I Opened A $1.2M/Year Fat Reduction Treatment Clinic 
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi! I’m Jennifer. When I opened Cool Contours in 2018, I was expecting our first child and just had our 2nd as I’m preparing to open our second location. Being a mom and running a small business is challenging, but doable! Having a family and trying to find a balance between home and workforces me to be more intentional with my time and finding support, whether that means leaning on the family to help with our 2 children, finding the right team at Cool Contours, or delegating marketing and SEO to the right firms.
At Cool Contours, we exclusively offer CoolSculpting, the #1 non-invasive fat reduction treatment in the world. Since then, we’ve added CoolTone, a treatment in the CoolSculpting family that tones, strengthens, and firms muscle. And in just 3 years, we are ranked #1 in VA for CoolSculpting by Allergan and consistently in the top 20 nationwide.
I knew when I started Cool Contours, I wanted to be super focused and offer a single type of service. And being specialized has paid off. By just offering CoolSculpting, my team and I were able to quickly gain a ton of experience and understand how the technology works and concentrate on continually sharpening our skills to make sure our patients were receiving the absolute best results.
Additionally, being so specialized gives us the ability to create an entire experience around the whole process of receiving CoolSculpting. We know that our patients are sharing areas that they may not be 100% comfortable with, so our job is to make sure they feel supported and encouraged the entire way through. Everything we do is centered around providing that memorable experience and helping our patients feel even more confident than they did when they walked through our doors.
Being specialized has paid off. So many of our patients share with our team that they intentionally seek us out since we are specialists and feel that they can trust our expertise. And because we have built our reputation on being the CoolSculpting experts, we can have a higher price point compared to our competitors.
On average, we’re able to charge about 60% more for CoolSculpting than other practices that offer a wide range of services since our patients see the value in our focus and service. Even though CoolSculpting does have some seasonality throughout the year, our average monthly revenue is $100k and we have completed almost 5,000 treatments.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Before opening Cool Contours, I was managing a Pure Barre studio, a franchised boutique fitness studio that exclusively offers barre-based classes. I had been teaching and managing for about 2 and a half years and became interested in opening my own business. At first, I was interested in opening my own Pure Barre studio but quickly realized that was not what I saw myself doing 5 or 10 years down the line.
CoolSculpting was not something that I was very familiar with, but my dad, who is a radiologist, was looking into it to possibly add to his practice. Although the aesthetic nature of CoolSculpting was not a great fit for his radiology practice, it piqued my interest and the more research I did, the more I realized that this was what I was looking for.
CoolSculpting is FDA-cleared, effective, non-invasive, and safe, so building an entire business based on CoolSculpting made a lot of sense. I wanted to bring all the lessons, nuances, and skills I learned from teaching and working with Pure Barre into a CoolSculpting exclusive business.
I believe the success of Pure Barre and other boutique fitness studios lies in their choice to be specialized. By choosing a focus, they can offer the best quality of service and classes for that particular niche. That quality doesn’t just include the best classes, instructors, or techniques, but it also encompasses the entire client experience. So much effort and attention are given to building the right environment where clients feel welcomed, encouraged, and a part of an existing community, and I wanted to bring all of those aspects to Cool Contours.
There isn’t anything like owning a small business and meeting with other owners and sharing our experiences is so helpful. Not only for support, but also to learn what type of marketing is effective, how to deal with employee situations, what works best for client retention, and the list goes on!
By being specialized, my team can offer patients the most amazing results while adding value by encouraging positive body image and creating a more inviting and comfortable space to receive the treatment.
Take us through the process of setting up the business and designing your services.
Before even finding a physical location for Cool Contours, I met with a CoolSculpting sales rep and practice development manager to learn more about how the technology worked. Once I had decided to move forward, I purchased 2 CoolSculpting systems and had them delivered to my home!
I knew that finding the right location was crucial and I didn’t want to rush through that process. After visiting over 10 potential spots, I found our location in Fairfax. It’s ideal in that it is close enough to Washington, D.C., is a major suburb with easy access off the main beltway, is close to Maryland, and has plenty of free parking.
Also, Virginia was ideal since our medical director is not required to be on site. The regulations of who can operate the CoolSculpting systems and conduct consultations vary by state, so I’ll be focusing on VA as I hope to expand into more locations.
After finding the right location, the next step was hiring the right staff. Luckily, the first specialist I hired was already CoolSculpting trained by my Practice Development Manager, and had plenty of patient experience.
