Jon Hoffenberg – Founder & President, YellowTelescope

Jon Hoffenberg is the founder and president of YellowTelescope, SEOversite, and iScreamSocialMedia. He is a graduate of the #1 business school in the country, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Jon brings a deep understanding of online marketing, entrepreneurship, and business development, cultivated over nearly two decades of executive management and digital marketing experience. He opened his first company at the age of 19, which grew from a team of 45 to over 2,000 people in 13 locations. He has taken the lessons he garnered during his time building that company and applied them to growing YellowTelescope, SEOversite, iScreamSocialMedia, and our clients.

Jon is originally from Chicago and now resides in Miami Beach. He is a whisky connoisseur, world-traveler, poker player, paddle boarder, podcaster, avid reader, live music festival-goer, sports fan, father and husband.

How did the concept for YellowTelescope come about?
I used to run gyms/spas and a former colleague from that industry asked me to consult three hours a day for a prominent plastic surgeon in Miami and New York. I had no knowledge of the industry but realized operations, sales, marketing, etc. were largely fungible between industries. I love the medical industry and never left. After growing my role from a part-time consultant to a full-time manager, and investing around seven years, I realized the processes we developed to make our practice one of the largest in the world of its kind, was replicable, so we decided to open a consulting company to help other medical practices grow. We named it YellowTelescope and have now been in business since 2008.

How was the first year in business?
During our first year open, I was still also running the main medical practice. It was very hectic with long hours. We barely made any profit and had less than a handful of clients, but were able to stay open as we had, in essence, “day jobs” to supplement us as we built.

What was your marketing strategy?
We opened with very little budget and relied on getting speeches at various medical society meetings, investing in convention booths, and we had a fairly large list of emails and industry connections. Our business built organically from there, largely by word of mouth. As our consulting services are costly, and involve longer contracts, great people with great connections building superb relationships are key.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
We knew our process worked and anybody smart enough to hire us was very likely to succeed, so we had confidence. The first year or two was a touch slow, but growth thereafter has been exponential as we have been named to Inc. Magazine‘s 2018 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America, and two years in a row to “The Fast 50” in South Florida, currently ranking #7 in growth under $25 million.

How do you define success?
I was raised to be incredibly-driven. In school, a “B” was seen as an “F-“ by my family. I started working at 15, opened my first franchise of a company by 19, saved up for my first house by 22, and felt anybody less-driven than me to be tough to understand. As I approach 40, I am grateful my family pushed me and raised me well, excited to have gone to great schools like Wharton, and build relationships with amazing people, but also realize that success is not what the driven young man I was thought at those ages. For me, it starts with feeling well. If you and your family are healthy, then it is about building a legacy people can respect and admire once you are gone. While none of us will be here to see how the future judges us, the exercise of focusing on legacy leads to the right activities and protects you from poor choices. Money is great and I think we’d all like more. Being your own boss is worthwhile, but so is being an employee and serving others. Having respect is great, but only if earned. If after I am gone, my peers and loved ones can say my legacy is one of honesty, integrity, hard work, monetary success, family values, fun with a sense of humor, and growing others, then that would be success and I am sure I’ll find time to have fun along the way.

What is the key to success?
I don’t pretend to know the answer to a question this broad and there may be more than one. I can comment on my approach to life and what has served me well. For starters, you must be “honest and on it,” something our YellowTelescope team developed over time. It is shockingly hard for people to simply do what they say they will do in a straightforward fashion and very few people we encounter truly embody this very simple ideal. Similarly, those who actually are honest and on it invariably are wildly successful in their areas of work and life. My team and I are wildly responsive, do exactly what we say we will do, do so usually before expected, and hold firmly to our beliefs we know to be true and admit fault readily when rare mistakes occur. People know they can, if nothing more, trust us to get things done and that alone makes a multi-million dollar company. Anything beyond that is just cherries on the sundae. Certainly, there are other keys like being prudent in selecting a profession you can be good at and enjoy – I can’t draw a stick figure, so had I chosen to be an artist, it may have been imprudent, and I do know I have certain talents maybe others do not. With that said, the core to anything you do is being solid and for us that is “honest and on it” as it covers so much as a parent, businessperson, friend, and colleague.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Stay healthy or nothing matters. After being able to have you and your family not be in pain and stay alive, I also have gained much from the idea of “Do/spend/travel/etc. enough that you have no regrets if you die tomorrow, and save/learn/invest/plan/prepare/etc. enough so that your family and you are okay if you live until 120.” This ratio or balance is a key concept in my life that forces you to be prudent, but not boring, and to be fun, but not too crazy.

