Building a Medical beauty empire
Meet Dr. Ashley DiMeola @akdaesthetics Medical Director of Glow Aesthetics in South Burlington, Vermont. Her journey in the medical industry began from working as a physician in the US Navy to transitioning into the beauty aesthetics world. “I always wanted to be a doctor and always saw myself working in beauty aesthetics. I fulfilled both my lifelong dreams – even when originally I was told I wouldn’t make it as a doctor – I put my head down and just made it happen.”
She dedicates her ongoing success to being surrounded by powerful women, stating that “we are truly a group of all females, which is the most amazing work environment I could ever imagine. We are really, really supportive. We are great at manifesting – we believe we are the best and act accordingly. We believe we will grow, and we grow. It’s our entire team and the energy at our clinic. I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of this dynamic and to grow with these two power women in my life.” Here is her entrepreneurial journey.
Tell me about your path—take me all the way back to what got you into medicine.
I wish this was a romantic story—it’s not! (she laughs) I accidentally fell into medicine. I was a biology degree with a chemistry minor in undergrad and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I just decided to aim for medicine. I was originally told I would never make it as a doctor—I put my head down and just made it happen. I worked as a physician in the US Navy, being there for six years I realized that resilience is pretty key for that industry. I learned a lot and it shaped me. My specialty in medicine was actually in the aviation community—I loved doing that.
Tell me about the transition from being a physician in the Navy to medical aesthetics at Glow?
For me, transitioning into the beauty industry was a dream since medical school. I used to tell people that I was going to open up a med spa, and so when the opportunity came for me to be a medical director of the med spa, Glow, I jumped on it, and I haven’t looked back since.
Tell me about the dynamic at Glow and what makes your clinic stand out.
I’m the Medical Director. I am actually supported by what I would consider power women entrepreneurs. We are truly a group of all females, which is the most amazing work environment I could ever imagine. We are really, really supportive of one another. I consider us to be manifestors—we believe we are the best and we act accordingly. We believe we will grow, and we grow. It’s the mindset of our entire team. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been, discovered and to grow with these two powerful women in my life.
Where do you see the clinic and the brand growing to in five to ten years?
I would say that we embody our philosophy. Our brand image is beauty and body positive. I think we find that especially in Vermont—but I think it’s really global—there’s the sea of washed-out filters, and everybody believes they have to fit into these molds. My personal five-year plan for Glow is to really get the message out there that you should rock your beauty and its uniqueness. You don’t need to fit into a mold just because society, or social media tells you that. I would say I do believe that we are the best med spa in New England, and I do hope to maintain that and to grow that. But I believe it’s because of our philosophy: it’s not a one size fits all.
What has been the key to your success and growth?
We’re a private boutique clinic. We are the only concierge med spa. We are very hands on, and I do think that’s part of our success. But really, I think it’s just our team. We’re growing very quickly. Sometimes you don’t have the space to accommodate how quickly the demand is going. It’s a wonderful problem to have.
Looking back at when you first started with Glow, and now everything that you have done since, what advice would you have given yourself?
Much like many other women in this industry, I definitely suffer from imposter syndrome. Telling yourself : “do we deserve to be here? Did we earn it? Are we that person?” And I would think that looking back at my younger self, I would say, “go for it, leap. It’s okay if you’re not on the traditional path, it’s okay if the path is a little bit beaten, and you have to work a little bit harder.” I think my younger self—and what actually I have to credit my husband for— is that when I experienced doubts as I’ve grown older—I reach out and I ask for help. I think having that support system, be it family or friends or mentors that say, “No, you got this”, it makes it that much easier to go through it.
I believe social media has helped women, at least physicians at this point that we do connect to each other a lot more easily. I have a lot of female friends that are very successful in promoting women and I hope social media has helped with that.
What about for Glow? Your professional advice to other doctors who are looking to build their own practice?
I would say for Glow —we started out in literally the tiniest space, and it was just three of us and we really believed in ourselves. Vermont is tiny and so to have a business, it’s beautiful. To have a business like this succeed in Vermont is incredibly scary, because people here don’t talk about beauty. Yet we grew from a team of three to a team of ten within two years! We doubled our growth and this year we’re aiming to quadruple our growth. They’re big numbers, but it’s fun. It’s really hard work. The key element is to never give up.
Can you tell us about technologies you have implanted in your practice?
Our newest device is the Emsculpt Neo ; which is the first non-invasive body shaping procedure that provides simultaneous fat elimination and muscle building. It is the hottest device on the market right now that we offer. We have all the new paddles and frequency and muscles, so we have arms, thighs, butt, hamstrings, abdomen—we have it all now. And, I would say for devices, if we were going to focus on any device or our top sellers are really my injectable services, the Hydra-facials, and the Emsculpt machine.
How many times do you recommend these treatments for optimal results?
We recommend hydra-facials monthly. If we’re going for basic texture and tone, I stagger them with chemical peels, just to really help keep the skin fresh. We do the VI Peel — which I’m in love with. I do it to myself every six to eight weeks. It’s one of those things that you peel for about five days.
When it comes to injections, do you have a certain technique you use? Signature style?
My biggest compliments from my clients are, “people thought I got a haircut or a facial,” so it’s not really recognizable, they just know something’s different. My injection technique is really based on lights and shadows. That’s what beauty is. Even with photography, it’s lights and shadows. I’m looking to highlight the areas that they want to highlight, and I’m looking to decrease the shadows that make them look a little bit older than they need to look.
What would you recommend somebody who’s starting into getting into this amazingly addictive world? What would you recommend they start with?
For my patients, I always ask them to go low and slow. That’s how we get really, really natural results. Whether starting with Botox, or injectables, or lasers, or chemical peels—that’s honestly patient preference. If Botox is not on your spectrum, if your forehead wrinkles, aren’t bothering you, that’s not where we start. We start with that one little thing that drives you nuts, and we go from there. You have to be very adamant on saying “no” when it’s too much.
What I love about women, when it comes to beauty is that we use it across the entire spectrum. We use it for celebration, we use it for catharsis. It boosts our confidence, it’s self care on all levels. The women that come in to see me—for example I had two yesterday that are finalizing their divorces and they are happy to move into this new step in their life, and they want to get their lips done. That’s what I love, it’s the personal aspect. Beauty is about you and only you. Whatever your reason is, that’s what we focus on. Making sure you feel like the best version of you.
In your personal life to decompress, how do you stay grounded within yourself?
I actually live on a farm. When you leave [work] and the rest of the drive is just farmlands, you kind of decompress. I’m also very, structured. I make sure that I work out, meditate, ride my horses. It’s those things that just reconnect you to self. I have to make time for that, because when I don’t, that’s when I become a little too focused.
It’s so good to reconnect with nature. I think I’m a healthier version of myself, living here, because I am forced to disconnect. I don’t think I would ever change it—if you can ride your horses on a Tuesday afternoon, just randomly, who says no to that?
Dr Ashley DiMeola shows the importance of following your heart, dreaming big and having fun along the way. Congratulations to the team Maria Gould and Christine Keelan at Glow Aesthetics on building such a beautiful brand and culture. We cannot wait to watch you expand and make more women beautiful from the inside out.
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