Welcome to our Making a (Multi) Million Dollar MedSpa Podcast. We have been talking about starting a podcast for over a year and to kick off 2022 we are finally carving out the time to make it happen! We are so excited to dive in and start hosting real conversations about what it takes to run a successful medspa. 

In this first episode, we sit down to introduce the inspiration behind the podcast and share a little bit of background about MINT Aesthetics, AesthetiCare, and ourselves. 

In this episode you’ll learn:

  1. Our journey into aesthetics and the world of training and consulting
  2. Some of the most important and impactful principles that drive our success
  3. The exciting plans for future episodes of this podcast

Helpful Links:

  1. Learn more about our consulting and training options.
  2. Connect with us on InstagramFacebook, and LinkedIn.
  3. Listen on Apple Podcasts
  4. Listen on Spotify Podcasts

Podcast Transcript

Kathy Taranto  0:26

Hi, welcome to the Making of a (Multi) Million Dollar Med Spa. I’m Kathy Taranto, and I’m here with my business partner, and husband, Matt. 

Matt Taranto  0:34
Same last name, Taranto. 

Kathy Taranto  0:35
That’s right. And we’re really excited to do this episode because it’s our very first episode of The Making of a Multi Million Dollar Med Spa, the podcast. 

Matt Taranto  0:44
That’s right, we’re entering the world of podcasts. 

Kathy Taranto  0:47
So alright, so just to get started, I thought we would introduce ourselves give a little bit of background about why you got in the industry. What makes you an expert in the med spa arena? 

Matt Taranto  0:56
Well, a lot of years, I’m old. I got in this industry in the mid 90s. I actually got in very early. I was an independent rep. Back then the companies didn’t use employees, they used independent reps. So I actually repped like four different types of lasers, microdermabrasion, skincare lines, I had a van and I would load it up. I traveled 70,000 miles a year, it was crazy! Became a laser trainer. So I could not only sell the equipment, but teach how to use the equipment. And then in 2001, I thought “You know what… I’m asking people to buy this equipment. I would be better at that if I owned it and used it. And so I started AesthetiCare, our clinic.

Kathy Taranto  1:35
But you’re not a doctor..

Matt Taranto  1:36
I’m not a doctor. I have no initials behind my name at all. But I just thought it looked fun. I thought my business background would help. And so obviously we had a doctor, but started small on 1,000 Square feet, with one nurse, one aesthetician, and me. It was crazy. We didn’t have a lot of money. Obviously these things can be a little expensive to open. So for marketing, I literally would go to grocery stores and put fliers into windshields. I hired some of my friends’ kids to go through neighborhoods and hang door hangers on the doorknobs just to let people know we existed. But that was 20 years ago. 

Kathy Taranto  2:14
And so people are probably wondering, you know, we’re doing a podcast about making a multimillion dollar Med Spa, what was the revenue last year at AesthetiCare?

Matt Taranto  2:23
So it was kind of interesting, because we opened our second location about a year and a half ago. So we’ve been very fortunate in 20 years, we’ve had 20 consecutive years of at least double digit growth. And last year, for the first time, we broke 9 million in our one location. And we opened up AesthetiCare Liberty, which is a suburb about 40 minutes away, about a year and a half ago.  In our first year our goal as a very small clinic, 1,500 square feet, was to do a million dollars. And we did $2.1 million. So our combined revenue is about $11.3-11.4 million. That’s huge. 

Kathy Taranto  2:57
Okay, so now I’ll let you go back to when you were just getting started. But I think it’s just important for our listeners to hear how successful we are now so now listening to you talk about just getting into it, it’s just so important to hear the steps along the way.

Matt Taranto  3:09
I think in any industry, you want to gravitate towards people who have credibility. And I think what makes us different at MINT Aesthetics, and you’ll talk about MINT in a minute here (MINT is our training consulting company), is we are not somebody who worked at a clinic for a few years and now we’re consulting. Or we owned it for a couple of years, sold it, and now we’re consulting. We’ve owned it for 20 years. And I think we plan on owning it for another 20, because we love it and it’s just going so well. So with our consulting clients, and you know, doing things like this podcast, it’s about having an open book and showing them “listen, here’s what we do.” And I’m not saying we’re perfect. In fact, we’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But hopefully we learn and we can teach you from those mistakes. But we’ve done a lot of good things. And we’ve learned a lot along the way. With MINT, as you know, we’ve worked with over 1,600 clinics and we pull things from those clinics too. So we use AesthetiCare as a model. But I think the biggest thing, and I think you can attest to this is: I get up every morning and I never dread going to work. I love it. We’ve assembled this amazing team, which is the most important thing you can do is surround yourself with just wonderful human beings. Wonderful employees who are passionate, they work hard, they’re fun to be around, they’re ethical. And if you do this the right way, it’s just amazing. So much fun. 

