After a 26 year career within the “traditional” medical field, Julie Davis decided it was time to pivot, and she began her career in operations for a large plastic surgery group. It was there that her passion for aesthetic medicine was born. After learning the ins and outs of the industry, Julie realized that she had the skills, passion, and drive to create her own medical spa. And in 2018, she started Pura Vida Body & Mind Spa in Flemind Island, Florida.
“I realized that I was working a lot of hours to make other people wealthy. So I opened up my own place and the rest is history after that. Now I work a lot of hours, but I’m building something for me.”
Beyond building something for herself, Julie’s mission was to help her patients’ appearances align with their youthful energy. And she understood that mission personally: “I’m just too vibrant, I’m still full of life, and I don’t feel my age. So I want to look like I feel.” But establishing a medical spa didn’t come without growing pains.
Reputation is everything.
“It’s super scary to start it from scratch,” Julie told us. But despite her fear, she did it anyway. As an entrepreneur, she learned to grow and adapt quickly. Early on, she came to realize that establishing a positive reputation–both online and offline–was essential, and began evaluating ways to build Pura Vida’s.
When starting Pura Vida, Julie had to grow her clientele base, but she was competing with big aesthetic medicine groups and needed a solution to help her stand out. “I had nothing to start. It was a giant push digitally,” Julie said. And her first step in the push was gathering reviews through Podium.
Julie originally discovered Podium at a trade show and immediately understood the impact it could have on Pura Vida’s online reputation. “Picking up Reviews through Podium was a huge game changer for us. Huge,” Julie recalled, “Because we then had a way to easily get people to do it. We provided great services, I hired great staff, and all of that was going in the right direction. When I met [my customer success manager] at Podium, I think we had 28 Google reviews. Getting people to go to Google was just [challenging]: we would ask them and then of course they would go get in their car and go home, forget, or just not do it…And now we’re over 600. And it’s easy for the staff…It’s one click, put in the phone number, one click.”
Julie’s entrepreneurial spirit and years of expertise enabled her to capture a loyal client-base and helped establish Pura Vida in the medical spa world. And with Podium, she could manage Pura Vida’s online reputation with ease, allowing her to gain and retain customers all while growing her business.
Creating a safe space for patients.
Outside of running a successful business, if there’s one thing Julie knows, it’s what her patients want and how they operate. Julie knew that people were on their phones, and that texting was typically the most comfortable way for people to communicate about intimate procedures. With Podium, Julie not only made communication simple, but she also created safe space for her patients, which ultimately mattered most.
“Our patients love it. That’s where people are, they want to text. And I think in the med spa space, one unique thing worth highlighting would be how many times people are at work when they’re trying to make personal appointments, or they’re on a lunch break, or whatever, but they’re not in an environment where they want to say out loud, ‘Hey, I’m calling to make my dermal filler appointment.’ Because they don’t want others to know what they’re doing.”
“Podium was the perfect solution,” Julie said, “[patients are] actually going to engage with my staff, people who are intimate with what we do, and can speak to anything. So we did that right out of the gate. It very quickly mushroomed into everybody’s preferred method.”
By meeting her clientele on the channels they already use to converse, Julie was able to foster meaningful conversations with new and repeat customers alike, which made the entire client journey more personal for everyone involved.
Deposits made simple through Podium Payments.
Conversing effectively with patients is crucial, there’s no doubt about that. But there are other vital components involved in creating a world-class client experience, too—including the payment process. Originally, Pura Vida was solely a cash business. But as it grew, Julie realized that in certain situations, such as large group bookings or full-day spa treatments, pre-paid deposits could help her business operate more efficiently and raise the rate of appointments held. Accordingly, Julie needed a way to securely collect payment ahead of the client’s appointment.
In those circumstances, “We require 50% non refundable deposit. We used to pick up the phone, call them, [and] take their credit card over the phone.Then one day I went, ‘Hey wait a second, we have Podium, we can do this right there.’ So we just send them a secure payment link, and then that gives us visibility. If you think about [collecting payment by phone], somebody on the staff has to pick up the phone. All too often they will not reach [the client] because no one answers their phone. So we leave a voicemail, and then the person calls back, and somebody else on my team takes the deposit over the phone. But the employee who originally called the client has no idea that it’s already been taken care of. There’s just no continuity”
Podium Payments made consistency attainable for Julie and her staff. By sending patients a secure payment link via text in advance of their session, deposits were collected with ease, appointments were held, and Pura Vida’s staff could keep tabs on each client’s payment status within Podium. “There’s full transparency to the staff, everybody sees everything, and it provides that continuity we need.”
Having patients pay deposits through Podium ahead of their appointments was a profitable and efficient change for Pura Vida, but Julie saw even more potential with Payments. At a recent pop-up tour bus event, Pura Vida used Podium Card Readers to process $100,000 dollars in revenue from same-day appointments. As she explained, it “literally took two seconds to process [and offered] lower rates than my usual processor. Having 2 staff members walk around taking payments with Podium was amazingly simple. Every event we run will be this way from now on.”
Icing on the cake: Campaigns.
With her business operating as efficiently as ever, Julie turned her focus toward Pura Vida’s marketing strategy. After experiencing difficulties with external marketing agencies, Pura Vida brought their marketing efforts in-house to maintain a consistent brand message. “We used agencies in the past, but they were cumbersome and difficult for us to manage. I just didn’t want to do it that way anymore. We decided to bring it in house and let my staff interact with our patients instead.” To do so, Julie turned to SMS marketing, knowing that texting outperformed traditional marketing methods, such as email. In her own words, “No one opens email the way they do text.” Using Podium Campaigns for Pura Vida’s SMS marketing promotions proved to be a game-changer for her and the entire Pura Vida staff. And due to the natural opt-in touchpoints within Podium (Reviews, Webchat, and Payments), Julie already had a large list of opted-in subscribers, which has now grown to over 4,300 people.
In addition to simplifying internal operations, Campaigns also drove serious revenue. “By way of example, we ran a campaign for Botox treatments and sent a payment request once they expressed interest,” Julie shared. ”They were prepaying on their account to get the deal. From that campaign, I put $20,000 in the bank over two days. Why would [a business] not do that?”
“Listen, if your agency isn’t making you $20,000 in two days on a basic text campaign, you need to look at Podium.” – Julie Davis, President/CEO
The platform that powers Pura Vida’s mission.
Julie Davis has built Pura Vida Body & Mind Spa into a powerful practice, based on the belief that everyone can look as youthful as they feel. She worked diligently to make her dreams a reality, and cites the world-class client experience she offers as a critical factor in her success. When asked what Podium brings to her business, “continuity” and “transparency” regularly came to mind.
“I genuinely want everyone to know and understand how great I think Podium is. If I didn’t believe it, I would not have kept using them for the last two years. I could go on and on because it is so much more robust than just texting.”