EP 29: Demystifying the World of Microtreatments with Nicci Levy

Nicci Levy  0:00  
Thank you, Mary. Excited to be here. My name is Nikki Levy and I'm the founder and CEO of alchemy 43, which is a, which is a cosmetic beauty brand that is re kind of completely reimagining the experience of getting cosmetic injectables and specializes in Botox and fillers.

Mary Harcourt  0:19  
Well, there's a huge increase on that right now, I think you're in a very safe spot. Where did you come up with the name?

Nicci Levy  0:26  
So great question. I love this question. So basically, initially, the company was going to be called spruce, SPR O S. E, like get spruced up. And I had signed the lease for my first location. And I was, you know, buying URLs, we were creating the website and all of that. And I found out that I could not trademark that name, because there was a dermatology concept that was already using something that sounded similar. So I was kind of under the gun to come up with a new name. And I had all like, all these people working with me, I had branding people, I had my investors, I had my friends, my family, and I had like a list of 100 names. And just nothing was like clicking for me, I was already very connected to the other name. And so it really needed to be something kind of like an aha moment. And I just couldn't get there. And I got home from dinner with friends one night, and I logged into Facebook, and someone had quoted that the alchemist, the book, The Alchemist, and just something about that word Alchemist kind of like, you know, triggered something in me. And so I typed into my Google browser, what is the definition of alchemy, and it was a seemingly magical process of combination creation and transformation. And then the second definition was the study of chemistry that predated the periodic table that was concerned with changing base metals into gold. And I was like, That's it, I got goosebumps head to toe. This is the name how to do it. And so I was really excited about the name alchemy. And then I was talking to one of my investors, one of my early investors about it, and she was like, Hey, are there any numbers that are significant to you? Because there's a lot of trend around, you know, brands brands, like incorporating an app. And I was like, well, not really, I said, you know, 17 is my lucky number, there isn't anything. And so she typed into her phone, how many how many muscles are in the face, and it was 43. And I was like, that's perfect, because Botox primarily addresses the muscle in the face. So and all the treatments that we do sort of, you know, help to kind of make things you know, optimize things on the face. So, so that was it. So So 43 facial muscles, and and alchemy came together really beautifully for us.

Mary Harcourt  2:18  
That is so cool. And like, now you have such an amazing story to tell people that the name it equals probably way more than what you're originally thinking of. I mean, sprues I like first up to I've never heard of that. So whoever's using it didn't use it to its fullest. But how can we kind of like strikes you as like, Ah, I wonder what that is? Like? nobody quite knows what it is. But like you're interested, it's a very professional. Yeah, it smells out really nice. I think it's great. That's I love the story behind it. That's awesome. And then do you just have a single location? Are you in multiple locations?

Nicci Levy  2:58  
Great question. So today, we have four locations. We've got three here in Los Angeles, where I'm based, and then one in New York City. We are actually in construction on an additional five new locations as we speak today with a six coming close behind. So by the end of March 2023, we will have 10 locations open. And we are really focused on kind of expanding our reach and existing markets. So we're opening a second location in Manhattan on the Upper East Side. We're opening in Newport Beach in Orange County here in California. And then we're opening four sorry, five new locations in Texas. So those will be in Dallas and Houston.

Mary Harcourt  3:36  
Cool. Well, yeah, definitely on trend with I feel how the beauty industry is going live here in all the right places thing that keeps you busy. Ha, that's a lot.

Nicci Levy  3:47  
It does. It certainly does keep you busy. Yes, for sure. It's not. It's not a light amount of work. But it's great.

Mary Harcourt  3:54  
Yeah, and I'm sure you're an expert at getting your systems in place, you can duplicate those at each location.

Nicci Levy  4:01  
Yes, and and I have a tremendously amazing team around me of people that are are better at that kind of stuff than I am and feel very honored and lucky to have, you know, such a great group around the table. So so I definitely have a lot of great support and help which I'm very blessed and happy to have. So

Mary Harcourt  4:18  
that's awesome. Well, that's what a team is all about. Right? And really start you got you find the person that's strong and something you're not so great at. And then together, you can move forward and in awesome progress. So talk about you do services. It's obviously in more of the medical esthetician side of things, what as a client do they experience from the time they walk through the door to how do they pick out their services? You have individual rooms, is it more of a wide open area and space?

Nicci Levy  4:47  
Great, great question. So so the client experience, you know, really the goal and the vision was to sort of really take the experience that currently existed for getting injectables and I come from a background of my Initial entree into medical esthetics was working for Allergan the maker of Botox as a botox rep. And so I got to work, you know, and observe kind of hundreds of different medical practices that were offering these services and really understood kind of what what the status quo was like what what people typically experienced when they go and get a Botox treatment. And I just saw a real opportunity to kind of completely turn that on its head and create a really positive kind of empowered and happy and excited way to, to, to get these treatments and to consume these treatments. And so that's really what we've designed it alchemy, 43, which is really kind of centered around a client first, like high touch, extremely consultative and educational approach to how we kind of address these services. And most importantly, coming from a place of empowering confidence as opposed to sort of tearing people down to bring them back up. So we you know, we don't, you know, you don't come and sit down in our chair, and we tell you everything that's wrong with you, right, we we believe that nobody needs these treatments or services, this is a total elective choice. And it's there for you, if you're interested in enhancing, augmenting, preventing, you know, smoothing any of those things, but really coming from a place of positivity, we believe that all people have, you know, are beautiful and unique. And we our aim is not to make people look the same, right? We want to we want to sort of embrace individuality and individual beauty. And and really kind of understand what it is for you that is going to make you look and feel your best. So it's really kind of an interactive process that lifts you up, and really makes you feel, you know, confident, empowered, inspired, and all of those things. And, you know, most importantly does it in a way that you're very involved in the process. So we want you to make very informed decisions about your care, and we're going to provide you all that information to be able to make those decisions. So, you know, from the beginning to the end, we're I think what you'll find about us is that we're all about education. We're all about, you know, confidence and empowerment. And we're all about transparency and to ask to answer some of your more specific questions about sort of the actual experience in the stores we do treat in individual treatment rooms. So you know, it is when you're sitting in the treatment chair and this was important to us. In no way are we tried to trivialize the medical nature of these treatments, they are medical and it is, you know, put put kind of bluntly, it's a needle in your face. So we want to make sure that you feel very comfortable, very safe, and that we build that trust with you. And so, you know, the the stores are really beautiful. They're in like sort of high traffic, retail, you know, retail High Street areas where you might go and get your nails done, you might go get a coffee or take a workout class. And so it you know, while our stores are kind of situated in kind of a retail setting, when you're sitting in that treatment chair, and you're about to get your Botox, you absolutely feel like it's a medical experience. Like there's, there's there's that comfort of knowing, hey, I'm in a safe and trusted environment for this. And so that was really important to us. So So while the stores are really fun and beautiful, and kind of you know, design forward. They're also extremely, you know, in the right, it's sort of in the thoughtful way of like, this is this is a medical treatment, we want to make sure that you're that you're, you know, feeling safe and comfortable.

