We are so excited to have our first guest on the podcast. One of the things we love the most about this industry is the wonderful community and collaboration that has developed over the years. Our peers and colleagues in the field are an amazing network of like-minded, education-oriented individuals who are just as passionate as we are. We love that we can all learn and grow together and we are so excited to share some of these conversations and interactions with all of you.
This week’s guest Deja Simmons, is the President and Founder of DejaVu MedSpa in Lone Tree, Colorado. She is an amazing business owner, injector, and laser operator, all while being an inspiring role model and mother at the same time! Deja is one of our longest MINT clients and a friendly face we love to run into at laser conferences and training events.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- The inspiration and drive behind starting her own practice
- How she expanded her team and decided when/who to hire
- Tips on the importance of balancing business and passion with family and personal goals
- Her biggest learning curves and struggles running a successful practice
Lear More about Deja:
MINT Training Resources based on today’s discussion:
- Looking to expand your team? Our Superstar Staffing E-course is jam packed with hiring tips, interview questions, sample job descriptions, and more!
- Not an E-course Subscriber? Learn more about our different E-course Subscription Options or Schedule a Demoto see the content for yourself.
- Interested in the Virtual BBL/Halo Course Deja mentioned? We have 3 different options for 2022 Virtual Immersion Dates.
- Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
- Listen on Apple Podcasts
- Listen on Spotify Podcasts
- Listen on Stitcher Podcasts
Kathy Taranto 0:54
Thanks for coming on Deja. So happy to have you today.
Deja Simmons 0:57
Thank you so much. I’m so excited.
Kathy Taranto 1:07
Maybe just start off with a little bit about you, about your clinic, and where you are in this process of opening up your clinic.
Deja Simmons 1:15
Yeah, sure. So I’ve been a physician assistant and in plastic surgery aesthetics for 17 years. And I just feel so blessed to have trained under some of the best physicians. I opened the practice four years ago in 2017. We’ve been open about a little over our fourth year now. This past year, we’ve grown 170%. Yay! So excited! I started off with just myself and one aesthetician. We’ve just grown and it’s just been so exciting. I love this industry. I’m so passionate about it. So yeah, it’s fun.
And so you started with one aesthetician and yourself? Now what does your team look like?
I have a team of six now. And yeah, we’re looking to grow into a bigger space. So very exciting!
Kathy Taranto 2:02
About those six, what are the roles that you have?
Deja Simmons 2:07
I have two Master Aestheticians, a Master CoolSculptor, and then I have a VP of Operations, a Practice Manager, and myself. I do clinic as well as just the business side.
Kathy Taranto 2:23
One of the questions I get asked all the time, with clinics that are just opening up, is “when to make the decision to hire?” Who’s the next person you hired as you were growing?
Deja Simmons 2:39
An aesthetician. Being a physician assistant, and in plastic surgery aesthetics for so long, I knew it was gonna be hard doing the business side, and being the marketer, and the admin, all the accounting… but also, I love my patients and to be able to treat them with services. I just knew that having an aesthetician do the other kind of services would be beneficial for my practice.
Kathy Taranto 3:05
I should have clarified, so after that first aesthetician, because you opened with one, but after her, who did you hire?
Deja Simmons 3:14
Kathy Taranto 3:17
That’s exactly what I wanted to know Did I hear that right or wrong? So it was you and the two aestheticians?
Deja Simmons 3:23
Yeah, so me, an aesthetician, and then I hired another one. And then that one did CoolSculpting as well. And then I hired a friend of mine that I knew through the business, like a connection, who is just amazing asset to our team. So she became kind of a jack-of-all-trades. You know, when you first start, you’re digging your hands in a lot of different jars, and you’re trying to figure out, receptionists and the business side and the clinic side and so she really helped me along with doing the front desk, as well as doing the VP of Operations. She’s kind of my right hand person. And then as we grew, I brought on a Practice Manager and then a Master Cool Sculptor. So I think it’s constantly changing depending on depending on your background and what your vision is.
