. And you know, it’s funny speaking to going back for a second with the whole, you know, how are people, are they, you know, are they feeling comfortable coming out or, um, and I would say for the most part, if somebody is coming out to get a Botox appointment, right, the people who aren’t comfortable, they’re not going anywhere, right. They’re not calling to get a Botox appointment. So, um, everybody else for the most part I would say is, is not really, you know, feeling very anxious or nervous about it. And if they were, they just wouldn’t, they wouldn’t be here. So, yeah.
Be at, if everybody, if everybody felt comfortable, think of the demand right now, it’s so sorry.
Yeah, no, I was going to say that even when we were shut down, we noticed our online inquiries were increasing. And even to this day, we just have so many online leads that I’m like, wait, how is this possible? Is it because of COVID? Is it because people have more time on their hands? Or the reality is, um, up to last year, we actually had two different websites. Um, and we realized that SEO was being kind of taken one from the other. And we decided to actually integrate our websites into one. And this happened like right before COVID checked in on, but we’ve seen it. And it’s kind of like, it makes me think it’s an uptick because now we are on a single website, one company, is that because of the net demand being there, or is it all of the above, but I think for those people out there that might have multiple websites, obviously we had to kind of feel back on our budget and look at, you know, where are we really getting our biggest bang for the buck we decided to integrate? Um, it’s been the best decision ever. And my fear, because I did the implementation, I was concerned, are we going to be losing leads by doing this? But if anything, we gained even more. So I’m thankful for that
Smart, smart business wins.
People would be confused as to why Ellen would have two websites, I would think so. We should say that Ellen actually has two very distinct practices. One is a freshman and the other is dr. Gutowski plastic surgery. So I’m sure listeners would be like, why would she have two websites for the same business? So, anyway, just to clarify, It’s a smart move. And like I said, I’m just, so I give you guys so much proximity. The fact that that demand is out there speaks volumes. And I was on a call the other day with some folks from the, the larger pharma companies, the, you know, the, the Galderma’s folks and, um, they’re busier than ever. People are ordering more fillers and neurotoxins than at any time before. And I think you said something that’s that’s right on Christina, is that, and not something that anybody, any guests has brought up, which is, there’s not a lot of place for places for people to spend money like they were before. Right. So there’s not, you know, look at me, right. So I traveled 40 weekends or 40 trips last year. I haven’t flown in an airplane in six months, so I’m ready to do something. And, um, you know, so, so think of all that money that would have been spent over those six months, we’ve got that.
So I think there is there, that’s a pretty, pretty interesting commentary on, on that. Right? So in other words, as you’re fighting for disposable income, there’s, there’s less places to go. And it’s, I think the trends, every single person that I talked to on the podcast D they’re busier now than before. Now that doesn’t mean that there’s not people who are struggling, but I think it speaks to, and I, and, and Ellen brings up a good point. I love her to comment on this. Um, if you weren’t, so what I’m seeing is a tale of two cities. If you weren’t organized prior to COVID, you would probably in trouble, meaning if you didn’t have an updated database, if you didn’t have the ability to email, if you didn’t have the ability to text at some level, if you didn’t have the right online presence, then you’re probably going to struggle a little bit. Would you agree, Ellen?
Oh, absolutely. I mean, you have to have everything in place because I’ll send in, we have a pandemic thrown at us and we have to adapt, but if you don’t have that core foundation there, then to be able to swiftly change and adhere to new systems, be policies you’re going to fail. So yes, we need to have that net core, you know, all the systems in place. And I think sometimes people get into this business without thinking through everything, without having a business plan, without having a marketing plan without having their social media presence that without that, where are you?
Yeah. And I think you have a little bit of an advantage in that, not to diminish what you’re saying, um, in that you have a, you had a, so when you and I met, I could tell right away, you had a solid business background, you had a solid tech background. And I think those skills, same for Christina. Um, what you see now that the folks who are struggling are the ones who, you know, they were an ER nurse or some other, you know, medical position they didn’t love anymore and said, Oh, I think it’ll be fun to open a med spa because I love making friends and injecting. And I think that that group is probably not fairing as well and across our client base, we see that. Um, so I think being organized, having some business discipline and even making a move to consolidate the plastic surgery site with the med spa site, just thinking through those types of issues are huge right now.