To become a CoolSculpting Specialist, formal training isn’t a requirement, but because of our dedication to being the experts in the field, I train all of my employees on-site at our office, make sure they are trained at our office through our CoolSculpting Practice Development Manager, and also attend CoolSculpting University, which is a 3-day training program.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Before even opening Cool Contours in the fall of 2018, I wanted to make sure we had patients to treat on day one. Since CoolSculpting is that extra layer of self-care and works best with a healthy diet and exercise, I went to several Pure Barre Studios, Pilates studios, and gyms to reach out to potential patients. I also sponsored several local races to increase brand awareness and become integrated into the community.
I educated potential patients at these events about CoolSculpting and let them know about our opening and our opening special. I also had a raffle to start building our database. We started with zero patients in our CRM and now have over 5700.
Building that patient base and becoming busy took a lot of time, patience, and troubleshooting. I started with just a single employee and we held an event the month we opened with special promotional pricing. That helped us to book appointments early on and bring in revenue right from the start.
As a result of all the guerilla marketing, I did before we even opened our doors, we were able to have patients on the very first day we opened. But of course, in the early days of Cool Contours, there were many days when we didn’t see any patients and didn’t have any revenue.
Those early days were stressful since I had taken a loan for $330k and no matter how much marketing you do, as a new business, growth takes time and you have to believe in what you are doing and offering while being patient.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
To obtain new leads, I rely heavily on digital marketing and SEO. For our digital ads, I work with Merkava and they offer a comprehensive plan that includes ads on social media, like Facebook and Instagram, and pay-per-click ads through Google. They are such a great fit for Cool Contours since they have so much experience working with aesthetics accounts and particularly with CoolSculpting. Even though the style of their landing pages was not exactly what I had envisioned, I knew that I had to trust their expertise and give them space to do what they do best. I’ve been working with them since Q4 of 2019 and now recommend them to other businesses as much as I can.
The SEO firm, Capital Practice Consulting, I work with is also amazing. After ending a contract with the original firm I had for digital marketing, I began working with them for ads and SEO. While they were doing a great job of increasing our website visibility and our organic leads, we were not acquiring enough leads through the digital marketing avenue for a proper ROI. So I continued to work with them for our SEO, but found a different firm, Merkava, to take care of our digital marketing.
As a business owner, trying new things and working with different companies is so crucial. So many times, finding the right match for Cool Contours was a process of trial and error, and one of the most important things to keep in mind is to be aware of each aspect of your business's functioning. If you don’t track your leads, conversions, and ROI, knowing what is working or not working becomes impossible. And that’s where our amazing CRM comes in. Dewy allows me to track all the important data, like the number of new patients, the number of leads, and more, to help me make day-to-day decisions, but also plan for the future.
I also invest time and money in brand awareness. Although tracking the ROI for print ads and editorials is challenging, I still invest in those outlets since they help Cool Contours become a recognizable brand. Many of our patients tell us they see us everywhere, and that is exactly what we want! We want to be the familiar CoolSculpting brand that is first to come to mind when someone decides to move forward with his or her treatment.
Another critical aspect of building awareness is investing in business-to-business relationships. I partner with other businesses that are highly specialized with similar values to Cool Contours to not only benefit our patients with amazing referrals and promotions but also build an invaluable network of professionals. Even if all of our businesses focus on different things and niches, we all learn from one another and this was felt the most during the spring of 2020 when all of us were trying to navigate applying for PPE, keeping our employees, and staying afloat while trying to still plan for the extremely uncertain future.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
After our 1st year, we’ve been profitable each year and have had 75% growth year over year. On average each month, we have a 570% return on our digital ad spend. That includes our Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Instagram ads. Even though the leads that find us organically are a little more difficult to track, we approximately have a 1500% on our SEO spend.
Shortcuts to success don’t exist, so putting in the time, energy and effort go a long way. Also, be patient! The fruits of most of the things you invest in with your time and money are usually not immediately apparent.
Although we have a Facebook account, we use it mainly to generate new leads through our ad agency. Instagram is more effective for our patient base to share information about our practice and have active content for audience engagement. We currently have a little over 4000 followers on Instagram and I use it to communicate our specials, educate, promote our accomplishments and share fun content to allow our audience to feel connected to me and our specialists. By creating that relationship, We’re able to stay top of mind when our viewers are interested in moving forward with treatment.
Currently, I’m expanding to a 2nd location in Northern Virginia and looking to be up and running by late spring or early summer. However, with Covid and supply chain issues, I have to be patient and flexible with the timeline.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I always have a plan in place, but try my best to keep an open mind to make changes when needed. For example, I’ve changed our pricing and pricing structure more than 5 times since we opened. I started with the pricing structure CoolSculpting recommended and quickly found that it didn’t quite fit our business model as a CoolSculpting only practice. Since then, the more I understand our patients and how to help them achieve the best results, I’ve refined our pricing to reflect those lessons. We also now offer virtual consultations.
