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26Health Beautiful You MediSpa: Pampering with a Purpose

Medical electrologist at 26Health Spa, Brandi Concolino posing in dark scrubs at the office

26Health MediSpa Helps People Feel Good While Doing Good

As a laser tech and medical electrologist, Brandi Concolino was handling hair removal for clients — a job she says breeds the same type of confidante relationships that people form with their hairstylists. One of her clients confided she was going through a gender transition with the emotional support of her psychologist at 26Health, a nonprofit that helps LGBTQ+ patients and their allies with wellness of the mind, body and spirit.

The client said Concolino would be a good fit at 26Health and recommended her, knowing the company was planning to expand from mental health to medical services and would soon be hiring a manager for its new medical spa, the Beautiful You MediSpa.

That was nearly seven years ago. “They brought me in for an interview, and I was hired on the spot,” Concolino says. “I was so impressed with their vision, passion and causethat I thought, ‘This is it.’ I didn’t have to think twice about taking the job.”

Concolino started setting up the spa at 26Health’s headquarters, a four-story office building on Magnolia Street in downtown Orlando. In the evenings, she went to school to become a licensed aesthetician. Under her direction, the spa has expanded its services to offer cosmetic procedures that make skin look healthier and more youthful. These include:

  • Facials, a set of treatments that exfoliate the skin, removing impurities, acne breakouts and dead cells.
  • Chemical peels, which apply a solution that helps remove the top layer of skin to get to the layer under it, which is smoother and less wrinkled.
  • Microneedling, which involves pricking the skin with tiny sterilized needles, creating wounds that force your body to make more collagen and elastin that heal skin cells.
  • Dermaplaning, which uses a scalpel to exfoliate skin and remove dirt and “peach fuzz” or light hair. 

The spa plans to add microblading, which uses a needle to insert pigment under the skin to create semi-permanent natural-looking eyebrows. The spa is also bringing in a nurse practitioner to handle injectables and fillers, which involve elements like Botox to eliminate wrinkles brought on by aging and sun exposure. A massage therapist and a dietitian will round out the team, Concolino says. 

Today, the spa is an important part of the full suite of care under the 26Health umbrella. Most of its services are considered cosmetic and self-pay instead of covered by insurance — as opposed to the mental and physical medical care 26Health offers to patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

“The nice thing is that the profits from the spa help to fund the other side of the business, which is awesome,” Concolino says. “So when you take care of yourself at the spa, people who might not necessarily be able to afford medical or mental health services can then have an opportunity to receive them.”

The spa’s clients range in age from 15 to the 70. “I see all age ranges and skin types,” Condolino says. “Your gender orientation, your skin color, your ethnicity — none of that matters here. You’re going to get the same treatment no matter what. You’re going to leave here feeling good no matter who you are.” 

She emphasizes that the spa sees patients who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and patients who are not. “We’re inclusive. We want everybody to feel welcome to come in and be pampered and receive the same treatment they should receive anywhere, but know they’re going to get here. I want them to look and feel their very best. Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself, that’s my motto.”

The company has launched a marketing campaign that includes wedding shows, small business expos and other events where 26Health can showcase the spa’s services. Concolino also uses her personal enthusiasm to generate one-on-one marketing opportunities.

“A lot of my clients are repeat customers, and a lot of my clients are referrals,” she says.

“But I’m always looking for more. Every time I go out, I carry pamphlets and brochures, or little palm cards. I always talk to people and look for opportunities to let them know I can help them. If l see a teenager with acne, or a person trying to cover facial hair with makeup, chances are they don’t know that there are services available to them. I don’t come out and say, ‘Hey, I can help you with that.’ But I might strike up a conversation and mention what I do for work. Inevitably, people say, ‘You know, I could use your services.’ I give them a card with a coupon on the back for 10% off.”

In her office, Concolino greets every person who comes through the door with a sit-down consultation at her desk. “I really care about them as a person,” she says. “I might remember this person’s child’s birthday is coming up, or that this other person was dreading going home for Thanksgiving. I want to talk to each person as an individual, not just get them in and out. You’re not a number when you come here. You’re a human being.”

One advantage is that being in an office building offers clients more privacy than they would get if they were spotted walking in and out of a retail storefront, she says. “It’s a little more private for the clients who don’t want people knowing they’re coming in for hair removal.”

The spa sees about 65 to 70 people a month, and that number is expected to increase this year as the list of services expands. Concolino is continuing to grow professionally as well. She had little left to learn in her former job, but this one challenges her daily to be better and do better while she helps clients do the same. “I knew I was destined to do something bigger,” she says. “This was the perfect opportunity.”

 


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About the author

Diane Sears

A career journalist, author and advocate for business growth, Diane Sears is the CEO, editor and publisher of i4 Business. She is also the founder and president of DiVerse Media LLC, which has handled content marketing projects including nonfiction books, white papers, executive speeches and scripts since 2000. She is co-founder of the nonprofit Go for the Greens Foundation, which helps connect women-owned and minority-owned business owners with growth opportunities internationally.

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