Huge. And the other thing I wanted to shift real quick, because part of the reason I, I believe Christina, that the podcast we had done more than a year ago, I can’t believe it was talked a lot about leveraging relationships. And I think people really appreciated that conversation and it’s an underappreciated part of the business. And so how have you, Christina and Ellen leveraged those relationships, the vendor relationships, your partners, that type of thing through COVID and then the two to get through it. And then the other question I’ve been asking everyone who comes on the podcast is what would you like to see the vendor community do to enhance or improve the way that they and we are serving you now?
Interesting. Um, well, I mean, for me, you know, the, the relationship side, I mean, th th that part of the question, I mean, that’s my, that is, I believe in that. And in every aspect of, I guess, everything that I do, um, you know, whether it be raising my children and, you know, having a great network of moms that I can call on and, you know, um, and they can call on me. Um, but very much for me in this industry, unlike, you know, I owned a yoga studio at one point in the city and I was actually yoga instructor. Right. So very different because in this space, I have no skills that can generate money specifically, right. Directly right here. I’m not an injector, I’m not an aesthetician, nor should I be, or do I want to be, um, so it it’s all about relationships for me.
I mean, it starts, you know, with my receptionist, it goes all the way to dr. [inaudible] to every single rep that comes into this door. Um, and you know, my stepdad always makes the joke, dr. Marshall, who’s my business partner and my medical director that, you know, I don’t have to fall in love with everybody. So like, I was like, I want, I love them. They’re so amazing. So we went out for dinner and he’s like, what are you the love everybody? And I said, well, I don’t know. I just do. And, you know, during COVID, I mean, you know, I let’s say for example, my, um, CoolSculpting rep who I very well, and she, and I have had great times together and, you know, both professionally and maybe a little bit even, you know, outside of, outside of work, but, um, I can call on her and say, Hey, you know what, where’s that, where’s, what’s going on with that rebate check that I, you know, that I’m older.
Um, can you float me some cycles for now? Or, you know, and I don’t know exactly what we did or, you know, we didn’t obviously need anything specifically at that time. Um, but again, for me, it’s, it’s the relationships, it’s there, everything, um, I can’t speak enough about it. And when people don’t understand that you can go to your rep and say, Hey, you know what, um, can you help, we’re gonna have an event. Can you help us with food? Or when people don’t know about that, or just, you know, don’t be afraid to ask the questions. Um, because at the end of the day, I mean, obviously we’re all in this together and you know, the more money we make, the more money you guys make. So, um, I don’t know, Ellen, if you want to talk to relationships, or if you want to know that they’re so critical and I value each one of our vendors that we have partnered with, because truly it is a partnership.
And, um, you know, it goes both ways. They help us, but then we also help them. And a prime example is I was talking to one of our vendors. This is right before COVID happened and she’ll never pushed me to buy product, but every now and then she kind of see like, Oh, Ellen, hasn’t placed an order lately. Let me see what’s going on. And I told her, I’m like, I’m fine right now. But if it helps you with your numbers, your quarterly numbers, let me know, and I will do it. I can buy X number of vials. And she’s like, well, Elena would really bought a little bit more and guess what? I bought more than what I needed a lot more. I wasn’t concerned about it, but I got delivery in March. Then I got concerned about it. Cause now I have dealt with a whole bunch of violence. But with, because of these relationships, the same individuals that Ellen, don’t worry about, anything expiring, I’m going to help you out so forth. And like I said, it goes both ways. We all trust each other, you know, and we want to see everyone. We all want to see each other. Um, the craft is so important. Yeah.
What’s, what’s really interesting about what you both said, and I can tell why you’re friends and you hang out and you work together, uh, is that Christina and I, I’ve known you now probably going on seven years. You truly do see the best in people and you you’re savvy, but you, in other words, you don’t in blind faith, trust everybody per se, but you do see the best in people. And to Ellen’s point that give and take in a relationship and your vendor, Matt, and we don’t talk about vendor management or crystal clear, hardly ever on the podcast, but I’m grateful, first of all, to be working with the two of you, but even in this relationship, you know, w when you and I, in crystal clear the fact that we’ve been together now, six years, I want a couple of years it’s give and take, right.
And w it always amazed me. And it’s not just about your, your software marketing partner, but whether it’s a laser partner or, um, to, to Ellen’s point, there’s a filler or a neurotoxin that’s being bought, is that for some reason, there’s a huge part of the population that thinks the best way to move forward in life.