Kathy Taranto 4:12
Definitely. So with your two aestheticians, do they also do CoolSculpting or is all the CoolSculpting done by your Master?
Deja Simmons 4:19
CoolSculpting is provided all by my Master CoolSculptor. Both of my aestheticians are laser certified. They do the lasers now. So I’ve transitioned from doing all different services to just doing injectables and the business side.
Kathy Taranto 4:35
Okay, got it. I love it! I mean, so many shifts along the way. I think a lot of times, if you start an Aesthetician or a nurse or one of your providers with a procedure, how that looks to not necessarily take it away, but to shift it from one person to another and how that process looks. I think a lot of a lot of clinics feel like well, “if they started with it, they should be able to keep it” but it doesn’t always work out that way.
Deja Simmons 5:00
It doesn’t. And also you find different strengths, in different clinicians. My practice manager sets those goals for my employees and I feel like it’s constantly changing. So the onboarding, the training, and then seeing what their strengths are and where they should lead.
Kathy Taranto 5:19
Looking back to those first days, is there anything that you wish you would have known?
Deja Simmons 5:26
100%. So the first thing, I think, is just understanding the overhead, the expenses.In this industry, especially for a full service medical spa, having those lasers and Hydrafacials and body contouring, there’s a lot of overhead. Not only letting the employees kind of understand that, but giving them part of that growth of your business. Letting them understand that they’re part of the process. I think that’s been one thing I’ve kind of learned is setting those goals for them, letting them understand the basics of the numbers. What does the device normally cost and that kind of stuff. That’s probably one thing. But also, I feel like it’s a purpose, that they they understand they’re part of this process, and that they help that growth.
Kathy Taranto 6:11
Do you feel like all the equipment you made, the purchasing you made in the beginning was the right choice? Do you feel like, oh, maybe I would have done something a little differently?
Deja Simmons 6:20
No, not really, because I am not really one to jump. So I do a lot of research. I like a lot of white papers, clinical studies. I learned through you guys, I’ve learned through lots of people in the industry. So I feel like the purchases that I bought are amazing.
Kathy Taranto 6:39
Yeah, that’s always a good feeling, isn’t it? Especially once you get them up, and they’re bringing in some revenue for you. I know, I mean, even now, we’re researching, three to four different devices. And it’s just, trying to make the right decision and not spend money on something that’s not going to be ineffective, or last the next six months to a year. A piece of technology needs to last at least five years, but number one is effective so our team loves it.
Deja Simmons 7:08
Yeah, and I agree. Coming from plastic surgery, I do remember those devices sitting in the closet. The thousands of dollars that you spend on that device and now it’s just a coat hanger. It’s hard. So you really have to do your research.
Kathy Taranto 7:21
What’s your all time? What’s your favorite treatment? Like a treatment you couldn’t live without?
Deja Simmons 7:26
Oh, Halo. Yeah. I’m the only one who does microlaser peels. But Halo hands down for me.
Kathy Taranto 7:38
I know, it’s just so much easier than microlaser peel in terms of downtime. Although there’s just some clients that without the microlaser peel, they’re just not going to get the results that they want. With your microaaser peels, are you doing more of the resurfacing type settings?
Deja Simmons 7:57
Yeah, so I take it a little bit more moderate deep. In office, obviously. We do have ProNox. But I just love the results and especially for patients who are a little bit more mature and they need something a little bit more for their deeper wrinkles around their mouth. Actually, I just watched your webinar on the Halo with the microlaser peel around the mouth. I’m gonna steal that from you! I love that!
Kathy Taranto 8:29
You’re talking about the Halo Plus Course that we have with Dr. Burns?
Deja Simmons 8:35
Your course you just had last week, the Halo Immersion course. I didn’t get to sit in on all of it. But the one thing I took from it was the Halo and then doing the perioral lines with microlaser peel.