Mary Harcourt  8:02  
Well, I love everything you're saying I can totally understand why the brand is taking off. Because it's so refreshing to hear someone stand there and say, we just want to accentuate everything. We believe every person is a beautiful person because it is who we are. But obviously it's human nature to have insecurities. So you're just there to fill those gaps and kind of bring everyone to how they should feel at their fullest. And I love that I personally have gone to a place one time. And I just remember her saying your lips are so small, he should fill those. And I was like I've never once been concerned about my lips and I actually think are perfect. There's a lot of other things I would fix. But my lips were never one of them. But it was actually yeah, it was such like, oh, okay, great. Now I have something else to worry about.

Nicci Levy  8:49  
But yeah, but you went home that day, and you were kind of looking in the mirror and kind of all of a sudden now this became something for you. And it never had been before. Like I hate that. It's it's, it should absolutely like not be something that's on your radar unless it's something that is on your personal radar. Like it's not it's not anyone's job to tell you what's wrong with you, you know, like,

Mary Harcourt  9:08  
right, and I can see that that takes so much training just to have the finesse and using the right verbage and the right words, but I will say I've also been to a place where they say hey, you're perfect just the way you are. I think you're a beautiful girl, whatever you want to do to make yourself feel your best let's do that. And then she let me tell her and then as she stated you know it's such it was that was so refreshing where it's like okay, let me tell you this. And then she said I just really want you to feel as good as you remember yourself looking and I was like that is the classiest way of saying that.

Nicci Levy  9:44  
Yeah, I love that actually because because immediately when someone says that it kind of in your mind you go to like this like flash of yourself in like your favorite picture or like, you know, some experience you had and it's true. It's like you know, we all have those moments of like, damn, I got I got it going on. Like I'm feeling great. Like, how do I reinvent that every single day? You know,

Mary Harcourt  10:02  
from when I'm not trying to go back to being 18? That's not a goal. I just moved me like a time I didn't look so exhausted.

Nicci Levy  10:13  
Right, just a moment where I felt rested. And when I felt refreshed totally, I'm with you. 100%. I'm a new mom. So I get that.

Mary Harcourt  10:21  
So, yeah, Oh, totally. I don't have kids. And I, literally every morning, wake up and wonder how people just having kids, I mean, you're my hero. And so we're all moms.

Nicci Levy  10:35  
World for sure.

Mary Harcourt  10:39  
So what's your background? Were you always an entrepreneur? Or did you kind of come from this field and realize there's a hole in the market and decide to grow into what it is now? Like? What's your background? As far as were you always an entrepreneur? Or do you kind of just fall into it?

Nicci Levy  10:56  
I would say that I've always been entrepreneurial. I've always been very sort of interested in financial, like, kind of independence. I remember, like, you know, I got my first job way before, like, kids my age, were getting a job. I think I was 14. And like, I wasn't even allowed to work. And I got a job because I wanted to make my own money and have my own paycheck. That was very important to me from a very young age. And I think so I've always worked, right. I've always been a hard working kind of a worker. And I've always, I've always seen, and I feel like this is how you know, your entrepreneurial ways that things can be done better. So whenever I worked somewhere, whether it was a big company, a small company, you know, an old company, a new company, I would be like, Okay, but what if we did it this way? Well, what about this? What about that, and my mind, I couldn't stop. And it was just like that was That's literally how my mind works and how I'm wired. And so I definitely always kind of knew that I had that in me when I was in my early 20s. You know, I was working in corporate cosmetics. And I started, you know, a side business doing as many makeup artists do doing weddings and events. And that was something that I intuitively felt very comfortable doing running my own business and kind of, you know, marketing myself and marketing my services. And that felt very kind of native to me, if that makes sense. And so I think there has been some kind of some confirmatory things throughout my career, where either other people have seen that in me, where they've been like, oh, we want to try this thing out, we think you're the one to try it out. Like we're going to kind of let you you know, do your thing and see what happens. Or it was something I started myself and took on on my own. And so, you know, Alchemy. 43 is I guess technically the first company I started. But I would say I have a long track record of being of being interested in starting a company and just wasn't sure what that was going to look like until it kind of came together for me so. So I would say, Yeah, I would say I wouldn't say that. I've always been an entrepreneur. But I would say I've always been entrepreneurial.

Mary Harcourt  12:46  
I mean, if this is your first company, and you're already expanding into 10 locations, that is really impressive. And something you should be very proud of.

