Cover Story; Med Spas
Loosely regulated, the medical spa business in Florida is growing fast, selling everything from $350 Botox injections to $2,000 laser hair removal treatments.
Gentle Recovery: A med spa patient undergoes a "gentle wave" treatment to quickly reduce inflammation and redness after a procedure.
Two and a half years ago, Brian Sidella was contemplating a career change when he tuned into an episode of Fox's extreme makeover show "The Swan."
An executive in the telecommunications industry at the time, Sidella was struck by the ravenous public appetite for cosmetic self-improvement that the show revealed. He thought of Florida's rapidly growing population of aging Baby Boomers and their desire to stay youthful-looking -- and wondered what sort of business opportunities it might create for him.
Online research introduced him to medical spas. Medi-spas, med spas or medical spas, as they are called, originated in California as facilities offering doctor-supervised cosmetic procedures, such as laser hair removal and Botox injections, to those with enough vanity and disposable income. Typically located in malls and shopping centers, the sites are more convenient and usually far more luxurious than the average doctor's office. "Within weeks of pulling down the information, I decided that I wanted to be in this industry," Sidella recalls.
? Botox injections generated $2.4 billion in procedure fees in 2005. Treatment revenue will grow to $4.6 billion by 2010, earning suppliers an estimated $878 million.
? Approximately 3 million dermal filler procedures were performed last year, earning practitioners $1.3 billion and suppliers $442 million. By 2010, an estimated 9 million treatments will generate $3.5 billion for doctors and $1.3 billion for suppliers.
Today, Sidella's Forever Young MedSpa in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Cooper City is part of a $10-billion industry that is growing between 50% and 100% each year. Startup costs average around $750,000, but the typical med spa is a cash cow, generating about $10 million in revenue over just five years, industry experts say. Typical prices in Sidella's establishment: $350 for a "one-zone" wrinkle-removing Botox treatment, $1,700 for a package of five photo-facial treatments to minimize sun damage, and $2,000 for laser hair removal from a woman's legs or a man's back.