What are some quotes that you live by? 
I don’t know who wrote it, but I preach to my clients and people that “These are the good ol’ days” – soak them in and remember the fun of building a business, of failing, of being stuck in an airport with a bad cold overnight, of falling on your face, etc. Later in life, it’ll be the stuff you laugh about mixed in with the positivity. My vice president of our sister web company, SEOversite.com, John Berry, has worked with me through three companies, took huge pay cuts to start over with me, slept on a blowup in my apartment when we were broke, moved out of state, watched our office get soaked in a hurricane as I lost my first house that I saved for and purchased referenced above, and is here to tell about it. It was misery at times, but we know those were (and these, today, are) the good ol’ days. We have so many funny stories from those times and we don’t regret the $.25 ramen noodles or $.50 frozen burritos we ate to get to where we are today. As he sits overlooking his waterfront home with his wife, or as I take my son skiing, or as we as see our team members buy Ferraris, etc., we get as much of a kick out of those things as we do with the struggle on the way up the hill.

What are some of your favorite books?
As far as books, we love them. We give attendees of our annual YellowTelescope Training Seminar we conduct in Miami for 200 or so people a year an entire reading list. Some of my favorites include Leadership and Self-Deception, Start with Why, First, Break All The Rules, Good to Great, Hug Your Customers, Blue Ocean Strategy, Organized for Success, and many more. I tend not to read self-help, but rather spend a lot of time on management, leadership, sales, and marketing as our three companies fit that: YellowTelescope (management and sales consulting), SEOversite (a free service to connect businesses with great online marketing solutions like website design and SEO), and iScreamSocialMedia (a social media company).