Nicci Levy  12:55  
Thank you so much. Thank you. I mean, and I always like honestly. So it's nice to sort of reflect on that. Because I feel like as founders, and as people that are starting businesses, like very, very few people take time to kind of like appreciate how far they've come. It's like you're so busy pushing forward that you don't kind of like stop and look behind you and go, Oh my gosh, look how much ground I've already covered. Like, look behind me. And so when people say that, I mean, I have friends that come to me and go, Gosh, I remember six years ago, seven years ago, this was just like an idea in your head. And we were at dinner, and you're telling me about this crazy idea you have. And now here we are, you know, 10 stores later. So I would say definitely anyone who's out there listening and to you, it's like, take a moment and like see, check how far you've come like it's really important to stop and celebrate those like small things along the way. Because otherwise, you're just so focused on moving forward, you don't even sort of think about how far you've come. So thank you. That's a good recognition, because I don't do that enough.

Mary Harcourt  13:51  
No, absolutely. I think as an entrepreneur, like you said, like you're always looking for things that can be fixed and improved. And in my mind, I could work 24 hours a day, if I had the energy for it, I just have to stop. So I have a personal life and eat and sleep all the necessary things. But I get so focused on all of the things left to do that we do rarely turn around and see all of the things we've accomplished, and it's really impressive. So talk to me about this when you are a medical esthetician what kind of like license and certifications does it take to be an employee for you?

Nicci Levy  14:27  
Great question. So we actually don't don't hire estheticians. I think that there might be some places in the US that allow esthetician licensed people to do these treatments, but certainly not in California in New York. And our our approach has always been to hire licensed medical providers. So everyone who does our services, all the people that we employ to actually perform the services that we offer our registered nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. So what we call physician extenders is it's kind of the the name of that group of people and so it's all Yeah, it's all RNs and above in terms of training, and they all have, you know, a medical medical licensing to in order to be able to perform these treatments. So that's kind of in terms of the, you know, the accreditation or the or the licensing they have to have, that's what it is. And then we, at this point only hire experienced providers, so people that have a lot of experience doing these treatments, partake, particularly Botox fillers, micro needling, we do offer a couple of other services as well. So really kind of like, you know, people that have had a good amount of experience doing this. And then once we hire them, they go through our training, and they learn sort of our alchemy, 43 way. And the idea behind that is that we really want to create consistency across all of our locations, and all of our providers so that if Mary, let's say you're visiting Los Angeles, you come into our Santa Monica store, and let's just say six months later, you you're in New York City, and you want to get a touch up of your Botox, you can walk into our flatiron store and have the exact same experience, we can pull up your chart from your experience last time and you can say I loved it, this was great. Can you just do this again? Absolutely. And we can, we can sort of recreate that exact look for you. And so there's kind of like a seamlessness or we call it like a frictionless approach to the process where you don't have any kind of friction, it's just easy. And you you have you trust the brand, you trust the company. And there's consistency across the board. So obviously, in order to get that consistency, it comes with a lot of training, and retraining and education. So that's something that we're really committed to for our providers.

Mary Harcourt  16:23  
I mean, what a great perk for a customer to be able to have multiple places to go. Because if you're a traveler, or let's say you're a speaker, or things, you are in multiple cities all of the time, and it's really easy to say, Oh, I have a location here, let me see if they can get that they can get me in versus I am never in my hometown, and I just can't get the services done. So what a great perk for your, your customers. I love education, I think education is the most powerful thing my whole like, go to motto is like always, always be growing always be learning because there is so much and it changes you know, we learn more. And the thing you things get updated and all of a sudden how we are doing it might there might be a new approach that's just a little bit less invasive and give you better results. So I'm all about education, I love it, you guys are consistent, I can see like the, the milestones the what is the core values, they I can see the core values of your brand and understand why you guys are blowing up as fast as you are, which is awesome to see. And thank you for answering my question. I never knew what it took. So that was really just selfishly me asking a question, because I'm always like, these people are medical, I think But what exactly is it nice to know that it is still a medical esthetician or a medical practitioner? Yeah, totally.

Nicci Levy  17:43  
And just and just sort of like a the more you know comment to to make to anyone who might be listening who is sort of interested in getting these treatments done maybe doesn't live in a market where there's alchemy 43 yet, and is looking for a place to go, I would say that things to look for when you're looking for a provider, I think it's really important for people to know this going in. Because I think historically there's been sort of a focus on like a board certified plastic surgeon or like a certain type of licensure or, you know, that makes somebody seem more credible. I think actually, in my experience, what's more important than that is how often they do these treatments. So whatever treatment you're looking at getting what whether it's a breast, enhance breasts, breast augmentation, or lip fillers, or Botox or anything else. Whenever when you go for that consultation and you're talking or you're doing your research to find out who you should go to, I would the questions I would ask is how big of a portion of your practice is this? Like, you know, our breast augmentations? What percentage of your total practice because you really want to go to somebody who does these things all day every day. I mean, that's how you gain expertise. That's how you become an expert. That's how you learn all the nuances. You know, it's not something that you necessarily will learn in a classroom in school, or it's not on your board exam for plastic surgery. It's really the amount of time and effort and focus you have on this particular thing. So I think a really important question to ask is How long have you been doing this? And how big of a portion of your practice is this? And I think that will tell you a lot about the provider.

Mary Harcourt  19:05  
Those are great questions. And it is true. I know there are certain services that I look into getting done and I stalked their website and page because I didn't I don't want you to just have learned it last month. Like I need to know this is what you do. I'm not interested. I saw something the other day that was like we're having a special 80% off and I was like you know, I feel like I'm gonna be a guinea pig I'd rather pay more and know you've been doing this for years.

Nicci Levy  19:29  
Exactly. Yeah, I'm not I don't know if I'm looking for a discount when it comes to my face. Yeah.

