One lesson that most of us learned during the pandemic was to take better care of ourselves. According to a 2021 survey conducted by wellness tech platform Mindbody, more than three in four Americans feel that wellness is more important than ever, and half plan to spend more money on self-care in the near future. Many of those people will be going to gyms, day spas, and other clinics for a wide array of services and treatments. But an increasing number are choosing MedSpas, which combines the “feel” of a luxury spa with certified technicians conducting (typically minor) medical procedures, such as botox injections.
Although the number of spas in the United States dipped slightly last year to just over 21,500, there appears to be little doubt that MedSpas are about to experience an unprecedented boom. Consider that in 2021, new business applications surged to a record, and while they have moderated a bit in 2022, far more small businesses are being formed today than any year prior. Wellness clinics, for example, are projected to grow in double-digits through the end of the decade, outperforming the entrepreneurial boom as a whole.
Along with the popularity of at-home and virtual treatments, this raises the specter of market saturation. But a group of scrappy MedSpa owners plans to thrive by differentiating their products and services, reaching out to underserved demographics, and embracing important causes.
A “light touch.”
Orlando, Florida’s LightTouch Med Spa is one of these. General Manager Alex Medeiros says that his MedSpa stands out in one of the country’s fastest-growing metro areas because of its affordability — a massive plus at a time when Americans’ budgets are being squeezed by inflation. But Madeiros says lower prices don’t have to mean fewer or lower-end services.
LightTouch Med Spa handles a variety of laser treatments, injections, and radiofrequency body contouring treatments. By catering to men and women alike and offering Botox for under nine dollars, he says that LightTouch has become one of the top-performing injectable MedSpas in the Orlando area in the past couple of years. Medeiros also keeps his clients up-to-date on the latest trends, including the recently-popularized “baby botox,” with a popular in-website blog.
Botox for all
Just a few hours south of Orlando, Brazilian immigrant Carla Castro opened the doors of Botoplace last year with co-founder Fabiola Lederman. She calls it the first-of-its-kind walk-in, botox-only, flat-fee clinic.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Castro decided to leave a 20-year career in order to follow a dream — one grounded in the belief that beauty should be accessible to every woman on the planet. Botoplace, she says, is the rare MedSpa that charges no hidden fees and never tries to upsell its clients into more expensive treatments.
“Beauty is self-esteem, and self-esteem influences your physical and mental health, your attitude at work, the way people see you — everything,” Castro says. “During the pandemic, we saw the second pandemic of depression and anxiety. That’s why Botoplace is an empowering place where all women can reclaim their self-esteem. We want our clients to look in the mirror and not just feel good but see their confidence reflected back in the mirror.”
Botoplace, believing no business can thrive without purpose and giving back to the community, has dedicated a percentage of its treatments to support survivors of domestic abuse, something that Castro personally experienced.
Caring for the community and its veterans
Crystal Bethea opened C3 Wellness Spa in one of the happiest places on earth: Kissimmee, Florida, home to Disney World. She offers a standard fare of spa services like massages, facials, waxing and tinting, permanent makeup, and body contouring, but she also ventures into more holistic care, like acupuncture, salt therapy, IV infusion therapy, hot yoga, and physical therapy. But Bethea says that patriotism is what truly sets C3 apart.
Like many Central Floridians, Bethea happens to be an army veteran. And like Carla Castro, she wanted to use her business to give back to others who had been through similar experiences. For these reasons, C3 specializes in helping veterans, and community members understand how their insurance can cover physical ailments in order to empower them to live healthy, active lives.
“Being an Army veteran myself and coming from a family of vets, I know how important it is for them to have insurance that covers their healthcare needs,” Bethea says. “Staying up to date with the constant changes of billing and following up with requested documentation can be equally frustrating and exhausting. The slightest mistake could delay or deny payment coverage, so waiting weeks or months for a service can become extremely stressful.”
Bethea calls C3 a “holistic” healing center because it openly acknowledges that much of the damage done to veterans — and others — is both physical and mental. For this reason, C3 accepts primary medical insurance, including Medicare, United Health Care, Cigna, Aetna, and more.
These days, Bethea is particularly focused on ensuring that veterans and community members don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for the care they need. Many facilities ultimately decide not to operate through insurance providers due to the time, costs, and red tape that are often associated with it.
Nevertheless, Bethea says C3’s mission goes far beyond the treatments they provide. “We’re not just a spa,” she says. “We are, in many ways, a reeducation center for those who may not know how to deal with pain, adjust to new circumstances, or understand the nuances of their insurance provider’s specific terms.”
About the Author: James D Scurlock is a Seattle native and Wharton School dropout. In 2006, he directed the documentary, Maxed Out, an expose of predatory lending in America that was released by Magnolia Pictures and Netflix one year before the global financial crisis exposed the deep fissures of an industry run amok. He is also the author of the books, Maxed Out: Hard Times in the Age of Easy Credit (Scribner, HarperCollins); and King Larry: The Life & Ruins of a Billionaire Genius (Scribner) and the producer of several documentaries, including Parents of the Year/Padres del Ano (HBO). His new book, Welcome to the Investing Class! will be released by Potomac Press in 2023. James lives in Winter Park, Florida, with his partner of ten years and works as a writer for Otter PR.