Kathy Taranto  4:28
So what do you think are is one or a few of the most like the most impactful or factors that really contribute to groing from that one-nurse-one-aesthetician, to doing over $9 million at one location last year and then opening a new location and hitting that over $2 million mark in the first year?

Matt Taranto  4:49
Well, you know, the best quote I’ve ever heard about running a business, and really the way that I want to run my business, is by Richard Branson, who owns Virgin. He said “train your staff so well, that they could leave you and get any job they want, but treat them so well that they will never leave you.” One of the things we’re most proud of is the first nurse we hired 20 years ago is still here. We just don’t have turnover.

Kathy Taranto  5:14
And she stays because you like to scare her in the hallway?

Matt Taranto  5:17
I do like to scare my employees all the time. Yeah, I think it’s a love hate. But no, you know, we pay really well, we treat them really, really well. We have great benefits. I think we’re very, very proactive on staying up to date on the latest technology, whether it’s lasers, or radio frequency, or ultrasound. Same with kinds of the skincare product, our retail product line. We invest a lot of money into learning from others, bringing trainers and sending our staff out. And I tell you, it’s such a simple recipe for business success, and not just in Aesthetics. Just hire amazing people. Don’t hire average people. Treat them amazingly well, pay them well, encourage them. Make sure that you’re making them better at their craft all the time. And when you do that, I mean, I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s kind of easy.

Kathy Taranto  6:05
Well, I’ve always told you, you’re my favorite speaker.

Matt Taranto  6:08
She has to. 

Kathy Taranto  6:11
It’s really true. The the level of success that AesthetiCare has had is so important.  You’re also so willing to share our successes, but also our failures. And try to make it fun along the way, not only for our AesthetiCare team, but also for our MINT clients. 

Matt Taranto  6:30
I think it’s really important. I will tell you in all honesty, of all the clinics that we work with between you and I (I mean we we speak at hundreds of aesthetic conferences throughout North America) bad clinics give us a bad name. Clinics that don’t do well, that damage people’s skin, that don’t treat people well… it’s not good for our industry. We know firsthand. I really think the biggest issue: I believe 80% of the clinics I’ve worked with are under trained, and some of them dramatically under trained. I’ve always said the best money we ever spent is when we make our staff better. When we can make our staff better they get better results from their treatments, they have happier clients, and we get more referrals. I just think that it’s important that we share. And and again, I think we’re unique when we work with our consulting clients, and we we show our numbers, here’s what we generate, here’s what we pay in payroll, here’s how we do our marketing, here’s how we teach our consultations. I mean, it’s an open book. Because as a consultant, and I’m sure you agree, there’s nothing better than when we work with a client and a year later, two years later, they’re just doing amazingly well. It gives you a lot of gratification that you were able to be a part of that.

Kathy Taranto  7:40
It’s so much fun! So rewarding! Now, just a little bit about me… just to get to know kind of a little bit about my background as well. I started in this industry in January of 2000. And actually worked the cosmetic counters.  I started as a rep, a skincare rep for cosmeceutical company, and I stayed with that company for about seven years. And it really opened my eyes to so many things in the industry. I mean, I always joke that, you know, before that I didn’t even know what an aesthetician was, I probably couldn’t pronounce it much less spell it. But they taught me you know, everything from facials to body wraps. And I think even more importantly, about high level customer service, because my clients were the golden door med spas, the Four Seasons. These really high end experiences, that growing up in my youth I didn’t get or have exposure to. So to see that was really amazing. Then as the industry shifted towards more of the medical side, which you also saw and were a big part of, I wanted to get involved in that. So I decided…

Matt Taranto  8:59
I think I’m gonna interrupt you for a second. I think one thing that’s so vital about the years you had… we always talk about this is not insurance-based medicine, it’s retail. And so you really were immersed in the retail side of it, which I think is a huge benefit in your teaching. Because again, we are a retail business. We’re asking people to spend money on things they do not need, it’s a want. And so treating it like a retail business. I think that gave you some great experience there.