Mary Harcourt  19:33  
And then so you mentioned multiple a person can get locked into your brand and go visit them in multiple cities. Do you need to make an appointment? Is it a walk in basis? How do you work with scheduling?

Nicci Levy  19:45  
It's a good question. So we are we do we do except walk in so if you do happen to be sort of passing by and you're interested, but it's always going to be on a on an availability basis. And so we do we definitely suggest and recommend that you make appointment, one of the things in some of the feedback we get from clients is they're always amazed at how quickly they can actually get in. So it's very common to make an appointment on Monday for a Tuesday, you know, Tuesday visit or even a Tuesday morning for a Tuesday afternoon. Because this is all we do. And we're so sort of laser focused and specialized around just a handful of core services, we have really great consistency and structure around the timing and how we can do those on the books. So people often comment, but it's, you know, they, they're, they're so happy that they can get in so quickly. Because often, you know, you I'm sure we've all been there with medical offices, and you have to wait three months for an appointment with your dermatologist for your skin check or, you know, those kinds of things. So that's something that we sort of aimed, you know, through our concept. You know, one of the frictionless things that we want to do is just make it really easy for you to make an appointment and get in as quickly as you need to.

Mary Harcourt  20:49  
I love that frictionless. Were about so great, but it is true. And your services for the most part are on the shorter side, you don't go in for hours and hours you go and get it done and walk out. So it's great. How many rooms does your typical location have?

Nicci Levy  21:04  
So yeah, so I mean, I would I would explain or sort of define our store like vibe and experience as I would say it's more Salon and Spa, because to your exact point, it's not, it's not a day spa, where you're going to come and like let luxuriate and spend the whole day like we understand you're busy, you've got a busy day to get back to like you took an hour to come see us. And we're going to make that experience very easy for you and in and out. So we make it really luxurious and elevated. But it's certainly like with your with your time in mind. And not you know, we know that you don't have all day. So we want to sort of get you in and out. And so and with our setup of our stores there, I would say that our stores, our smallest location has three treatment rooms, and our largest has six. So I would say our sweet spot is around four or five treatment rooms per location we have, we definitely have a smaller kind of retail footprint. And that's also intentional in some ways to make it not feel too, too much like a doctor's office. And where there's kind of like vast hallways with tons of trimmers, we really want it to feel more of like, we call it like a jewel box where you're kind of like in this sort of intimate environment. And it feels very welcoming and kind of warm, you know, and yet you have the sort of clinical treatment rooms that are you know, set up for these services.

Mary Harcourt  22:11  
But even with that, I mean, three to five rooms, three to six rooms, you can put you can put multiple people in that service hour. And if you have multiple rooms, like you are seeing a lot of people a day.

Nicci Levy  22:24  
Absolutely. It's a good point. I mean, you know, and a good note to kind of share with people who maybe haven't tried haven't had these haven't had these treatments done yet. I mean, Botox, you know, your first visit might take a little longer, because we're getting to know you, we're going to ask you sort of all the medical questions etc. And, and so that might be a little bit longer, but I would say at most are looking at a 45 minute visit and then going forward like you're in and out in 30 minutes. So it's really a really is a quick and easy treatment. And I think it's important to note that because I think there's people out there who kind of maybe think it's going to take up hours of their day or you know, be like a vast undertaking. So these treatments really are sort of very little downtime and quick in and out what we call micro treatments.

Mary Harcourt  23:03  
I love that. Was business always easy for you? Or has there been a time or it was a struggle.

Nicci Levy  23:10  
I mean, you know, anyone who has had a retail brick and mortar business through COVID. And the pandemic, you can only imagine, you know, we have certainly seen our fair share of hard times. And I think now that I look back on it, and as I kind of reflect on it, it certainly does make you stronger to go through those things. I don't think anyone in the history of the world has ever started a business and said it was easy from day one. It is it's very difficult. It comes with great sacrifice, it comes with great, you know, sort of, you know, weight on not, you know, to your point about personal life, you know, you there's times when there isn't a personal life, there's just work and there's times when you know, you can create more balance, and it's just a matter of being I mean, for me, I honestly always say this like and this is how I think about myself, I don't think there's anything particularly unique or special about me other than I'm passionate about this and I want it to happen and I'm relentless. And in my like just my vigor for what for making for bringing my vision to life. Like I would say that the word that I would use to describe myself is relentless. Like when someone tells me No, you can't do that. I'm like, oh, that's that's a great challenge. I get really excited by the word no. And I want to figure out a way through it or around it or above it or whatever. But I absolutely just think I haven't given up and I've been I've been sort of relentless about it. And here we are today. So that I mean, that's it.

Mary Harcourt  24:29  
Yeah, every entrepreneur, every single one is going to tell you like the best advice is don't quit. But it's so generic to say however, it's very true. I love the word relentless. It's so true. My favorite is grit. You tell me no, I'm gonna go back and learn the skills needed to come back until you say yes or until we get the skills to not even need your approval. We did it all by yourself on our own. You know, we'll figure it out. Our entrepreneurs are amazing at figuring it out. And I think it's such a cool factor is why I have the podcast because I love hearing the Other Side of like, what made you just keep going? Like, what was the drive this whole time?