Kathy Taranto 8:51
I think even though it’s one of those things where clients, even though the downtime is harder, here they seem to be so much more okay with it. When it’s one zone versus full face and especially when it’s around the perioral versus periocular. Because then they don’t have that excessive swelling and bruising around their eyes. Around the mouth it tends to be a little bit easier. Dr. Burns, Jay Burns in our Premier E-courses teaches the Halo Plus Course where he teaches deep resurfacing with it. So I did the Halo portion and he does the deep resurfacing portion. Just a dental block and the deep resurfacing and he is doing those TRL-like the laser resurfacing settings with it. It’s such a great treatment. So what about your team? What do you think that their top procedures are? If you were to say what your top one or two within your clinic?
Deja Simmons 9:47
I mean, I feel like always optimizing the skin. I feel chemical peels, Hydrafacials, prior to lasers is important for us. But Forever Young is probably our number one seller. Yeah, the Forever Young BBL.
Kathy Taranto 10:03
Yeah. And are you using the Forever Clear at all?
Deja Simmons 10:06
Yes. Actually, we do have quite a bit of teenagers that we do from the high schools that we do Forever Clear.
Kathy Taranto 10:13
Yeah, I love it. I just love that treatment. It is such a great option. Kind of looking at our industry, and I know meetings haven’t been as popular, but there’s been a lot of virtual meetings and some meetings that we’ve attended. What do you think in terms of the industry or the direction it’s going? Or is there anything that excites you about what you see happening in the industry?
Deja Simmons 10:38
I mean, I think coming from plastic surgery as well, it’s just this non invasive med spa industry is booming, right? Like we’ve had COVID, people now on Zoom. So they’re more more self aware of what they look like. And so the growth rate is going to be huge. But not only that, non invasive, low downtime, if any downtime, right? Do a Forever Young BBL and then the next day, they can pretty much put makeup on go back to work. And so in our fast paced world, I love that our technology is so much better from when I first started in the industry.
Kathy Taranto 11:11
Yeah, so what made you split off from the group you’re with and start your own business?
Deja Simmons 11:16
My babies. I think I’ve always just been a go-getter kind of person. I had my kids and I wanted to kind of change that balance between having to work and staying home. Although I probably work harder now than I did before.
Kathy Taranto 11:34
Haha! How did that work out? At least the first year or two? Right?
Deja Simmons 11:37
Well, so I was a little bit of a unique story, because I opened the practice two months after I had my son. So I literally had my chest, we would walk around. One of the exam rooms was was his bedroom. I think it’s just constantly being determined and persistent and knowing where my vision goes, and not not quitting, right, just keep going. But I still get the opportunity to work around my schedule, if I want to.
Kathy Taranto 12:02
It’s so important for me as well. I can’t believe you had a two month old! Opening your doors with a two month old, that just like blows my mind!
Deja Simmons 12:14
Honestly, when you look back on it, I don’t even know how I did that.
Kathy Taranto 12:18
Amazing! I mean, just the lack of sleep alone. That piece and then to try to come in, in a job that you know so well but then everything is changing.
Deja Simmons 12:31
Yeah, I think back then it was just one foot forward. You just keep your head up, and you just keep going being positive and determined. And I have an amazing husband who helped me through it. His practice was in the same building as us. So we kind of shared the duties. Even now, it’s been crazy with the transition. My husband’s now in South Dakota. So I have my three little kiddos, and he’s traveling Sunday through Thursday. Life changes and you just have to put your head up. It’s all about attitude, right?
Kathy Taranto 13:04
I cannot agree more. I feel like over the past couple years, the people that have that concept really down, are doing so well right now. Because it was like, this is happening over here and there’s so many sad and horrible things happening with it. But you know, it’s all in how we look at it, because we can’t control it. So how can you respond? How are we going to feel? What are we going to do? It seems like so many of our friends in the industry are doing so well right now. And many of them have very similar feedback to you. It’s like, it’s just your attitude. This is what we can control. This is what we can do. You just go for it.
Deja Simmons 13:48
Yeah, and I think it’s good and bad. You just learn from it. There’s gonna be bumps in the road and it’s about perception and attitude. Successful people and winners are not those that don’t fail, but those just don’t quit. I think that’s my goal. I’m always looking for how I can improve myself. How can I improve my business, my employees? Make them the best, most knowledgeable. It’s all about attitude, perception, just being determined and having goals.
