Jen O’Hanlon Interviews Dr. Dina BenDavid of Divine Med Spa in Edgartown

Dr  Dina BenDavid of Divine Beauty & Wellness on Martha's Vineyard

-Hey, everyone. I am here with Dr. Dina BenDavid of Divine Med Spa. She is the founder and clinical director and we’re just gonna talk about her business and how things are going in her world. So, Dina, can you just tell us all a little bit about your business, how long you’ve owned the company and everything?

– Yeah, so we are now approaching our eighth year in business. We’ve had quite a few, I guess you can call evolutions, you know, when you’re entering a new world or realm you learn a lot and you sort of make some changes that you feel are gonna benefit your business and the patient. So we’ve also had four, three different or four different location changes across the seven, eight years we’ve been doing this as well. So we’re in a really good place right now. We are a full service medical spa, so what that means is we look at a person from basically head to toe in terms of aesthetic purposes and pretty much any type of aesthetic complaint or beauty-related complaint that someone has, we will have some sort of technology, treatment, products, services, that can help with that. The vast majority of things that we do, I would say are skin related and face related, but we do offer body treatments as well, but I would say probably 80 to 85% of the patients we see are coming in with aesthetic complaints for their face. Wrinkles, laxity, pigmentation, all that type of thing.

– Okay, and you offer a membership program, correct?

– Yep, we do, absolutely. I would say, I lost track of how many members we have. You know, we’ve lost a few since this whole thing has started but most people have either decided to freeze their memberships or they opted for other options that we offered them as well such as special customized packages that we deliver to their homes or just using their membership fees for a credit for when we re-open. I would say actually most people opted to do that which is great.

– I guess that’s a great idea. It’s almost like a savings plan.

– Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then we threw in a few little freebies for people that opted to do that because of course, it helps us as well with a little bit of maintaining some revenue stream, but the memberships are great. I think we probably have upwards of 200 members and you do have to be a year round island resident to participate because the savings that you get is quite substantial. As a member, or as a VIP member because we do have a a few different tiers of memberships, you do get a signature hydrofacial or signature jet facial every month in addition to two infrared sauna sessions which are amazing and kinda crazy. Side note that I would say that probably half of our members don’t use the sauna. It’s really strange because it’s such an amazing perk. I don’t know if some people don’t love the heat aspect of it. I don’t know, but once you’ve done it once and you get out and feel like a million bucks.

– I love it.

– Good, good, good.

– I would schedule it and then sometimes if I was just too busy I would miss out on it but it really is a great to park to get in addition to that.

– Your whole body just feels like Jello when you get out, especially now. With saunas, in addition to helping with any type of pain that you’re having with your body or improving sleep, increasing energy levels and of course also increases your immunity so that’s something that I think will be spiking some interest when we reopen as well, but I digress. So in addition to two sauna sessions, patients that are VIPs also get a B12 shot which also helps boost immunity, energy levels, improve sleeping pattern, things like that and you get one of those a month. Some patients also opt to not even get the B12 shot which I find interesting, but it’s all part of it and then patients also get a ton of different discounts on all of our services and products that we offer, as well.

– I love that part of the membership.

– I know.

– Products, the discount, it’s a pretty great discount. So how has this pandemic sort of impacted you and you business and also, part of that question, what have you done? I know you were offering some, instead of the membership, you were offering some things to the members, so let us all know about that.

– Yeah, so you know, at the end of the day.

– Frozen.

– We are, am I here?

– Oh, we lost you there for a second.

– Am I back?

– Yeah, the same thing happened to me. I don’t know what’s going on. It must be something.

– Tech, I’m telling you.

– Yeah, actually, I got a post saying that Facebook because of all of this type of streaming and everything, that there could be some glitches. So just a little glitch, but you’re back, and I was asking how has the COVID19 sort of had an effect on your business? I know that you did mention you were closing for a little bit sort of at the same time for some interior renovations.

