This native New Yorker brings her energy, drive, and passion to her cherished business, Glow Medispa. Katherine Dee is an entrepreneur extraordinaire, and opened her business with little experience in the world of anti-aging and skin care. This did not stop her from her self-educating as she pivoted her medical career to focus on her goal and fulfill her dream. She made the leap and opened her business in West Seattle in July 2016. A year later she had become an award-winning business. Glow Medispa was voted best Medispa from the Seattle Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards.
Katherine Dee has dedicated her time to building a business like no other. Her desire to stay on the leading edge of technology is demonstrated in the glamorous body sculpting equipment she has made available to her clients. The equipment will turn the industry at awe, including Emsculpt which is taking the country by storm. Her daily presence at Glow Medispa promotes confidence from her patients. She empowers her staff by rewarding them with the ability to vacation unrestricted, as long as their shifts are covered. She believes that providing generous compensation with profit-sharing for staff encourages top performance much to the benefit of their patients.
Katherine grew up with the contrast and benefit of two worlds. She was born in New York, the city that never sleeps. She enjoyed all of the finer things that the city has to offer, such as fine dining of foods from any culture that suits your desire, theater and off-Broadway plays, concerts in the park and much more. In contrast, her summers were spent enjoying all that the state of Vermont can provide. She could immerse herself in the rustic outdoors, mountains and the beauty of Lake Champlain. She enjoys archery, hiking, kayaking, and the magnificence of nature.
Katherine is married and has three children. Much as she did in her days as a child, she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors and in nature during her leisure time. As a family, they enjoy cooking, cycling, tennis, and kayaking on the Puget Sound.
How did you get started with Glow Medispa? What inspired you to start this business?
I had two friends who has been sending me patients for many years. They had a thriving aesthetics practice and were both getting ready to retire. They suggested that I take a look at their business. I spent an entire day following them around. The environment was so positive, I loved it. It was a huge change. There was an echo that was in my head, it was the advice of my high school chemistry teacher. She once told me that everyone should change their career at least once if not twice in their lives. It keeps you young, vibrant and continually learning. This was the right thing for me. It has been Great! Glow Medispa has rejuvenated my life and my skin!
How do you make money? How long did it take for Glow Medispa to become profitable?
We have built a client base. Hopefully, they keep coming in the door. If they decide to trust us with their skin they will choose to do procedures that will help them remain youthful.
I spent about a year with zero income. Everyone told me that it would take two to five years before we would become profitable. It took us under a year.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Right from the beginning, I knew I wanted to create a different kind of model for my business. Few people thought it was going to work. Every business decision would be informed by science. I was going to be present in the spa full time. My employees would have the ultimate flexibility to work as much as they wanted and have as much vacation as they wanted. As long as the shifts were covered. I paid them very generously. I wanted them to be motivated to provide the absolute best service. I also educated myself at night, creating a kind of mini-MBA in my spare time. I read as many business books as possible; it was a steep learning curve. I had no idea if this model would work, but ultimately the investment in the equipment and my employees paid off and we are all happy, including my patients.
How did you get your first customer?
Well, I created my own website myself. Before I even opened Glow Medispa I had a patient email me through my website to inquire about a specific procedure. She ended up to be my very first customer.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
We send out feedback request to all of our patients and we provide review request links. We have gotten really good reviews and that is doing very well for us. It doesn’t matter if they check us on google or if they come in by referral, they always check reviews first. It is critical to have constant up-to-date reviews from our actual patients so that people can get a good sense of who we are.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I recently had to let an employee go that was a good person and clinician but was not supportive of the team effort. It was a difficult decision but ultimately the right one for everyone.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I truly care about my patients and employees. The start of our mission statement starts with “we strive to make people happy”. If it doesn’t promote happiness, it is not right for me or my business. I really believe that more businesses should operate that way.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Definitely the day we found out that we as Glow Medispa were voted best Medispa from the Seattle Magazine Readers Choice Awards. That was in January of this year. We had been open for just a year. We didn’t even know it was happening until they called us to congratulate us. It was pretty awesome.
What business books have inspired you?
Good to Great, Nudge, Predictably Irrational, and The Power of Moments
Those are the ones I have read most recently– all helpful and inspirational.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Emsculpt hands down. I’ve already lost a full pant size. I think it is going to replace CoolSculpting hands down. You heard it first HERE!
Do you have any important points that you’d like to share with our readers?
What I think about is that I am a zebra in the industry. In the sense that what I’m doing here is extremely rare. I am a board-certified radiologist who specialized in breast cancer for career one. I think of myself as a recovering radiologist. I was inspired and wanted a change. Honestly, there has never been something that I set out to do that I couldn’t learn. As a physician, I was in a position to pursue many options that are simply not possible for others without a vast education and experience in medicine. I immerse myself every day in my practice. I manage people and patients and the business.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
We just got a new technology called Emsculpt. It is a new kind of device that builds muscle and dissolves fat while you’re lying down. And there is no pain, there is no downtime. I think it is going to blow away the body sculpting industry. Glow Medispa is one of the first in the country to get it. So far, the results have outstripped any results that I have seen before. My whole team is excited about the Emsculpt.
Beyond that, I dedicate 100% of my time to educating myself. I don’t believe that is typical. I don’t believe that most medical spas or aesthetics practices have a doctor who is as present and involved as I am with Glow. I really believe that what we offer at Glow Medispa is a really different experience and they really, really like it. That is why we have been successful at Glow Medispa.
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