Before the pandemic, that was not something I was interested in offering since nothing beats an in-person assessment and consultation. However, while we were closed for nearly 3 months in 2020, I had to reevaluate and adjust and began offering virtual consults to make sure we had patients to treat as soon as we could reopen. Now, we still offer virtual consultations to our patients and they have helped us to broaden our geographical reach since prospective patients can meet with us on a more flexible schedule from a greater distance.
Work with other businesses and learn from other business owners.
We offer all of our patient's specials to several businesses we partner with and even though none of the businesses we partner with offer CoolSculpting, there is so much to learn from other like-minded owners. There isn’t anything like owning a small business and meeting with other owners and sharing our experiences is so helpful. Not only for support, but also to learn what types of marketing are effective, how to deal with employee situations, what works best for client retention, and the list goes on! Our patients also appreciate and value our recommendations to businesses that are as specialized as we are since they expect a similar standard of care and service.
Focus on building your brand.
Brand awareness is so crucial for standing out in any market. Our market is very saturated with CoolSculpting and other body contouring treatments, but many of our prospective and existing patients equate Cool Contours to CoolSculpting since I invest in different types of advertising. In addition to our print and digital ads, I also invest in editorials, working with influencers, and B2B relationships. The more our patients see us, the more comfortable they become with Cool Contours, which increases the likelihood of them remembering us for booking a consultation.
Brand awareness also includes having a consistent message of what Cool Contours is through advertising and social media. I focus on our practice differentiators to create a unique identity for our practice so that we can stand out and be even more memorable for our patients.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use Dewy for our CRM. Dewy is amazing because it’s easy for our staff to use, helps us keep in touch with our patients and prospective patients, and allows me to pull useful data to make any changes if necessary. The team at Dewy took the time to work with me to help customize our patient experience to relay the correct automated emails and texts depending on where they were in the patient funnel. Using Dewy allows my team to save time on sending texts, reminders, and updates so they can focus on other things. Dewy is also great since it has an email campaign built into the software and you can customize each campaign to target certain groups of patients in your database all within the same system.
For calls and texting, we use RingCentral. Using RingCentral allows us to have the same number for calls and texts to make it easy for our patients. And our team loves using it since the app on our desktops works just like text messages from our phones. Most of our patients prefer communicating via texts, and RingCentral makes it easy and seamless for us and them.
We used Shopify for the first time in November 2021 for our Black Friday sale. Normally, the cost of CoolSculpting at our office depends on the amount of coverage and sessions needed, but for our sale, we had a flat rate for the first time and were able to sell treatments online just for that month. Through that sale on Shopify, we were able to sell $30k worth of treatments and those patients purchased an additional $8500 that month. We allowed them to keep the same price for treatments according to their assessments. We also were able to obtain 8 new patients. For the opening of our 2nd location in late spring, I’m planning to use Shopify again for an opening special to give new and existing patients easier access to purchasing treatments.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Starting and running a business is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also one of the most rewarding! People are always curious about the one thing I did to make Cool Contours successful, unfortunately, when building a business, it’s a combination of so many different things.
There are so many important elements in building your brand, ensuring the best quality of service, making sure your product is top-notch, building relationships with customers and other businesses, and the list goes on! Shortcuts to success don’t exist, so putting in the time, energy and effort goes a long way. Also, be patient! The fruits of most of the things you invest in with your time and money are usually not immediately apparent.
Additionally, knowledge is power. Once I decided to open Cool Contours, I did everything to educate myself about CoolSculpting. The more you understand what you are offering, whether a service or a product, the more you can tailor your business to fit those particular needs of selling and sharing that product more effectively and efficiently.
Being more knowledgeable about CoolSculpting helps me to refine my business model, but it also helps me to understand better what patients are looking for and how CoolSculpting can fulfill that need. Even though I now work with CoolSculpting to educate other providers about CoolSculpting, I never turn down an opportunity to attend training.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are getting ready to open our second location in Northern Virginia and are looking to grow our amazing team! We’re looking to fill 2 full-time positions for CoolSculpting Specialists. Since we only offer CoolSculpting, our staff is on the smaller side and all of our team members have front desk and patient relations responsibilities along with consulting and performing CoolSculpting treatments.
No previous experience is needed since all of our specialists go through extensive training. The most important things I look for are teachability, compassion, and heart to be a part of someone’s CoolSculpting journey. We are always about being encouraging and uplifting to build confidence through a positive body image.
To apply, you can send your resume to [email protected].
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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