Nicci Levy  25:07  
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I think for me, it's just been, you know, it's just been about, I truly believe that the industry was crying out for something like this, I really, I saw, kind of with my own eyes. And I think for me, it was, it was, it was kind of a unique position because I grew up in in cosmetics and skincare. So I knew the beauty business very well from that perspective. And then I made the jump into medical esthetics. And so for me, when I went into that, I really saw it as like an extension of the beauty industry, right, because these treatments are all cosmetic elective treatments that are non invasive. So, you know, not in the consumer mind not that far of a departure from getting a facial or getting your makeup done or getting your hair done. And so, you know, the mindset around those things is similar. And so for me, I just felt like wow, you know, in in beauty, it's always like it's been, it's innate in anyone who works in beauty to know that, like, you're building an experience and connecting with the customer so much about it so much about the the sale of a product, or the you know, sale of a service is, is rooted in finding a common connection, and really connecting and creating an experience for that consumer. And in medical, you just don't see that in medical, it's like, Okay, I'm gonna get my moleskin check at the dermatologist and hey, while I'm here, can I get a couple units of Botox, like, it was just very much treated as this sort of like commodity like this, this add on service. And I mean, I really noticed from the beginning, there's like a real artistry, like the people that do these treatments really well, they it's an art form, like they look at the whole face, they see the face is like a, you know, as a like, sort of as a canvas, if you will, and they figure out all the different ways that they can kind of create these great harmonizing and balance results. And, you know, I really thought that was something that was being kind of under talked about and under focused on and I really thought, you know, there's an artistry to doing these treatments, well, and let's, let's bring that to the forefront. So I think, honestly, for me, it was like what I saw so clearly that was needed for the injectable, the sort of non invasive aesthetics business was a direct result of my experience in beauty and like kind of applying beauty best practices to like medical esthetics is kind of what we're all about,

Mary Harcourt  27:07  
which I think it's a perfect hybrid of branching both worlds. Because when you think of a doctor office, it's usually so sterile and cold and dimly lit and awkward and quiet. And it's a very transactional like, Okay, doctor will see you now in room two, and then close the door and you wait forever. And you're wondering, you're looking around at everything on the walls, and then this random person comes in and introduce yourself as a doctor, and then you get the procedure. But it really is, you guys have figured out a way to make it warm and inviting and just kind of like welcoming and bring in the spa aspect of, hey, we're gonna do all of the same things, but in a much more connected way that we get to find out about you your life, what your goals are. And from there, build this profile to give you the services to make you super happy, which I think I do think that there was a massive hole in the market for that. And again, I know I've said it before, but this is why you're growing so fast. So big is there it is a welcome change. But also, like where do you guys see how many do you think you'll have? Because I also feel like this industry is just getting started if you fast forward 1015 years from now.

Nicci Levy  28:16  
So true. Yeah, I mean, it's growing hand over fist to your point, not only our I think, you know, more brands and branded concepts coming to the forefront that are doing more of this sort of connecting with the customer and creating that loyalty, and all of that, I think, but we're also just seeing the market grow exponentially with new users. So people that you know, historically either felt like there was a stigma attached to these treatments, and now the stigma is gone. Or they were, you know, they were misinformed about what these treatments actually do and how they work. And now they've now they're getting more informed information. And so they feel better about taking this on. But we are seeing a huge rise in you know, sort of new people to the market. And there's all the data and statistics from the industry are showing that the industry is expected to double by 2025 in size. So, so yeah, just tons of new people coming to market. And so I think to your point, there's a real opportunity to kind of like, get in front of that. And, you know, really our aim and our goal is to be synonymous with, you know, cosmetic injectable. So in the same way that both the brand name Botox has has garnered such national and national recognition, right? Everybody knows what Botox is, even though it's actually a brand. You know, we really want to be synonymous with that. We want you to think Botox alchemy, 43, because there is really not one player right now, that is the go to brand for this stuff. We think there's really an opportunity because, yeah, it's historically been extremely fragmented. About 95% of Botox providers in this country today are one off medical practices, like one, you know, one location, so there's really an opportunity, I think, for multiple players to get, you know, to sort of really get out in front of it and create a sort of unique replicatable experience. So that's our hope. And so, yeah, to answer your question about how many locations I see us having, I mean, I think we you know, within the unless there's an opportunity for us to have over 200 locations, and really be like, you know, sort of in all of the major in all of the market areas where you're getting, you know, you're getting services done. So where you're going to your Equinox where you're going to Phil's coffee or Starbucks, there's real opportunity for us to sort of be in all of those neighborhoods.

Mary Harcourt  30:19  
We are witnessing history and the making guys. Well, I mean, like, so break it down like that, if you're in an Equinox gym, you may not have a location that has six rooms, but a location has one or two rooms. There is plenty of people going to the gym to keep that service provider busy all day long.

Nicci Levy  30:38  
Yeah. Oh, yeah, totally. I mean, if you're Yeah, I mean, I was talking more about being kind of like next door being in the same neighborhood as but yeah, to your point. I mean, I think there's lots of different like, co branded partnership opportunities, we think a lot about CO tenancy when we're going into new markets. We're about to sign a lease in Houston, which is going to be near a really popular boxing concept. Like we think a lot about, you know, sort of who those customers are, and, and, you know, where there's like a lot of shared customer, you know, sort of give and take, and there's great opportunities, obviously, for partnerships, and, you know, co sponsorships and things like that. So, we think a lot about that. And but but more, you know, I think the the biggest takeaway is, as we think about our real estate strategy, it's where are you going to consume services on a regular basis? Where are you going to, you know, where's your local host? Whole Foods? Where's your local trader? Joe's? Where's your local high end nail salon? You know, those kinds of things? And that's how we kind of think about about where we'll be.

Mary Harcourt  31:32  
Yeah, I mean, makes perfect sense. It's totally smart. That's the right way to do it is, where's your target audience already spending their day and their money? And then there you are present yourself? Yeah, it's also interesting. So you said, You'll, it'll double by 2025, which is just mind blowing. But I believe it at a couple of things, the stigma is falling. It's no longer like, hush, hush, we don't talk about this. Now. I think you have a cocktail with a girlfriend, and it always comes up in conversation. It's just part of the game, too. Social media has made it understandable. So these, these these services used to just be done behind a closed door. And if the person was hush hush about talking, nobody knew what they were. We're now you see so much before and after. here's the here's my issue I had, then I got this, and it's relatable where you're like, oh, I have that. And I want this. And then there's god.