– Yes, yeah we were gonna be closed for probably a little bit less than a week, but at the end of the day, we are a beauty related business. We are in aesthetics, but we are medical as well. All of our background is, I’m a doctor of nursing, I’m a nurse practitioner, we have nurses on staff, and while what we do in aesthetics is very important to us and to the community and we’re incredibly passionate about it, the health and safety of our community is certainly, take precedence. So we actually decided to close for COVID19 prior to being mandated to do so. I believe we closed probably 10 days before the mandate and that’s just because we, again, we believe in what we do and we love what we do and we think it’s an important service for the community, but not to, we weren’t about to put our patients at risk or ourselves at risk. So we did close for that and we were certainly hopeful that we would be open by now, but we’re not gonna reopen before we know it’s a safe time to do so.

– I mean, yeah. About reopening, what kind of precautions, I’m assuming gloves, you obviously already wear most the time, but masks and maybe the patients would wear masks as well?

– Yes, universal standard precaution, those in the medical community watching this sort of know what that means. We have something that we typically do anyway, but I’ve actually been looking into, they’re gonna be releasing, I don’t think any are FDA approved just yet, but they are gonna be doing hopefully very soon, antibody tests for the COVID19 virus that will show, and I don’t wanna get too technical here, but IgM and IgG antibodies. So it will show if it’s something that you develop antibodies for or whether it’s something that you have an active infection for and we likely and this is certainly not set in stone, I haven’t developed a protocol just yet. I’m kinda waiting to hear and see what happens to evaluate, but I’m thinking what we may end up doing is when we reopen, mandatory testing for not only staff but for patients coming in. It’s a rapid test, so within I believe eight to 10 minutes, you get a result. So that’ll give us more information as to is it fine to safely treat this patient and go from there.

– That sounds cool, and then back to your renovations, what are you having done? I think I saw posts on Instagram and it looked pretty good, pretty exciting.

– Yeah, so I’m gonna be a little bit secretive here. It’s kinda funny because sort of some of the things that we are planning to do kind of lend itself well to kinda what’s happening in the current climate of what’s going on in the world, but we are, you know, we’ve been doing this for eight years now and we’ve seen sort of trends and new things emerge and something that you just can’t ignore is the compliment of wellness related services when it comes to aesthetics. So we will definitely be, when we reopen, we’re gonna be launching a lot more things related to wellness. I can’t say specifics because it does involve other people and we have to sort of iron out some logistics, but very, very.

– You’re expanding what you’re offering.

– Yeah, a lot. It’s very exciting, I’m super stoked about it and every involved is excited.

– We’ll have to get on here again once you can talk about it.

– Oh, yeah, for sure, for sure, and you probably saw in the picture because everyone knows I’m the pink and sparkle girl, just who I am at heart, but you probably saw in the picture that the walls are pink and sparkly. That’s all I can say in terms of…

– Great.

– Very, very genuine Dina, that’s for sure.

– And then you touched on what some of the things that you’re offering, what can you offer patients right now while you are closed? Is there anything, any tips or, I don’t know, the dropping off any product?

– Yeah, so we are doing complimentary skincare analysis virtually, certainly a little difficult to do when you can’t actually lay your eyes, visually, and physically on someone because we do like to get patients underneath our fluorescent light and really get a good look at what’s going on, but we can talk, subjectively, to a patient and sort of see a little bit when we’re looking at them on the camera, but we can, you know, interesting that this has really caused a tremendous amount of stress for people and stress manifests on skin in a whole number of ways and sort of in many of the consults I’ve been doing, acne breakouts is probably the number one concern right now.

– My daughter, my seven year old just pointed out this morning that I have a zit.

– They always do, right?

– Yeah, okay, we’re gonna put some makeup on before I have this call.

– Oh yeah, no I think I have three on my chin right now.

– But it is, I’ve definitely notice that, and sleeping for me, and I felt in the beginning, I was like, well, this isn’t too stressful and I’m doing fine and it’s okay, my business is okay, and then not being able to sleep and then having some acne, I’m like, okay, maybe I am stressed.