Kathy Taranto  9:24
It was amazing experience and all of my college years actually spent in retail. So working for Estee Lauder and Calvin Klein and some of those companies.  I think in our industry, once I’d been in it for so many years, I just wanted to make a bigger impact in the skin in a shorter period of time. I saw that lasers were definitely the way to go versus a French skincare line. So I just said “Well, hey, why don’t I sell lasers?” I decided that in order to sell lasers, I should know how to use them. So I went and took laser physics and safety and all the hands on courses and fortunately started working with a distributorship at a company that also had a clinic. And so I fell in love with the clinical side of things. Then the way that the economy went in Arizona, in 07-08, during the market crash laser sales also crashed. So I started the laser rental company, and I would get up at four in the morning, pack up the laser, drop it off, and then pick it up at night. That part of my career really got me into the inner workings of a lot of different med spas, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and medical spas. To see how was their team treated? How were they trained? How do they treat their clients? How successful or not successful? All those pieces, which is also I think, such a big piece to my career. As the industry did come back… The sale of lasers came back, but at that point, I’d fallen in love with training. In 2010, Arizona changed laws and required all of the laser providers, whether it was an MD or an aesthetician, to take a specific course. So I teamed up and we developed the first state approved laser facility. I taught and ran that clinic for a number of years, and then I fell in love with this guy from Kansas City.

Matt Taranto  11:13
I tell you, we made a lot of mistakes, and we want to share our mistakes. This is one of hers: to leave the horrible place like Scottsdale to come to God’s country here in Kansas City.

Kathy Taranto  11:32
It’s just the best decision I ever made! To be able to work with the AesthetiCare team and to really double the growth and be a part of that since I came on board. Then to do MINT Aesthetics together, which really has become such a passion of mine.  To be able to take all that we’ve learned at AesthetiCare and to organize it into methods and courses and ways that are easier to implement into a clinic. I just love doing that. I love all the details in that. You love the whole big picture of it.  I think between the two of us, it works really well.

Matt Taranto  12:15
I think we have a good synergy. We have our clinics, and obviously we learn a lot every day from those. I think this is such an amazing time to be in Aesthetics. We’ve had ridiculous growth, six of the busiest months in our 20 year history have been in the last 12 months. So we’re moving this direction.  I think we barely scratched the surface. But what you’ve done with MINT, is take everything that we do plus everything we’ve learned from other clinics, and sharing it with clinics all over. I think the industry has shifted so much. I remember back in the 90s and really the early 2000s, almost every doctor I worked with was a plastic or derm. Now it is internal medicine, OBGYN and family practice, ER. I remember a psychiatrist I worked with in Little Rock, Arkansas to open a clinic. Three sisters were nurses and they ended up having this wonderful clinic. I think the industry is unique right now because 1)There’s a poll recently in primary care –  they polled 1900 primary care doctors (primary care being internal medicine, family practice, OBGYN, and ER) and they said, “Hey, would you want one of your children to be a primary care doctor?” 98% said no, 51% said they were actively looking for other ways to generate revenue. Now, Aesthetics seems to be a very attractive business for a lot of these people. The problem is, and nothing against doctors, doctors go to school for 12 years and it’s hard to become a doctor, but they don’t go to school for 12 years to be a business person. I think we have an opportunity to share the business side of it, and help them. A lot of these are owned by doctos. Some, like us, are owned by business people. But we can show them a roadmap, kind of be a guide. It really is fun. We love starting from scratch and helping them build it. We’ve worked with so many clinics who open and maybe they’re not doing quite as well as they had hoped. Or maybe they’re doing well and they’re just looking to take that next big step. We love it. We love people that come to Kansas City and see what we’re doing. Obviously we travel to meetings. You’ve done such an amazing job on the clinical training side. You and your team teach so many different technologies and protocols. Talk a little bit of how that’s grown over the last seven years. It’s been amazing. 