Vendor management is by every year, firing a vendor and bringing on a new one. And somehow that keeps everybody in check. And I don’t subscribe to that. I don’t, I don’t know that that works. And it’s almost like a memo got handed out
Our vendors. They’re fantastic. Yeah.
They just switched to switch. And, and I don’t know that you’re getting ahead with that. Um, probably more kicking the can down the road, so that, let me do this. We’ve got a few minutes left and I want to give each of you a chance to say, okay, you both started your own clinic. You both have been successful. You’re growing them. You’re both doing amazing. If you were to go back and I’ll start with you, Christina, if you were to go back seven years and look at the life lessons that you’ve learned along the way, what would be some of the takeaways you’d want to give for somebody who’s considering starting up in that spot now?
Yeah. Um, less is more, yeah, start, start small. You know, I see people, Oh, we’re hiring an architect. We’re buying a building. We’ve never done this before. No, no. Uh, don’t go out and buy a bunch of machines. Uh, don’t go out and, you know, hire a ton of people. Uh, I mean, I think if I went back, I would really try to hone in on, honestly, the things that make me the most money, let’s say something like CoolSculpting, um, you know, and, and really try to be that expert in that field, if you will, or not, sorry, not field, but you know what I mean, that expert in that particular service, rather than, Oh my God thousand things to choose from. Um, and you know, your marketing efforts get diluted and it’s just, uh, it’s just challenging to start that way. So, um, I, you know, for anybody who listened to that initial podcast, if you remember, you know, the way I got into this industry was my, you know, medical director and stepfather told me he didn’t want to do a med spa.
And then next thing I know, um, he and I have, uh, purchased $500,000 in lasers and, you know, so, um, anyway, yeah, so for me, I would say less is more is the, is the, is my biggest takeaway. I mean, definitely baby steps, first stick with your core and then expand as the market demand. But once your patients are asking you for other things, look into those other services, don’t just jump in and buy all these different devices, all these extra products, because you’re getting a deal for it. There’s gotta be a demand because you don’t want to lose those core patients. Then if they’re saying we want more stuff, listen to them, actually really good advice from both of you,
What a breath of fresh air, the whole world’s going crazy. And you guys are dialed in like nobody’s business. And I give you both so much credit. Would it be okay if you guys, uh, Christina, could you give, uh, email, if anyone listened to podcasts at a question they wanted to ask you, can they have an email address?
Would that be okay? You know what I want to, uh, I’m going to tease my new business too, and it’s not the one, not the one you know about, and actually Ellen doesn’t even know about it, but some of the teas that real quick, cause I’m not ready to totally announce that. But so my nurse injector, uh, Deseret Martinez and I are starting, uh, it’s a groundbreaking, innovative opportunity that will hopefully be coming out in the next several months, um, for nurse injectors, never before scenes. Um, anyway, so anybody who has a question about that, what would be well? Yeah, so here, if, if people are interested and want to ask me any questions they can reach me at. So it’s Christina, my first name C H R I S T I N a at med spa, rejuvenate.com. Christina, my female’s very easy. Ellen, E L L E N at [inaudible] dot com and that’s D R G U T O w S K i.com. And if someone prefers Instagram, they can DME at a fresh med spa. Where could
They follow you on your Instagram?
Um, it’s yeah, rejuvenate med spa, med spa.
And the best part is it’s freaking August.
I know this is, yeah, this is typically our slowest month of the, uh, of the year. So yay.
Unbelievable guys. Thank you so much for taking the time. We really appreciate it for those listening. Wanna remind you again, brought to you by Candela. My name is Tim soar. I’m your host with crystal clear, anybody interested in learning more about crystal clear digital marketing spot by the website, crystal clear dm.com. That’s crystal clear dm.com. Click on the sales button. It’ll give you the 800 number. Give the guys a call. Love to talk. That’s a really cool step this month. You actually get a free website. So give us a call and you can talk to them about that guys. Thank you very
Much. Enjoy the rest of your day. We appreciate you coming on. Have a great week.
Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of true to form brought to you by Candela a leading US-based global medical aesthetic device company engineering technology that enables practices to provide advanced solutions for a broad range of medical aesthetic applications. To learn more about this week’s podcast sponsor, visit Candela medical.com and to learn more about your podcast provider crystal clear, visit crystal clear dmb.com. Be sure to subscribe to the show on all your favorite music apps, including iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and tune in to stay up to date with the newest episode. Thank you for listening.