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
As noted, I was a pretty-motivated young person and I saved every dollar for years after graduating from college. I saved six figures and put it into a new condo on the water in Palm Beach, Florida. It doubled in value within a year during the real estate boom of the mid-2000s. A hurricane hit. My place survived. Then, a second one came and the entire building was destroyed. The insurance company refused to pay us despite having hurricane and flood insurance, as they didn’t want to pay out in hopes that less well-to-do tenants would not be able to afford to sue them and would simply walk away or pass away; this was good for them to do monetarily, though morally reprehensible. Over the course of two years or more, I had to keep paying my mortgage while paying a second rent to avoid being homeless. Eventually, insurance paid me the money that covered the price I paid but not the value of the home. I lost two years of rent and over $250,000 of potential wealth. My office flooded at my franchise as well and we nearly went out of business and I almost had to file bankruptcy, all despite not doing anything I could define as wrong. I only wanted to build the American dream, being the product of public school and the son of a professor and secretary. So that was a bad day (and year or two). Despite that, by 27, I had more money saved than ever and had changed jobs while earning my best living. By 30, I’d become a millionaire, exceeding what as a child I thought I could achieve. As I turn 40 in a few months, I still know that money comes and goes, but relationships, friendships, family, and your legacy can last.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I teach my team to be “warm blooded,” which means to generate your own proverbial heat. We all have adversity – some more than others, and we all should be grateful that so much more hasn’t gone so much worse when you look around at the atrocities happening daily around the world. When you have a bad day, week, month or year, you have to self-manage, you must positively “self-medicate” to bring your fever down and stay positive. I’ve always been able to recharge as I know myself. For me, I enjoy time with my amazing son, drinking a rare whisky, playing basketball, traveling, grabbing dinner with my wife or friends, hitting the gym, jogging or golfing, or just getting a good night of sleep. I’ve learned that the next day, things just feel better. Other people might talk to a parent or best friend, or cook a meal, or prefer a bath and a glass of wine to a fine whisky, but the point is to learn how to press reset in a healthy way (1 wine, not 12) to start anew the next day. At the end of the day, it isn’t all that serious. It’s just work and the worst case is you’ll find another job and be okay.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Go way bigger, way earlier, and way younger. I was so stressed about money all the time. I was so worried about five bucks and five thousand bucks, and I still lost everything before I got it all back. I got it all back because I was young and had plenty of time. Once you are married with kids, have a large mortgage and responsibilities, you can’t take risk the same way or you affect other people, not just yourself. When you are young, what’s the worst-case scenario? You lose all your money? You don’t have much anyway! You have to get a real job? Well, if you don’t succeed, you might anyway. You are afraid of failure? Look at the people in this book – did anybody leave the “toughest day” question blank or say “I’ve never had one”? So, it’s going to happen. My advice is to go really big – if you make it, great. If you don’t, start over while you are still young. I did a version of that and ultimately have built a nice company with a great team. I do wonder if I could have built something ten times bigger if I dove in sooner and deeper. I have no regrets, but I’d encourage my son to leave it all on the field in his teens and early 20’s and then make more modest goals later in life. It isn’t about being imprudent or making bad decisions, but rather making equally-smart decisions that have higher risk and reward early. I still open a new company every 3-4 years and haven’t lost the bug, but am very smart about it and never take on debt as I do have responsibilities, but unlike a young person, I also have some success banked.

Candice Simons – Founder, President & CEO, Brooklyn Outdoor

When Michigan native, Candice Simons, returned to her home state after establishing herself in the outdoor advertising industry for nearly a decade in Chicago, she identified a need in out-of-home as the perfect opportunity to build a company with a fresh perspective and a vibrant, creative energy to the industry.

The four divisions of Brooklyn Outdoor include traditional outdoor, digital marketing, hand-painted murals, and experiential marketing. With offices in Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, the company has subsequently emerged as a regional and national force. Simons and her team are adept at creating opportunities in places that didn’t previously exist, helping clients and potential clients explore exciting new creative possibilities. Brooklyn Outdoor knows how to put big ideas into action and make a lasting and memorable impact with target audiences.

Access to unique, outdoor inventory and fresh ideas is an appealing asset for the vendors, advertising agencies, media buyers, and independent operators that Brooklyn Outdoor serves. Brooklyn’s core business is outdoor signage and displays, including billboards, hand-painted murals, wallscapes, digital billboards, branded buses and taxis, street furniture, posters, in-window displays, and more.

Since establishing Brooklyn Outdoor in Detroit in 2013, Simons has been using her company as a tool to bridge relationships between Detroit’s most creative artists and entrepreneurs with national companies, putting Detroit back on the map where it belongs in the industry.

Simons has been recognized for her work by Ad Age’s Best Places to Work 2019, Stevie Awards “Women in Business”, Crain’s Detroit Business “40 Under 40”, DBusiness “30 In Their Thirties”, Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard Award, Summit International Marketing and Creative Awards, Michigan Economic Bright Spot Award, 2017 Corp! Magazine’s Diversity Business Leader, 2017 Enterprising Woman of the Year, and most recently, Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000”, encompassing the fastest-growing and most inspiring companies of 2018.

How did the concept for Brooklyn Outdoor come about?
The concept for Brooklyn Outdoor first came about when I was living in Chicago working in the OOH industry. I had been working there for 10 years, since college. In fact, I had come to make quite the name for myself in out-of-home advertising in that market. But truth be told, I missed home. I missed Michigan and I missed Detroit. That was when I recognized a gap in the market for an independent OOH agency in Detroit. It wasn’t during a particularly popular time for people to be moving back to the city, but I had a good feeling. Sometimes, you just have to take that leap.

