Baring It All By U.S. Small Business Administration
In recent years medical spas and laser centers have popped up all across the U.S. offering everything from massages and waxing, to laser tattoo and hair removal. Many are presented as holistic and tranquil sanctuaries in advertisements, but Bare in Burlington is taking a different approach.
Bare truly embraces its name and it’s apparent to people when they visit the website. Instead of an image of people wearing white robes with cream on their faces and cucumbers on their eyelids, Bare’s homepage displays an oversized image of an attractive young man and woman.
“We refer to them as our ‘Bare couple,’” said owner and founder of Bare Medical Spa + Laser Center, Jamie Spano. “Some think the image is a bit edgy and I understand that, but most feedback on our branding has been very positive. People like that we are embracing what it is we do. Everyone wants to look and feel good about themselves, but unfortunately we all have that one little “thing” about ourselves that prevents us from having the self-confidence we deserve to feel; be it a tiny wrinkle somewhere, not having the smoothest skin, a hair that we have to tweeze every single day, a spot on our body we hate when we wear that gorgeous dress, etc. We all want to feel inside like the gorgeous couple we display on our website…and that’s what we help people do. We always joke around at the spa and say ‘we sell Sexy!’”
Bare offers a wide range of medical spa services including laser tattoo removal, laser hair removal, cosmetic injections, skincare treatments, and vein removal; but also have recently added your typical day spa treatments, like waxing, electrolysis, massage and body scrubs. One of the two contributing factors to Bare’s success is laser hair removal. Spano said there is a real need for this service because unwanted body hair is a major concern for both men and women. Spano herself is a Vermont licensed Medical Esthetician, Electrologist, Certified Laser Technician and Makeup Artist.
Potential clients get a very clear idea of the services Spano and Bare offer from its modern web site. Through the site clients can make appointments online, read testimonials and view before and after photos.
It was not long ago Bare was a one-person operation. Spano decided to start Bare in 2011 after working in the skincare industry for a few years. At first she was in a small space no bigger than a large closet offering only laser hair removal. Immediately she said clients were asking for other services. Spano then moved to a shared workspace location on Pine Street to meet demand, but within a year it became apparent she needed even more space.
In October Spano moved Bare to a newly renovated 1,600 square foot space at 95 Saint Paul Street. The chic and modern spa is complete with a gorgeous reception area, private consultation office, and four full treatment rooms.
The business has been rewarding financially for both Spano and Bare. Today Spano employs six technicians, two full-time office staff and provides esthetic internships to two students. She hopes to hire more employees once she becomes more established in her new location.
Although her company is successful, the cost of equipment and renovations were extensive, so Spano knew she needed additional capital to expand her company.
Through People’s Trust Company, Spano secured two SBA 7(a) guaranteed loans to expand BARE. The first was used to purchase inventory and equipment and the second was used to open her new location on Saint Paul Street. The 7(a) Loan Program is the SBA’s most common loan program. The loan may be used to establish a new business or to assist in the acquisition, operation, or expansion of an existing business.
“I’m really excited to be here in Downtown Burlington, but the best decision I made when starting Bare was starting very small and gradually growing. I could not imagine starting my business in a place this size. I think this steady growth has set me up for success to expand Bare even further whether it’s hiring more employees to maybe even opening another space in the coming years,” she said.