– Yeah, absolutely. And even people that didn’t typically have a problem with acne or oily skin, it’s just the way that hormonal fluctuations of your body, it does, it’s been a tremendous thing for a lot of people. So that’s probably, we’ve actually sold out of one of our micro-peels that we’ve been selling because of all of these complaints. Oh, I lost you for a second, Jen.

– I don’t know what happened.

– I was gonna say, are you back? I was like, I lost you.

– Yeah, the whole screen went back, oh, I guess we’re still on. It still says live. Yeah, well anyway, we were finishing up. So you said you sold out of a product.

– Yeah, so that’s probably the number one concern but of course we’re getting a lot of anti-aging people still, you know, people have nothing to do right now, so what are you doing? You’re focusing on all of the things in the mirror that you don’t like about yourself, so.

– But I would think it would be a good time to reach out to you and have that consult even if you can’t really see the skin or it’s just a way to establish a relationship so that when things are opened back up, then the person is sort of in a a better position to know, perhaps, what they wanna do when they do get to see you in person.

– Absolutely, and just so patients, because you know there’s so many different, I like to say there’s many tools in the tool box. So even for us to just open a dialogue and they can sort of say, this X, Y, and Z are my concerns and I can discuss in more detail what their different options may be, and whenever we do reopen, I can see them in person if they, okay, so this is what’s going on, this is what I recommend for you for your customized plan of care, but just for, I guess, education reasons, just so people know what their options are. So often in this industry, people will, you know, and I get it, people talk to friends and that’s a great form of referrals and education in a sense, but just because your friend got a certain treatment done doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right treatment for you. There’s a lot of reasons that we pick one thing over something else for someone. So it’s really important to make sure that you have a great, solid consultation with a trusted provider, whether it’s us or someone else, but it’s really important, the consultation process. You know, in that if you’re going to someone and they’re doing something just because you asked for it, you may wanna really think twice and maybe get a second opinion because I would say more often than not, what someone comes in asking for is not what is the best treatment for them.

– Okay, well that’s really great information. I think that’s important because that’s true.

– Yeah, and it’s no fault because you don’t know what you don’t know. But it’s definitely important to keep in mind. I feel like I keep going off on tangents. In terms of what else that we’re doing right now besides the virtual consultations, we have hand delivered, or doorstep delivered a lot of skincare packages as well. So, you know, most of the people already know what they’re using from our skin care line so they’re just like, I need to re-up on this, and some people are really looking for something a little bit more aggressive. I lost track of how many people have called, DM’d, texted, left messages, emailed, wanting to get their hands on an aggressive peel during this time, and I don’t blame them. I mean, this is the perfect time to do something like that, you have down time. I just, we can’t do that, and I know some places are doing that, you know, I know a bunch of people that are delivering that type of stuff. It’s not safe to do. It is absolutely not safe. There’s a reason that these things can only be dispensed to medical providers. They can burn your skin, and if applied incorrectly, too much, too heavy, there’s a lot of different things that can go wrong.

– Plus your own, your skin, individual, and we don’t want people at the hospitals.

– Thank you, exactly. So but what we do have is we have something called a micro-peel. So it’s a lower pH, 10% glycolic acid. It is safe for an at home treatment, but it’s not something that’s going to cause physical peeling, hence why it’s called a micro-peel. So it’s just a very intense exfoliation. You do sort of get a little prickly kind of, I call it spicy feeling whenever it’s applied.

– I’m back.

– Am I back?

– Okay, well we lost Dina for a second, but it is time to wrap things up.

– So hope everybody got something out of this and if you want to have a, I’m just wrapping it up. So I was just gonna say if you want a consultation over the phone, or what are you doing, like a FaceTime or a Zoom or something?

– Yep.

– So reach out to Divine Med Spa and set that up and that peel that you can do at home, that sounds kind of great for anybody who’s interested in that. All right, thanks so much for joining us.

– Thanks for having me, Jen. Everyone stay safe and healthy out there. Sending lots of love and light to our island community and beyond.

– Absolutely, have a great day, everybody, bye.

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