Nicci Levy  32:29  
Yeah, I have. Yeah, yeah, I do. Oh, no, I'm just gonna say I agree. I mean, think social media has really changed the game for for this industry, because to your point, it was something that was sort of shrouded in mystery before, like, there just wasn't a lot of information. And I'll tell you, the industry standpoint on that is, it's really because the owners of these, like the the big manufacturers of these drug companies, they're very tightly regulated about what they can and can't say, that doesn't attach to like an FDA warning, you know, when you see a commercial for like allergy medications, they have to say, like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you have this heart condition, you know, all those like, those scary things at the end. And so they're very limited as to what they can do to educate the public about these treatments. And so to your point before social media, like how are they going to learn, like, you know, I mean, I still to this day have have people that asked me who, you know, I would think that we're kind of experts on the on the topic, they'd be like, Oh, can I get Botox in my lips? People still think Botox goes in your lips. And I'm like, no, no, you would not want to put Botox in your lips. Botox goes in your upper face, it relaxes the muscle. So if you got Botox in your lips, you wouldn't be able to use them. That would not be good. And so you know, there's a lot of things like a lot of learning things, but you'd be amazed how many misconceptions there have been, you know, over the years, and people thinking one thing or the other, because there just wasn't,

Mary Harcourt  33:46  
but also that they have a confidence now to ask those questions. There's an interest there that, yeah, there's an intrigue of, Hey, I saw this, and I don't quite know how it works. So I'm going to ask you, so you can explain it to me. And then I have the knowledge where I think before it just wasn't talked about, there was no interest, it wasn't as intriguing. It was, I don't spend that money. I don't get that done.

Nicci Levy  34:08  
When he asked about it, you know, people make this view a certain way. Like, they might perceive you as being vain. If you ask about that, or if you talk about it. You're right. I mean, I think that there's just been a lot of evolution. And I would argue that like all beauty services go through this to some degree, right? Like this sort of a period of, of, oh, I would never do that. I'm not that type of person. And then to like, oh, well, I do it. But I'm not going to tell anyone because that's, you know, going to make me look a certain way, right? And then it's like before long, it's like everyone's doing it. Where do you go? What's your place? You know,

Mary Harcourt  34:37  
how literally we experienced this with lashes eyelash salon in Hermosa Beach, California. And you saw the people say, I please make it so natural that my husband doesn't know. I don't want questions. I don't want my kids to question me. I just want them to be so natural, but then their response was so good. I'm like, Wow, you look so good. Honey, what did you get done? Like, you look so young and like, Yeah, you look beautiful. I love it whatever you're doing, please do it and they'll come back and be like my husband loves it. Can we go like a little bit more? Yeah, we'll go a little bit more than the friends start noticing like Suzy What are you doing you just so we're fresh? What and then you know they have that moment of I could not share or shoot I'll just say it I started getting eyelash extension. Yeah, and then all the friends are like, Oh my god, I should do it too. Maybe I'll do it and then they all start coming in. And you had that moment you could have shut shut up and nobody would ever we know you got lash extensions, or you start the circle of hey, this is what I'm doing. You should do it too. It's really nice. It makes you feel so great. Yeah, and like my husband approves of it My kids love it. Everyone now is like it's such a positive experience and that's where the the what do you call it though? I don't know it compounds now all of a sudden everyone's interested. And then you start educating yourself on good lashes and bad lashes great skincare bad skincare amazing Bata Botox, not that great. But

Nicci Levy  35:57  
yeah, it's so true. Yeah, I would say it's like it's one of the toughest industries because and it probably the same is true for lash extensions. Actually. I would say like if you walk into a room of 20 people, right? Everyone has had Botox and fillers, but one person looks over done out of the 20 You're gonna go Oh, see that has that person. That's what Botox, it's like, you won't notice the other 19 that looks fabulous, right? You're not gonna even question that the one that looks over done kind of gives the whole thing a bad rap. And so, you know, our main our tagline is, for that reason, the best work goes unnoticed. Like the best work truly goes on notice. Like, I don't know what's going on with you. But you look great. I don't know what's happening with you, but you look refreshed. Did you just get back from vacation? Are you in love? Like what's happening? Because to your point, you know, the right compliment is not oh my gosh, your forehead looks so smooth. Who does your Botox, right? It's like that you don't want sort of someone to say that to you.

Mary Harcourt  36:49  
The same same thing with lashes, we did natural looking lashes, we want you to get compliments on you. And you can tell your friends, whatever you did, if you want, but also, I don't want you to walk in the room and be like, Oh, wow, you got your lashes done. Okay? No, hey, you look really, really good. And I think to your point, if we go back to the one that's been overdone, I think it's like what men pick up onto, they're always like, Oh, no, don't do that. You're gonna look silly, and it's gonna be like, you're gonna have the puffy lips, and you're gonna do all this stuff. And like, it's only because they only notice the ones that are cut over done. So

Nicci Levy  37:30  
exactly like that. That's bad work. If you do that, that's not Yeah. That's not all you want. I know, it's so true. I actually had a woman say to me, and this was this really cracked me up. I had never thought about this. Men are so funny. So you know, historically, to your point, I think men have had a lot of work like preconceived notions about this. And I mean to that, to that point, like, we still have customers every day who say, Can I pay on three different credit cards? So my husband doesn't know, or can I pay in cash? So my husband doesn't know. I mean, you'd be amazed how many people still want to keep their beauty secrets a secret from their significant other, which is fine. But what's funny is I had a woman say to me, yeah, my husband won't like he doesn't want my, to me to get my lips done or me to have like, you know, my cheekbones too full. But he doesn't mind if I get big fake boobs, for whatever reason. That's okay. But like, God forbid, my lips look a little bit fake. Like, it's just funny how she was like, and I was like, well, let's talk about let's unpack that. And she was like, Well, you know, he can only he can see the boobs, you know, versus, you know, seeing the whole face, which just cracks me up. I had never thought about that.

