Nicole Contos, CEO and Skincare Expert, Smooth Synergy
What inspired you to launch your business?
I started out in my career as a kindergarten school teacher yet I found myself constantly thinking about my purpose. I loved working with kids, but I knew I had even greater potential to own and run a business and be at the forefront of a growing industry. I had a vision that I could help improve the lives of other women by empowering them to appreciate and enhance their own beauty. I delayed my plans to own a business because I still really liked being a teacher. It was only when I saw that Smooth Synergy was open for new ownership that I realized I knew all along what my decision would be – this was my chance to finally do what I really wanted.
Thirteen years later, Smooth Synergy has grown into a wonderful family-owned cosmedical spa nestled in the bustling Midtown East neighborhood. It is a place for people who want to find a bit of calm in the bustle of this city and escape the stresses of their daily lives. Our business has expanded even more rapidly in recent years, with clients who keep coming back to us and referring friends and family by word of mouth. Having watched the development process, I have to say that I am so happy that I decided to finally take the jump. It is the small moments—like seeing the radiant smile of a soon-to-be bride who was so happy with the results of her facial treatment, to the gentleman who finally feels more confident wearing shorts after his laser hair removal session—that remind me that I made the right choice.
I didn’t let doubts hold me back. I put 100% of myself into running Smooth Synergy and made the impossible possible. When you are passionate about what you want to do, you will find a way to succeed!
What steps did you take to launch your business?
I am so proud of where my business stands today. When I first started, I purchased the business from a woman and her husband who were moving to Florida. I moved the office to Midtown East and drastically expanded our services, turning Smooth Synergy into a medical spa. I laid out an entire business plan, researched competitors and new technologies, and hired new aestheticians. I even created my own skincare line. It was a difficult process—one that really brought out the best of my entrepreneurial skills. I really rose to the challenge, and I think it helped me grow as a person.
Collaboration was a key step in launching my business. I am so grateful to have had the full support of my loving husband, Dr. George Liakeas, throughout this entire journey. Not only is he my life partner, but he is the medical director and expert injector at my spa. Working with him has not only brought us closer together but has also strengthened our business.
What do you believe makes you/your business stand out from the competition?
Everything we do is centered on the client experience. I make sure each person who walks through the doors of our spa is taken care of, from start to finish—whether they are a one-time client or someone who has been coming to us for years. I also take great care to personally greet each new client when they come to the spa. The personal experience is what defines our business.
In addition to taking good care of each and every one of our clients, Smooth Synergy stands out because we offer the latest innovative treatments. We were one of the first spas to offer laser hair removal when it first became available in the early 2000’s, and we are now a leader in vaginal rejuvenation treatments to help women improve their sex lives.
What is your personal mantra, mission or manifesto?
Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved. I’m a very positive person and I have a lot of confidence – I always want to keep encouraging and empowering other women.
What’s your greatest professional mistake and what did you learn from it?
My greatest professional mistake happened at the beginning of my ownership of Smooth Synergy. I was not being careful enough about checking potential employees’ references and whom they worked with prior to hiring them. I learned that I should be more patient and less impulsive when it comes to hiring people.
If you had an extra hour in the day, how would you spend it?
I would spend it with my kids!
Who is your dream mentor?
I haven’t found them yet, but I would love a mentor who owns a medical spa as well and has been in the business before me. It would be particularly helpful if they have seen the changes the industry has undergone over the past few decades – from laser hair removal to Groupons and Twitter.
What’s your best financial advice for us?
Finish this sentence “Early in my career, I wish someone had told me…”
That owning a business wouldn’t be as scary as I thought it would be!
What’s your next big thing?
I want to help empower women by opening up the conversation around female sexual desires and needs! It’s time to talk more honestly about these previously taboo topics. My spa has begun treatments like the O-shot and Femilift to help women with improving their sexual health.
Source: Running With Heels