Kathy Taranto 14:19
How are you balancing being a mom of three on your own for so many days a week and running your business?
Deja Simmons 14:26
I have an amazing au pair. So she definitely helps.
Kathy Taranto 14:32
I would need three!
Deja Simmons 14:36
It’s early mornings. It’s late nights. It’s self care. try to get myself to the gym at least four times a week. That’s kind of my like sanity. I think it takes a tribe.
Kathy Taranto 14:50
Yeah, definitely. So how old are your kids now?
Deja Simmons 14:54
My son is four now, so we just we opened four years ago. And my daughter is six and then my oldest is nine, another daughter.
Kathy Taranto 15:03
Then you must be like full-fledge in sports or music and dance.
Deja Simmons 15:08
Yeah, so they do something 4 nights a week. They are in School of Music School of Rock, it’s called, it’s pretty cool. They get to choose an instrument and play. They’re in drama at school. They’re in volleyball. I just feel it’s important to have that balance and let them do a little bit of everything and figure out what they’re passionate about. And in the meantime, I will work my little tail off to show them what that means, and that it’s important for them to be goal oriented and work hard.
Kathy Taranto 15:43
Yeah, I feel very similar. I’m always telling our youngest, though he’s only five. But, I just want him to find something that he loves so much, that doesn’t feel like work. Which I was fortunate to find. Find all of your passions, because one of those passions can become something that makes you money one of these days.
Deja Simmons 16:07
Yeah and I think it’s important to expose yourself to that. In PA school, I started in orthopedics. And then I went into plastic surgery. So it’s all about taking those paths and ever changing and just figuring out that passion, and then following that passion. So I agree, my job is not really my job, it is my passion. I love doing it. I love my clients, they’re my family. So I think that makes a big difference.
Kathy Taranto 16:33
So your husband’s in South Dakota, that’s where he’s working? So you going to open another clinic there?
Deja Simmons 16:39
I’d love to! I’d love to be all over the place.
Kathy Taranto 16:43
You guys could do it. Although it’d be hard with three kids to travel back and forth. That would be a little difficult with school.
Deja Simmons 16:51
He had an opportunity after COVID to help the Native American Health Service provide better health care for Native Americans. It kind of came full circle, his mom passed away from lung cancer three years ago, and she loved Native Americans. He had an opportunity to do consulting for a consulting job as a podiatrist. And so he’s in South Dakota, Sunday through Thursday, just trying to better the healthcare system.
Kathy Taranto 17:16
Deja Simmons 17:20
It’s been a big transition for me with him being gone and having pretty much full responsibility. But, you just keep on plugging on.
Kathy Taranto 17:31
The rewards will come right back. That’s just so much giving. So it’s got to be coming back.
Deja Simmons 17:40
The other thing that I have learned through, something I wish I would have known prior to opening the Med Spa, is the employee aspect. I created that culture for people. Understand that you are new and there’s going to be transitions and growing pains that are inevitable. But if you create that culture of hard work and teamwork and kindness within each other, that really can make a big difference in your practice.
Kathy Taranto 18:06
Definitely. I mean, look at us. We’ve been open for 20 years and there’s still change. I always tell my team, if we’re not growing, we’re dying. So better to be changing and growing and learning, not being bored. I think that piece is, again back to your point, it’s all in how you look at it. No matter how long you’ve been in business there’s always going to be change, because there’s so many things that happen that we can’t control.
Deja Simmons 18:43
I mean, look at COVID. That changed a lot of people’s mindsets. All of us in very different ways.
Kathy Taranto 18:50
Definitely. So what has been your biggest learning curve, or maybe a mistake, or anything that kind of comes to mind like maybe your biggest struggle?
Deja Simmons 19:09
That biggest struggle or learning curve is just having the right people on the bus. I feel like sometimes you have to turn over a few rocks to find your gems. I feel for me, that has been kind of when those things, especially when you’re young, and there is a lot of change in the beginning and trying to figure out your path, having long term employees to understand that vision and want to do it with you.