How was the first year in business?
Well, I don’t think anyone can fully prepare you for what it is like in the first year of owning a business. What I found remarkable is that as a woman in business, especially in a male-dominated industry, people don’t actually want to see you succeed. It took a lot (and still does) to stand tall in the face of adversity, but it made me who I am today. It was a lot of late nights with early mornings. It took tenacity and the willingness and patience to understand that the payoff will come.

What was your marketing strategy?
Part of my marketing strategy was just being myself. That might sound silly but standing out in the room wasn’t always comfortable. I had to realize that being different is okay and that’s what makes Brooklyn Outdoor so unique. Our mostly women team stands out in an otherwise homogeneous setting. That is what people remember us for. It also gave us the upper hand by bringing diverse ideas to the traditional OOH advertising people were used to.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
In the first few years, Brooklyn Outdoor grew rapidly. Within our first year of business, we doubled our sales. By the end of this year, we are projected to do more than three times that amount. We also grew from a team of one to a team of twelve. As the company grows, we are continuously bringing on new employees to fill the necessary roles to support that growth. We have expanded our reach nationwide, allowing us to employ a team on all coasts.

How do you define success?
I define success by being happy in what I do and knowing that I made the right choice. I am reassured that I was able to turn nothing into something when I look around at the team of amazing people standing beside me. The people on my team never cease to amaze me with their creativity and passion. It has been an incredible journey to grow professionally, but what is more inspiring is being uplifted by the amount of growth happening around me. Our team has redefined what the OOH industry looks like, while bringing a fresh perspective to campaigns. That feels like success.

What is the key to success?
The key to success is integrity. Act with integrity in all that you do in business, whether it be in your internal relationships or your relationships with clients. Letting your moral compass lead the way will always point you in the right direction. Part of being in business means there is always more to know, which in turn means sometimes mistakes are going to be made, but if you have values and core principles that drive you, then it will show in all your relationships.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was that raising capital is hard. As my company was experiencing growth, I had to realize that to grow, I had to invest in myself before I could pay myself. When you are initially developing a business plan, you design it so that it will make you money. However, you have to invest in your future first if you want longevity.

What are some quotes that you live by?
This is one you have heard throughout your entire life, but it rings just as true until this very day, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” Whether it be an employee, friend, or client, everyone wants to be treated with the same respect. Another one that really stuck with me is, “Every phone call is a branding opportunity.” It resonated with me because every touch point and client interaction is branding, basically. You are constantly representing yourself and your company.

What are some of your favorite books?
Some books I really enjoy are The Three Laws of Performance, Start with Why, and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***.

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
The hardest day for me as an entrepreneur was when one of my longest employees, member of management and dear friend, tragically lost a loved one, unexpectedly. As a team, especially a small one, we all become so close to one another. Although we are in business, as humans we deeply care for one another. Myself and the entire team grieved deeply over the loss. It is about supporting one another in hard times.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
When faced with adversity, the thing that keeps me moving forward is to take it as a lesson. Instead of thinking why this is happening to me, I try to look at it as what is this trying to teach me. That may sound totally cliché, but you have to learn to accept your mistakes as experiences and your differences as leverage if you are ever going to make it in this world.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
The best advice I could give to young entrepreneurs is to align themselves with like-minded people. When I was originally starting out, I didn’t have a network of people who were going through a similar experience. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely place, but you don’t have to do it all alone. There are other people who have been through experiences you can learn from, and they can learn from yours as well. Get a support system. If you don’t know where to turn to, look for networking groups for young entrepreneurs in your area.