Kathy Taranto  14:44
I actually love everything you just said because that’s really why we decided to do this podcast, because we’ve grown so much, we’ve learned so much, and our passion to share it has always been there. This gives us a way that we can have a wider spread and what we want to share is exactly what you just said on the business side. And in addition to that the clinical side. We have the most amazing clinical team in the country. Judy’s been with us for 20 years, but look at the rest of our team, 10 years, 15 years, so many of them have been with us for such a long time.

Matt Taranto  15:15
The combined experience of our staff, last time I looked is about 220 years in aesthetics. Not in nursing, but in aesthetics. 

Kathy Taranto  15:23
They blow my mind by what they’re capable of doing! I’ve loved getting to experience that with them and be a part of that and get to bring them on and train them as they get going. And then get to live that journey with them. Because for me, I’m much more on the clinical side. I love that I’m still doing procedures, because I love it. I think one of the things that I’ve really enjoyed doing is taking procedures and dialing it back to the most tiny detail, so that when we do bring someone on, the onboarding process is more streamlined. We have a team that is on the same page, because going from two to three people – it’s a lot easier to get to three people on the same page than it is to get 39. Really being able to give them a process to come on board and get trained up and going quicker than what we did before, through the E courses. Plus of course, the face to face, hands on, shadowing, and everything else that we do within that process. One of the big needs I saw at AesthetiCare was this onboarding process. That same need that I would hear from all these clinics that we worked with where they would come in, they would have the training here at MINT Aesthetics, and they would go home, and they would call back and say “we just loved it so much but now we’re home by ourselves, and I have nobody to talk to about it…I need some resources at home.” That’s really what started the whole idea of the E courses, those two thing:  streamlining our onboarding process and then also giving that to other clinics to make it easier on them so they don’t have to come back and forth to Kansas City so often. To give them some answers if they haven’t picked up and done a Halo treatment for a little bit. Or they’re considering doing BBL, or Moxi, or Dermaplaning, or HydraFacial. They can take a look at the E-courses and see exactly what that process looks like. It really gives them a better place to jump off from.

Matt Taranto  17:19
I think what’s so critical there, and what I think is so impressive about the E courses. If I’m not mistaken, there’s right around 100 hours of content on there. I think it’s nice that you were able to develop a program that’s very affordable. And what you said is so important, because the way those courses are organized is: if somebody has a new person and really wants to teach them laser hair removal, they can go to the laser hair removal section. Not only do you teach the physics, the laser physics and safety, which is important, but also from beginning all the way up to very advanced techniques. Just having that at their fingertips… there’s nothing like that in the industry. It’s such a help to us. We just hired a brand new nurse, this will be our 18th provider, and it has gotten so much easier because of the courses. Before he even starts, he’s gonna have access to watch all of that. You’ve done an amazing job. I think they’re very unique in this industry.

Kathy Taranto  18:29
Well, thank you, you’ve helped me to do that. The podcast itself is also going to take pieces of that, but also look at our most popular procedures. We’re going to share new equipment that we’re considering on the podcast. We’re going to share the business side of things, but also the clinical side of things.  Maybe a great case that came up where we did some combination therapy and share some before and after photos. Obviously, the podcast is vocal only but we’ll have the video available as well. We’re gonna do a lot of that and we’re really excited! I think this is going to be so fun to get going with podcasts. The other thing that I’m really excited about is we’re gonna bring on other experts around the country. So many of our friends that we’ve met over the years, other MINT clients that have personally worked with us but have developed their own expertise. We’re going to bring on our own team members and they’re going to share some of their expertise. It’s not just going to be about you and I, it’s also going to be about the industry as a whole, and bring in who we feel like are the real leaders in the industry.

Matt Taranto  19:33
I think podcasts have exploded.  You’re very big into podcasts and listen to a lot of them. I think it’s such a great media.  Our team members, some of the good clinics we’ve worked with, some of the great people in the industry, whether it’s in the actual industry of lasers or skincare, we’re going to just share a lot. So hopefully you’re gonna enjoy this and and we will have a blast doing it. I mean, it’s just so much fun to share this knowledge. 

Kathy Taranto  20:04
Thanks for tuning in today for our first episode of Making of a Multi Million Dollar Medspa with Matt and Kathy Taranto.

Matt Taranto  20:11
We’ll see you soon.