Lovely Laban MSN, GNP-C is the founder and clinical director of Skin by Lovely, a certified top 10 medical facial aesthetics practice for Allergan, the makers of Juvederm® and Botox®, and top 20 account with Galderma, the makers of Restylane® and Dysport®. Skin by Lovely has three locations: Lake Oswego, Oregon, Portland, Oregon and Santa Monica, California.
Lovely earned her Master of Science in Nursing degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. Nationally Certified in Gerontology; she studied the aging process in depth and applies this knowledge to treat the effects that aging has on the skin. Her nursing degree is from Seattle Pacific University.
Lovely has built Skin by Lovely on the foundation of giving back to those around her and is guided by a genuine belief that the most important thing Skin by Lovely can deliver is not just physical improvements in appearance, but also increased self-confidence.
Lovely is a dedicated educator with advanced expertise in botulinum toxin and dermal fillers. She has presented at conferences such as the American Society of Plastic Surgery Nursing, the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgery Nursing, and numerous regional scientific meetings. Lovely has served on the elite Allergan AMI training team and Galderma’s GAIN Training Faculty for the past 10 years.
How did the concept for Skin by Lovely come about?
While studying gerontology nursing in graduate school, I took a position as an aesthetic laser nurse and absolutely fell in love with making people feel more confident in themselves. You know that feeling when you feel beautiful, powerful, and strong? I craved that feeling for my patients.
The physician I worked with then began to train me on aesthetic injectables and I quickly knew I had found my calling.
After spending three years working in one of the country’s busiest aesthetic clinics, I decided I wanted to open a place of my own that embodied my ideals and values. I thought (and still do think) that people deserve to feel confident, not sold or undervalued. I also knew that the aesthetic industry needed a team of injectors that believed their patients were already beautiful and who would honor this natural beauty with their treatments. So, in 2009, Skin by Lovely was born!
How was the first year in business?
The first year of business was a lot of self-discovery. We were a small team of two trying to make it in Los Angeles. We worked very long hours, never took any vacations, and struggled to differentiate ourselves during those first few months. Eventually, we hired our first employee, who is still with us today.
What was your marketing strategy?
Los Angeles is an amazing place. The diversity, energy, and sheer volume of people make it truly unique. We set out wanting to offer our patients a space and a team they could trust where you could be honest about your aesthetic goals and feel accepted, not judged. We had almost no advertising budget, so we focused on providing outstanding service and advertised with what money we did have on Yelp in hopes of referrals.
This less-is-more approach and 5-star experience has gotten us to where we are today. As a result of this focus, we are certified by Allergan as one of the top 10 most experienced Botox® clinics in the country. Our practice quickly became rated the #1 clinic on Yelp for Botox®, and we knew Skin by Lovely wasn’t done growing yet!
How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
Our natural-looking approach to aesthetics really resonated with our patients and we experienced wonderful growth over the next five years. Not only that, but we hired an outstanding team to support our vision and keep us grounded. The core team that helped make Skin by Lovely what it is today is still with us.
Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, paired with my husband and I wanting to start a family, we decided to ‘move home’ to the Portland area and open our second location, Skin by Lovely Portland, in 2014.
Skin by Lovely’s confidence-first mentality hit home in the Pacific Northwest too. Four years later, after rapid growth and continued high demand, we opened Skin by Lovely’s third location in Lake Oswego in 2018.
How do you define success?
Having such an amazing team! I’m still learning as I go, but I love that my team feels comfortable enough to be honest with me and feel that they have found their home here.
Sometimes, I want to pinch myself thinking about how much we have grown, and how quickly! I love hearing from patients how much they love our team and the experience they’ve had at Skin by Lovely.
What is the key to success?
We have a vested interest in the development and education of our team. To us, success is watching our employees grow and flourish in their careers. We strategically promote from within and focus on creating jobs for their specific skill sets.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Surrounding yourself with employees who share your passion.
What are some quotes that you live by?
One of my favorite quotes is, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
At Skin by Lovely, we believe in giving back and engaging with our local communities. Because of this, philanthropy is a very natural part of our business. Every month, we host in-kind donation drives for local charitable partners and invite our patients to participate so they can share in the joy of giving back with us. Our teams routinely volunteer locally as well.
What are some of your favorite books?
Anything written by Brene Brown resonates and inspires me!
Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
Last year, three of our clinical team members left within the same month. Two left due to changing life situations and the other due to my management. It all felt very personal. I realized that when you think things will run smoothly, the universe gives you a big nudge reminding you to stay on your toes. This was a very challenging month of self-reflection for me and our team. I learned so many things about myself and actively worked to change things within our practice including our hiring process, defining our core values, and staying in touch with the team.
When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Pure will to succeed and stability for my team and family. I grew up with a very hardworking single mom who was a great motivator and an inspiration.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Envision what you want but realize that there will be many twists and turns to get there. The other tip is to surround yourself with people you aspire to be like.
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This interview was conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.
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