Mary Harcourt  38:28  
Well, I think it's a little generational to like anyone that grew up with Baywatch. And that whole like, Hugh Hefner, the bunnies like you, that's what you associate with. We're I don't think it's normalized yet to grow up seeing things and seeing them look good. You only notice someone they're not so great looking. And that's what you know that as that's changing. I mean, I love all the shows too, like skin decisions where you take someone and these are normal everyday people, they just do different procedures to and I watched it with my husband going like see like he's a dude, that still looks like a dude. But look at how much they improved. And you would have never known he had anything done.

Nicci Levy  39:13  
Like he's got this great jawline now. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, it's true. I think that is that is that is a big a big sort of that's helping to sort of that evolution or change about you know, people not thinking it makes you look fake and crazy. You can also look great.

Mary Harcourt  39:30  
So that brings up a good point, how much of your business how much do you see men like what percentage of men are you starting to see?

Nicci Levy  39:37  
That's a great question there actually, it's it's becoming a larger and larger portion of our business and of the industry as a whole. So when I worked at Allergan, it was about men made up about 10% of the total user population of Botox and fillers. Today, I think that number is even higher, and I can tell you certainly from our perspective at alchemy, 43 and we are very focused on making our experience very inclusive for all genders and all, you know, all ages, all genders, all races, and so very inclusive experience across the board. And I will tell you that about by the end of last year, about 25% of our total client base was men. And that continues to grow. For us. It's something that's a very important demographic that work.

Mary Harcourt  40:20  
I'm gonna say, I think you'll see it continue to grow, because that's something that women will do, well will like sit through a phone and we'll look at someone's profile. And we'll do all the behind the scenes research, right? But if a guy tells another guy, I got this, and it worked that guy, so

Nicci Levy  40:36  
that's it. That's all it needs to happen. You're exactly right. They're so they're so influenced by each other's stories. Yeah.

Mary Harcourt  40:43  
Yeah, it's just once a guy says it's okay. And it works for me that next guy's Okay, and he's gonna go tell someone else. And they think too, it's like learning all the different things. I don't think we ever knew how much you could change or improve about your appearance as we did five years ago, you know, maybe it was just Botox, and you put it in your forehead, and there's lip injections. Now, there's so many things,

Nicci Levy  41:06  
oh, you can build a jawline, you can contour your face, you can turn up the corners of your mouth, I mean, incredible things. And actually, there's a lot of things that are specific to men that I've learned through this process with, you know, sort of understanding the male consumer when it comes to beauty. A lot of men that you may not know this, this was news to me, a lot of men grow beards and groom them a certain way, because they don't like their chin. And a lot of like men that don't have like a strong chin line, they'll they sort of they literally grow the hair and groom it this way, so that they will have more of a chin. Because historically, the only way to be able to do that right to have a chin would be to create to have a plus have surgery done and get like a chin implant. And that's a pretty invasive procedure that a lot of guys probably won't, you know want to do, when now you can do that with fillers, like fillers, you can actually build a full jawline, have a full chin, and it's very non invasive, it's easy. It's not painful, like all these things, right? So these are all things that you know, again, we didn't know we're, you know, a lot of people still don't know our options for them. But I think now with social media, and to your point, like people being more open about these treatments, more people know that you can do more.

Mary Harcourt  42:08  
Yeah, I mean, I think they're like becoming more options. But also, we as a culture are in front of a screen now more than we ever had. So you used to be able to hide behind, I'm not they're gonna hide behind a room, but like used to be able to just go to your job and have a meeting with eight people. Now, like you're on a zoom with sometimes 1000s of people. So if there's something you're self conscious about, and there's a way to fix it, or change it or improve it, you know, we it's really easy to connect the dots going, I'm going to try this because I think it'll help this part of my life. And that was never really something you had to worry about five years ago being around so many people on a screen, or in in real life.

Nicci Levy  42:47  
Yeah. Yeah, it has changed when also the other thing was zoom, as we know, as you see yourself to, like, you know, when you're when you're, when you're sitting on a zoom screen, like you see your own expression, you see your own face, again, more than we ever have, right? You're not sitting in a meeting in a built in a conference room with a mirror in front of yourself usually. Right. So. So yeah, so that's also been new, right? Like staring at ourselves all day long. It's kind of, you know, hard not to like, look and go home. And while I'm, you know, I could use a little

Mary Harcourt  43:15  
while now, but yeah, it's still true. It's totally Well, I'm sure you guys have a great marketing team. And you must have been in the media quite often, because you have a lot of amazing things going on. But how has social proof helped build your business?

Nicci Levy  43:28  
Social proof, like meaning like, like testimonials, and just like in general, social proof?

Mary Harcourt  43:34  
Testimonials, reviews, sometimes it's like press releases, Article magazine, or magazine articles. Any of those?

Nicci Levy  43:43  
Yeah. I mean, I would say honestly, like that is, you know, because these treatments, and I always, you know, there's a lot of ways in which they're similar to other beauty services, like I mentioned earlier, getting your nails, your hair, your makeup, your facial, done, but there's also a lot of ways in which these treatments are very different, because they are actually medical in nature, they're quite a bit more expensive, right, than your average beauty service. And, and there's a there's an element of trust with these treatments, there's no question. I mean, you know, we're talking about an average price point, or an average ticket of, you know, 600 plus dollars per visit, right? I mean, that's in the end, what you're going to pay if you come and get these treatments on a regular basis. And so that's a lot of money. And it's also a lot of trust, you know, you're getting a needle in your face like this is not, you know, you can't go home and wash it off. Right. And so there is a real trust base to this. And I think people recognize that and there's a lot of, you know, it probably in the right way like people are, are there's a lot of fear, right? They want to they want to make the right decisions about these treatments. They want to go to a reputable, trustworthy place for these services. And so those testimonials, anything word of mouth reviews, they go so far. Today's consumer is doing a lot of homework before they set foot in our business. And I think that would be true of all businesses, right? It's like before they even come in CES are even before they call to book an appointment. They're looking at our Yelp reviews, they are looking at our other online reviews, they're checking out our Instagram page, or they're looking at our Tic Toc, they are doing their homework. And that is really what's helping them make that decision of if they're going to pay us a visit or not, you know, and so, there's no I don't think there's like a quantifiable amount of money that it's worth to us to have people you know, you know, tell talking about their experiences, and hopefully in a positive way, right? Because it does carry all the weight in the world consumers are, that's how they're finding us.

