I'm an Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner and This is How I Opened a Cosmetic Clinic
Tatyana Melnik, MSN, ARNP, did what many in the nursing profession have always dreamed of doing. She took a leap of faith and opened up what has become a successful medical and aesthetics clinic located in Bellevue, Washington.
Although her path from Family Nurse Practitioner to business owner was challenging, she says it was one of the best decisions she has ever made. She manages the clinic with her business partner, Daniella Murray, RN.
In this article, we caught up with Tatyana to discuss her nursing career and learn how she operates a successful cosmetic clinic as a nurse practitioner.
Early career and education
Tatyana attended the University of Washington, where she earned a Bachelor of Science In Nursing degree. After working for several years at a Veterans Affairs Hospital in Seattle as a med/surg RN, she advanced her education at Seattle Pacific University and became a Family Practice Nurse Practitioner.
After working for several years in family medicine, Tatyana became more aware of her passion for cosmetics, dermatology and aesthetics. After speaking with Daniella, who was already in the field and was in need of a Medical Director, Tatyana joined the world of aesthetics and started a business of her own.
Now, Tatyana is the owner and Medical Director of DClariT Medical & Esthetics alongside Daniella and several estheticians at the clinic. Her practice just turned five years old and is still growing strong through 2020.
>>Want to learn more about a career as an Aesthetic NP? Nurse.org wrote an entire Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner career guide discussing programs, salary, job outlook, scope of pratice and more!
Where did you find inspiration to start an aesthetics clinic of your own?
“I've dealt with a lot of dermatologic conditions myself, including melanoma,” she said. “So I have a soft spot and the passion for this type of work.”
“When I was still in Grad school, Daniella, my friend Clara (nick name Clari) and I were thinking about venturing off into aesthetics and having our own practice. Clara had many years of experience as an aesthetician at a dermatology clinic, Daniella was an RN injector, and I was the last piece of the puzzle - the one with a license to prescribe which would allow us to be independent. Unfortunately, Clari succumbed to lung cancer and did not live long enough to see this wonderful dream come true. She passed away shortly, but I wanted to keep her legacy alive. That is when I decided to incorporate the three of us within the business name of DClariT. D stands for Daniella, Clari is in honor and memory of Clara, and T stands for Tatyana. She will forever be a part of us and her legacy will live through the work that we do at DClariT.”
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What fears have you overcome in starting your own business?
“There are always doubts and fears associated with making such a big decision. I would have thoughts like, "I can’t do it," accompanied with fears of failure. A major fear that I had in the beginning was “not being busy enough or being unable to retain my clients because there is a lot of competition within our demographic area.”
But, you know, life is too short, and I'm always going to be faced with challenges. So I just went for it and I'm so happy that I did it! I've discovered a lot of new things about myself and the field. I've created great bonds and relationships. I'm just very, very grateful for everything.”
The professionalism Tatyana brings to her practice is clearly another reason she had been so successful. Though she felt nervous at first about not being able to fill her books, she has found that a lot of clients refer new clients her way. She speaks about having integrity in the business, being 100% honest with her clients, following up with inquiries and learning from mistakes as she goes along.
What are the biggest challenges that you have faced and overcome in your business?
“My biggest challenge was definitely the starting point. When I decided to go off on my own, I wasn't able to take any of my primary care clients with me. So I literally started with just a few of my friends. My whole business was word of mouth. I did zero marketing because I wanted to keep the practice more personable, intimate, and exclusive.”
She also added, “in Bellevue there is a lot of competition. My philosophy is that I never try to compete with anyone except myself. But, I still work hard to be on top of the newest technologies, treatments, education and courses.”
Initially the business started out in a smaller space but, it grew and is now in a much larger space - with 8 clinician rooms.
What is a typical day in your life as an aesthetics and cosmetic business owner?
“First thing in the morning I usually read through and respond to my emails, social media direct messages, and text messages from my clients and colleagues. After I respond to those I make sure that everyone for the day is confirmed and I scan through the treatments to be performed so that I can mentally prepare." says Tatyana.
She continued, “everyone in the office including myself works by appointment. There are no set hours so we work mornings but also in the evening. We try to accommodate our clients the best we can and sometimes you might catch me at the clinic as late as 10pm.”
Tatyana added that even though she does work a lot of hours and her schedule is not “set”, she still has a more flexible work-life balance in many ways.