Matt Peters – Co-Founder, SearchManipulator.com

Matt Peters grew up in NYC. He was a finance and economics major at Fordham University, so naturally he went to Wall Street once he graduated. He quickly outgrew that though and got involved in PR. While working for a competitor, he realized there were no solutions for individuals who were on a limited budget. So, he created a “do it yourself” software to control your online presence. That software took off, and in 2010, it became SearchManipulator.com. With offices in New York City and San Francisco, and over 30 employees, SearchManipulator has become an industry leader in online reputation management. Matt has been featured in HuffPost, CBS’s MoneyWatch, and ESPN Radio’s Lunch N’ Learn.

How did the concept for SearchManipulator come about?
I was working on automated software for data entry employees of the company I was working for when I suddenly realized, “The consumer should have this, not the data entry guys!” So, I hired a brilliant computer engineer I knew from Fordham and we started working on it the very next day.

How was the first year in business?
Rough. We didn’t charge enough for the software, so people didn’t take it seriously. It was incredibly easy to use, but we used too many technical terms in its sales pitch, so people kept thinking they weren’t tech savvy enough to use it. It only started selling once we raised the price a bit, and once we started offering professional services to supplement the software.

What was your marketing strategy?
We tried everything in the beginning, from AdWords to direct mail. The best approach ended up being the bloggers and journalists who we convinced to mention us on their platforms. Now that we are established, our best marketing strategy has been taking great care of our resellers and affiliates.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
It didn’t grow at all in the first year. We were six guys in their 20s living in a 3-bedroom apartment that also served as our office, struggling to find our identity as a company. We saw exponential growth in year two and year three, and we had our own apartments. Ever since then, we have been continuously growing our client base and lowering our overhead.

How do you define success?
I define success by how many clients’ reputations I get to save each year. Our clients almost always have something damaging online that they don’t want their friends or customers to find. We are selective of who we work with by declining individuals who committed a heinous crime, or a business that is blatantly running a scam. Instead, we focus on clients who had an unfair defamatory article posted about them and it’s damaging their reputation and their livelihood as a result.

What is the key to success?
You need to genuinely care about your clients, rather than put them through a cookie cutter process. Every client is different, so you need to get to know them and then tailor a game plan to their needs.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
We all deserve a second chance. We are human, and make mistakes. The Internet might never forget, but we can certainly help it remember the positive things you’ve done as an individual or business, and bury those mistakes so they are never found again.

What are some quotes that you live by?
Two that go hand in hand, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it” – Warren Buffett and “Think before you speak” – my mom, everyday before school started. Being a New Yorker, I would constantly say what was on my mind, even when I shouldn’t have. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and now I’m hoping to help others avoid them. Anything you post, tag or Tweet can have major repercussions in today’s Internet. We all have different ideologies, political views and humor, so think of how others will perceive it before you post.

What are some of your favorite books?
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The wisdom in it is almost a century old, but still applies today. Make people feel important, smile, and listen is a great lesson.

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
I hired a contractor through UpWork, a freelance site, which would monitor his hours worked. He used one of the automated bot applications we were having him create to beat the system, and bill for false hours by pretending he was working when he wasn’t. It took me two weeks to catch him, but by then he had already stolen a lot of money. I was furious with UpWork for not having systems in place to detect abuse like that, but I was ultimately furious with myself for not detecting the theft sooner. It was an important and expensive lesson learned for me.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Some Mondays, I’ll come into the office and look at a thousand unread emails from the weekend and be overwhelmed. But I know that if I don’t get it done, then I am letting down a lot of clients. They become ecstatic when we help them by getting rid of something defamatory or untrue, and those are the moments that motivate me to work harder.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Avoid taking on investments, unless you really have to. Too many young entrepreneurs are fixated on growing or finding the next round of funding, when they should be focused on keeping their overhead low and client base happy. If you have to share ownership and your profits, then you are going to have to charge more to your clients, and that will ruin your competitive edge.