Kathy Taranto 19:40
I mean, I think it’s the most important piece 100%. Letting someone go, it’s just like the hardest thing on me. I really, really don’t like it and I know nobody does, but it’s hard. There are points in my career that I would wait too long to do it, because it’s just so hard. And I think to your point, it changes the whole atmosphere, not just for me. I always think, it’s about my team, do it for the team, do it for the team, because it makes an impact.
Deja Simmons 20:21
Yeah I feel like it’s hard. I’m an emotional person. And so I become very connected to my employees. And so that is a hard thing. It’s not the right fit, but you don’t want them to go because you love them as a person. It’s just not the right fit in your practice. So I think that’s hard, for sure. Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned probably is to, you know, be emotionally connected but understand that it is a business.
Kathy Taranto 20:46
Mm hmm. So where do you find people? Where do you turn to find new recruits?
Deja Simmons 20:54
Kathy that’s been so hard since COVID! I feel like before I would do a posting and I’d get 200-300 resumes and have to filter through all those. And since COVID, it’s a very different mindset. I’m not sure why. I’ve been blessed enough to find two new employees recently that have been amazing. So I don’t know, it’s been hard. Where have you found success with that?
Kathy Taranto 21:19
Well, I was asking, because I feel like what you just said, is a lot of people’s story. I mean, we’re hiring a new nurse right now and it’s been word of mouth. We reached out to the reps, and all of the injectable reps, and laser reps, and skincare reps, and said we’re hiring. And then it turns out, there’s a nurse from a city which is a couple hours away, and she just happens to be moving to Kansas City. She’s got a background in derm and plastic, she knows Sciton lasers. But with her and so many of our team members, a lot of times it’s word of mouth, or a referral that comes from either the reps or someone on our team. It just so happens that this nurse also went to high school with one of our current nurses. I mean, how weird is that? I know, all the stars are aligning. But I feel like it’s usually not that easy. It’s hard to find people right now. I think for us we reach out to all the reps, we post on Facebook, we have our team post on their social media platforms, we’re on indeed and all of those platforms. We’re also hiring a full time nurse trainer right now for MINT and that’s been a difficult role to fill. We’re hiring right now and always looking but I think a lot of clinics out there struggling to find people to fill their spots.
Deja Simmons 22:47
I agree. It’s been tough. We just keep posting. But it’s just nice to be growing. It’s nice to have the opportunity to even look for somebody. Right?
Kathy Taranto 22:57
Defnitely, it’s a good problem to have1
Deja Simmons 23:02
Kathy Taranto 23:02
Anything we haven’t talked about today that you’d like to share?
Deja Simmons 23:06
Um, no, I don’t think so. This has been super exciting, it’s nice to talk to you and see you!
Kathy Taranto 23:13
I know, I just feel so fortunate! With this platform, just to make the connections and to keep those connections. I look at my career and how I’ve gotten to where I am and so much of it has been the networking and connections that I’ve made over the years. I always tell people I met Jay Burns 10-12 years ago, and now here we are he’s launching an online training program with us. There’s just so many beautiful things. So I thought, why don’t we continue to connect and to share the information throughout our MINT clients. 5-10 years from now, I think it just gets bigger and stronger.
Deja Simmons 23:55
It does. It’s funny because I actually got into this industry partly and opened my own medspa because of Matt Toronto. He came to Denver for a Sciton dinner and as soon as he talked and finished the whole thing I was like “Okay, I want to be you. How do I become you, what do I do? I don’t want like reinvent the wheel. I just want to know how you became successful.” And I came out and I trained with you guys for a week probably. And that’s how it all began!
Kathy Taranto 24:25
We’re fortunate to know you!
Deja Simmons 24:28
You guys have been a blessing in my life. So thank you so much.
Kathy Taranto 24:30
Oh, thank you. I will share that with Matt and he’ll be listening to the podcast. He’ll love to hear that. That’ll make him feel so good!
Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Making a Multi Million Dollar Medspa with Deja Simmons from Colorado. We’ll see you at the next episode.