“That's kind of the beauty of having your own practice, that you can really schedule around people and be able to spend the time with your family and friends or take time off. However, you also don’t “technically” have any days off when you have your own business. When I leave the clinic I usually spend a lot of time responding to social media inquiries and emails.”
She says that she sees anywhere from 10 and up to 25 patients a day and that her schedule is always different depending on the patients and what procedures she is doing that day.
"Sometimes I'm done at six o'clock, but, there are definitely days when I am there at 10pm," she says.
Many nurses don't know how to get into the aesthetics & dermatology business. What advice do you have for them?
Tatyana explained that word of mouth and being active on social media has really helped her to grow her business - a lot of women find her through Instagram and sometimes potential clients even approach her while she is out and about.
Her advice for those who want to get into the field and eventually start their own practice is to,
- Work under a dermatologist or plastic surgeon - you will greatly benefit from working with someone who will take you under their wing and train you on the procedures properly. “Daniela was my mentor and helped me when I was beginning my journey, she encouraged me a lot.”
- Continue to get educated on anatomy and physiology - she emphasized that there is a lot of anatomy and physiology involved in the work, and you need to find ways to educate yourself. "Most of all, you need to know what to do in an emergency situation because time is of the essence. I haven't experienced this myself, but I know injectors who have had emergencies, like an artery occlusion. You have to act very very quickly in order to save the tissue from dying. You need to take courses in order to stay safe in your practice."
- Network with professionals who work in the industry - in fact, networking in this industry is key to landing the most coveted positions. There are several aestheticians, a registered nurse, and an MD who work at the clinic alongside Tatyana. These ladies were given the opportunity to work at the clinic because Tatyana and/or Daniela had previously worked with them or knew of them and she knew that each of them would be an asset to the business. These clinicians are 1099 independent contractors. However, they are still covered to work under her license as their Medical Director. Clinician’s working hours are flexible, according to Tatyana.
- Ask lots of questions - Tatyana also emphasised that it is so important to ask questions and to never be afraid to ask for help if you just are starting out in the aesthetics business. She is happy to give "pearls of wisdom" to other nurses who are just starting out. "We are all here to help each other out. We are all in this together," says Tatyana.
>>To learn more about this exciting career, read Nurse.org's Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner Career Guide.
What is your most popular product or procedure?
Tatyana says her most popular procedure is definitely lip filler.
“Lips play a major role in giving a balance and youth to the face. Fillers are used to hydrate, smooth out the wrinkles and lines around the mouth, create symmetry, and improve the proportions of the face.”
Tatyana says that lip fillers have become so popular and she encourages patients to seek professional injectors who see their work as “art.” In her practice, Tatyana often counsels her patients about setting limits when it comes to lip fillers.
“It is important to set boundaries with your clients. At times I have to refuse procedures because I care about how my clients look and I would rather refuse that overfill one's face.” says Tatyana.
And, by the looks of the before and after lip filler photos on Tatyana’s Instagram page, she is a true artist who does exceptional work.
Other popular procedures
In addition to lip fillers, Tatyana and her team have a wide portfolio of procedures they perform at the clinic, some of which include:
- Neuromodulators, such as Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport
- Dermal fillers, such as Juvederm, Restaylne and Radiesse
- Cool sculpting, for targeted fat reduction
- LPG for lymphatic drainage, tightening of the skin of face and body, and cellulite reduction
- Sculptra, a collagen stimulant
- Kybella, double chin reducer
- Hair rejuvenation with PRP
- Threads such as Nova, and Silhouette
- Ul-Therapy, a non-surgical facelift
- Micro-Needling with PRP, for collagen stimulation
- Laser treatments, for hair reduction, collagen stimulation, treatment for sun damage, and skin rejuvenation
- Skin rejuvenation with hydra facial and medical-grade peels
What income should you expect when starting your own cosmetic clinic as a nurse? Do you get paid a salary?
Tatyana says that it is possible to eventually grow a 6 or 7 figure income after years of hard work. But, you must start with passion first. According the the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the national average salary for nurse practitioners is $115,000.
>> Read Nurse.org's Nurse Practitioner Salary Guide for more details on the NP salary including highest paying specialties.
“I really want to emphasize the fact that money should not be the main factor or motivator for getting into this career.” Instead, she says, “having a passion for aesthetics and skincare, understanding the business, and having a passion for helping people,” are the most essential aspects of being successful in the long run.
“The number one goal is to go in and help people. It's quality over quantity."
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For more information about Tatyana Melnik you can find her here:
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