Bant Breen – Chairman, Qnary

Bant Breen was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement in November 2010 and has a global marketing and communications background in digital and innovation. He is the founder and chairman of Qnary, the global technology and solutions leader in digital reputation growth solutions for professionals and brands. He is also the CEO of Harte Hanks, a marketing services company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.

Before founding and serving as CEO of Qnary, Bant was the worldwide CEO of Interpublic Group’s global search and social media agency, Reprise. His past roles have included president of global media agency Initiative, executive director of the IPG Media Lab, founder of Ansible (IPG’s Mobile Marketing Agency), and executive vice president of global digital communications at Universal McCann (IPG). Bant has extensive agency holding company experience. He worked at IPG’s holding company level, leading the merger and acquisition activity of digital marketing and media agencies and technologies. He also worked on the corporate development team that led the sale of agency holding group BCom3 to Publicis. He started his career working at the holding company WPP as part of the first class of WPP Fellows.

Before joining Interpublic, Bant Breen was the founder and president of a strategic marketing and communications consultancy, BB Dentsu, affiliated with Dentsu Inc. Prior to that, he led global digital advertising activities for Leo Burnett Worldwide.

Bant has worked and lived in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the U.S., but now lives in New York City with his wife, Carmen, and two boys, Alejandro and Nico. He is a regular keynote speaker at ad industry events and a featured writer for the Huffington Post and other publications.

Bant is also a scholar, and for the last four years, has taught at Blanquerna, one of Europe’s leading communications universities. He is in the process of completing his doctorate at Blanquerna on the topic of advertising and artificial intelligence. Bant has an M.A. from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. from Duke University.

How did the concept for Qnary come about?
I saw an opportunity in that pretty much all the tools being offered to optimize online presence were designed for brands. There really wasn’t anything out there to help individuals accomplish the same thing. So, for our first year, we focused specifically on individual executives. We came up with the name Qnary based on the bird. We saw ourselves as providing a canary in the coal mine-type service where we would identify issues and help executives address them proactively.

How was the first year in business?
Our initial fundraising, for our prototype, went very smoothly, but then we quickly realized that building the tech and creating a market was very challenging. So, we went very quickly from “This is easy” to “This is a challenge.”

What was your marketing strategy?
We did little in the way of marketing during our first year. Our approach was to start by working with a handful of executives, and then rely on viral, word-of-mouth marketing. Later, we began incorporating email marketing campaigns and speaking at and creating events, which have been very successful for us.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
The company has doubled revenue every year.

How do you define success?
From the very beginning, we focused on developing tech-enabled solutions. We measured, and still measure, success as being when these tech solutions deliver great value, results, to our clients.

What is the key to success?
The ultimate key, of course, is to generate results for clients, but the key to making everything happen is perseverance. Many startups just expect things to happen. For example, they land a project and expect that it will develop into a much bigger relationship. At Qnary, we developed a culture committed to performance. There are times when you need to assess the mission. Once a year, our entire team sits down and addresses the question of whether we are still on the right path.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
There have been so many. An important one is to always try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Having this type of empathy makes it easier to come up with solutions that work for everyone.

What are some quotes that you live by?
My personal mantra is “Find a Way.” This helps me remain focused on being a creative problem solver.

What are some of your favorite books?
Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte, which was published in the mid-90s, opened my eyes to what digital tech would mean for the world and led me to my career.

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
At one point, we were on the verge of closing a round of funding. In our eyes, it was a done deal. But then the VC decided at the 11th hour to hold off. We found ourselves in an unexpected cash shortage. Fortunately, we were able to meet payroll. The lesson for us was to never again let ourselves be dependent on the whims of a single investor or VC.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
What’s the alternative? If you’re certain your venture is worthwhile, then you need to figure out the issue and keep moving forward. Find a way.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Don’t equate raising money or free usage of your solution with success. That’s really just the starting line. Success is building a business that generates revenue and EBITDA.

Lovely Laban – Founder & Clinical Director, Skin by Lovely

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.