Mary Harcourt  45:34  
Well, it's true. And I don't know if you've ever heard like the touches how it used to take your consumer eight touches, and then it was 11, I think recently got raised to 14. And so each time they see your Instagram has a touch your website, your flyer, walking by and seeing the sign hearing an ad on the radio, these are all touches, and it takes a significant amount of multiple touches, someone has to recommend you go on their Yelp page, if you go to their website, and you're essentially painting them the picture of who you are across multiple platforms. No longer is it okay, just to have a website. I don't think anyone can really make it these days with just a website, you have to have some form of social media, especially in the beauty industry, because you're showing off your before and afters. You want people to see themselves as the before and want to be the after. And then I mean, you got to put it on as yourself and Google you have to put yourself on on Yelp, there's all these different touches that you're like you said your customer does their research, like they are seeing multiple platforms before their pool before they're making that decision.

Nicci Levy  46:38  
Yeah. I mean, oftentimes, they'll come in with a photo of something from our website, or from or from some of these on our Instagram. They're like, how do I get this? I want I want to look like this, or I love this look. And it's like, yeah, they're they're doing their homework to your point. And, and it's true, that multiple touch thing. I wonder why it's increased? And I probably has to do with how much how much sort of distraction there is nowadays. Like, I wonder why it's gone up. But it's probably because there's just so much more.

Mary Harcourt  47:06  
Well, I think the decrease of attention span, and the increase of how much information you can freely get rapidly where you didn't used to be able to have so much information at your hands at one point. Well, tell me, what advice do you have for somebody that's wants to go to school, become a medical practitioner and work in an office like alchemy? 43? What's your advice to help help them keep pushing and that it's going to be worth it at the end of like their graduation certificate?

Nicci Levy  47:41  
Yeah, absolutely. It's a great question. And I will also say, just for clarity sake, I am not myself, I'm not a provider, I'm not an injector. And obviously, these are professionals, medical professionals that we rely on to run our business and to take great care of our patients. And I have deep deep admiration for this, you know, for this trade and for what they do. And you know, I also will say that between nurse practitioner, Pa and RN, the licensing, you know, it's different across the board in terms of how many years of schooling, what type of school, etc. But you do have to go through sort of, like let's just use as an example nursing school, you have to go through the full training of like everything from how you know, what you do in an ER, if you're working in urgent care or a doctor's office, you know, and so the cosmetic piece of it is kind of like at the very end, if you're interested in that particular specialty, then you have to go in and get additional training on that. So it's not just about getting the license, right, it's about going in educating yourself even further and or finding a place or a person who's willing to train you. And so I would just say that it's a great lifestyle, like it's the most the the non invasive cosmetic medicine path for nurses and nurse practitioners and PAs is one of the most highly paid in medicine so it's really well compensated. And it's also extremely great for your lifestyle, you know, if you think of other types of nursing, and certainly I don't want to discount how important it is that we have, you know, nurses and nurse practitioners and PAs that are working in our emergency rooms and doing you know actually like helping people that are ill and in need of care like you know, endless admiration for those people and that's very important work but if you do want to get into being an injector and the cosmetic side of the business you know it's a great lifestyle in terms of hours you know, pay all of those things and it's happy work you know, you're making you're putting smiles on people's faces all day so you know it's it's a great industry to get to be a part of

Mary Harcourt  49:34  
I love it. It's fulfilling as well as instant gratification you get to see someone come in and want to achieve a certain look and literally walk out smiling because you did that for them you were able to bring them that vision they had in their head and now you get to be fulfilled and like you made that person's day that's gonna have no Yeah, effects are gonna last longer than those day

Well, Nikki, I'm rooting you guys on I hope you open an Austin location if I am out and about and I see them I will certainly pop in. Where can people find and, ya know, where can people find more about you yourself and then also alchemy 43

Nicci Levy  50:16  
Well, thank you so much. i It's been a total pleasure to be a part of this today and love chatting with you. Um, so my Instagram is at Nikki Levy, it's Nicci le v y, and then my LinkedIn page as well. I'm pretty active on LinkedIn. You can learn more about my business journey and you know what we're up to as a company. And then our Instagram page for alchemy. 43 is just at alchemy. 43 and we're on Instagram, tick tock and Facebook. So you can find us at any of those places as well as as hopefully in your neighbor coming to a neighborhood near you soon.

Mary Harcourt  50:46  
I mean, 200 locations I am cheering you on.

Nicci Levy  50:52  
We're going to be busy. We're going to be very busy. Yes.

Mary Harcourt  50:56  
Yeah, and I love your transparency. I think it's so important education is totally like my high point I think everyone should learn and grow. I love it. That's a huge factor in your well, your establishments and also that you're kicking ass like you're out there just making this all happen. I think it's really cool. So definitely look her up, follow her. She's somebody that you can model yourself after. I'm sure you're open to questions and what a great entrepreneur.

Nicci Levy  51:22  
Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me, Mary. Okay,

Mary Harcourt  51:30  
yeah, thank you. Okay, let me just stop. That's perfect. Thank you.