KENNEBUNK – As a pediatric nurse for 25 years, Kathleen Molloy was exposed to the use of Botox for patients with neuromuscular problems. But she didn’t think of aesthetic medicine – the delivery of Botox and fillers for cosmetic use – as a viable specialty until 10 years ago, when the doctor she was working with on Nantucket Island encouraged her to treat patients with Botox one day a week.
During that time, Molloy decided to get injections to treat the frown lines between her eyebrows and was amazed at the results. She took a class in Botox treatment and started her own practice, Nantucket Botox, 10 years ago. She opened another office, BellaBotox, when she and her family moved to Maine six years ago. In all, she has taken 15 classes with nurses and doctors whom she describes as exceptional teachers, and is classified as an “advanced injector.”
With two school-aged children and a husband whose job as athletic director kept him at Wells High School from morning until late at night six days a week, Molloy needed a flexible schedule. Having her own business has provided that freedom. Now she treats between 20 and 30 patients a week out of her office in Kennebunk or in salons and spas in Portland. She also travels to her Nantucket office and to Palm Beach, Fla., to continue to treat longstanding patients.
In Kennebunk, Molloy sees patients seven days a week in a private space and schedules appointments an hour apart – though most treatments take less than 20 minutes. She likes to take her time and not rush patients. Spacing appointments an hour apart also ensures that people won’t bump into anyone in the waiting room. There is still a stigma about cosmetic treatments, and many patients appreciate the privacy her office and flexible office hours provide.
Typically, patients come to Molloy wanting help with their facial wrinkles, but she has also treated people for migraines, sweaty armpits (hyperhydrosis), sweaty palms and feet. While Botox or fillers such as Juvederm and Radiesse can cost between $300 and $750 – and are not covered by insurance – Molloy says most of her patients only seek treatment two to three times a year. Botox lasts three to five months and fillers about a year. The age range of her patients is from late 20s to late 70s.
“They just want to look a little younger,” she says. “I tell them it’s like coloring your grays.”
Q What were your most important needs in getting started?
A Probably gaining confidence and an education on the products: how they worked, side effects, contra-indications, how to mix them, use them, inject them and lots of hands-on professional training. I also needed a good location with a comfortable, private space; business cards, brochures and a sign; a website, which I’m embarrassed to tell you is still not done; and physician and nurse colleagues for support.
Q What was there about your upbringing that gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
A My dad. He was a very successful businessman in plastics. He always encouraged all of us (six children) to do whatever we wanted. He told us if we worked hard, “find a product or service that no one else is providing” (was a famous line), stick to it and stay honest, we would be successful. Twenty-five years ago, after getting my MBA and master’s in nursing, I was offered the job [of] opening a specialty clinic for Children’s Hospital in Lexington Mass. I had to build the budget, then the building, buy the furniture, computer system, recruit doctors, nurses, and staff; order equipment and supplies, write the policies and procedures, and run it. I only had three years’ inpatient experience taking care of patients. But the hospital had faith based on my internship, my dad encouraged me, my staff did whatever it took, and a year later we (to everyone’s shock) were profitable. It was the first stand-alone clinic in Boston where the doctors came to the patients’ neighborhoods. Soon after, Brigham and Women’s, Beth Israel, and Mass General were touring our clinic and then building their own. “If you don’t try, you will never know what you are capable of,” my dad said. I learned every aspect of every job that I could. That experience gave me the confidence and experience to open my own business and practice.
Q What do you think the advantages are of being a female entrepreneur?
A I believe women are natural teachers, organizers, caregivers, negotiators and protectors. We are born entrepreneurs. In my particular business, where 90 percent of the clients are women, being a woman is an advantage. I understand their concerns and their needs, I get the pressures of work, kids, families, husbands, pets, health, and finances. During the hour I spend with them, we discuss a lot more than wrinkles. It’s a sisterhood. They walk out looking better – refreshed but feeling better is the more important result. I get as much out of connecting with people as I do out of great cosmetic results.
Q What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
A Ask for help, for education, advice, for ideas. Don’t give up. Don’t let others or your own negativity get in the way. Do the right thing. Always. Work smarter and harder than your competition. Find something you believe in and like to do and work won’t feel like work. Do your best every day. Forgive yourself and get back up on bad days. The money will come. But you have to believe in yourself. Then it will be easy for others to believe in you.
Q If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?
A Not really. I believe that the universe is smarter than I am and always takes care of me, even when that means mistakes. Luckily, all my services are temporary results so the risk factor is fairly low. Mistakes can be the best teachers. Fixing them builds your confidence. Trust your gut. I wish I were more skilled at accepting my intuition over my mind. But then, we are all works in progress.
– Joanne Lannin
58 Portland Road (Route 1),