Felicia Munion is the CEO and Co-Founder of Arizona Facial Plastics, a leading med spa and plastic surgery practice in Phoenix. Felicia opened Arizona Facial Plastics in 2016 and has been in the aesthetics industry for more than 15 years. She loves the diversity and range of opportunities that come with managing a practice, and especially loves interacting with patients at Arizona Facial Plastics. She truly believes that patients deserve a physician who cares for their overall wellbeing and delivers results that fit the patient’s desires. Felicia is a great leader to speak about work/life balance as she has three kids.
In the interview with Women On Topp, Felicia Munion explained that she had a vision of not only providing cosmetic surgery for her patients, but a complete support system through which they could feel empowered to be their best. Read the interview below
What was the greatest difficulty that you faced in this profession?
One of the biggest challenges for any entrepreneur is building a team of professionals who are caring, knowledgeable, and committed to working together. Having an environment that is fulfilling and joyful to work in translates to clients wanting to do business with us. It hasn’t been easy, but I believe in investing in my employees. When they grow, so does my business.
What are the current trends of plastic surgery?
There are more and more non-invasive technologies helping people look youthful with very little down time. It is a great time in aesthetics—if you start when your face still looks great, and invest a modest amount per year, you really don’t have to show signs of aging!
What are your strengths and preferred areas of plastic surgery?
We focus on facial aesthetics—there are plenty of plastic surgeons who will rejuvenate the whole body, and then also do your face. But we have spent years focusing on everything above the collarbone—people see your face first, so let’s make it as youthful and radiant as possible!
Do you offer any new services?
Yes! We are super excited to be one of the first practices in the Valley to offer the Opus Plasma. This treatment delivers amazing skin tightening and is appropriate for all skin types. With only about 2 days of down time you get results comparable to a CO2 laser, but with less pain and less down time!
What do you think, how will plastic surgery develop in the future?
As people live longer, they want to look as youthful as they feel. Prices for fillers, botox, and laser treatments are dropping and becoming available even in small towns that used to not have any services. This means that more people will take advantage of aesthetics to keep themselves looking young. They will also need surgery later, and so we will see less surgeries that reverse aging, and more that enhance a specific look—like rhinoplasty and dimple creation.
Are there any interventions which you would not advise? And if so, why?
In your 20s you might feel like your face is too round, or that your cheeks are too chubby. But don’t get that fat removed! It doesn’t come back, and when you are in your 40s your face will look hollow and deflated. Enjoy your youthful plumpness—don’t get your buccal fat removed!
What do you think about cosmetic surgery abroad?
Its totally understandable that people would go overseas to look for lower-priced cosmetic surgery. But when you are dealing with your face, price should never be your determining factor. Research the physician’s credentials, training, and look at their results. Talk to prior patients if possible to see if they had a good experience and are happy with their look. Also find out what the healing and post-operative experience is like—will the doctor help you for two weeks after the surgery, or just put you on a plane back home? Dealing with complications at home can end up costing more than you would have paid for the surgery in the U.S.
How can one finance a surgery in your clinic?
There are several ways—we offer Care Credit and Alphaeon Finance, both of which have interest-free payment plans. We also have a membership program that makes it affordable to maintain your results through smaller monthly payments.
What inspired you to start Arizona Facial Plastics?
My co-founder and I wanted to create a comfortable environment where patients would be well-educated on all the aspects of aging and how to stay youthful. We wanted our clients to have fun, and leave feeling like they understood the options and knew that there was a solution for their aging situation.
Tell us more about Arizona Facial Plastics, who are your clients, what are they looking for?
Our clients are people who feel young, value education, and like to have fun. They want to be with us for the long-term because they understand that aging doesn’t stop, and they want a trusted partner to guide them on their journey. They appreciate results, and believe that looking naturally youthful is beautiful.
How did you start with Arizona Facial Plastics?
My co-founder and I opened the company in 2016, and started from scratch. We had no clients and had to guerrilla market to try and get patients. Through a strategic acquisition in 2017 we were able to obtain a client list which really helped us gain some traction.
Tell us what do you do as the owner?
My day is varied and fun! My chief responsibility is to create a culture of support where employees and clients feel valued and appreciated for their uniqueness. Every day is different, but I do many things from managing client relationships, implementing marketing initiatives, paying bills, and onboarding new devices.
How is plastic surgery different today than it was just a few years ago?
Consumers are more educated. They come to us with specific ideas about what they need. Sometimes this is great—patients who know what kind of result they are looking for are easy to help. But there is also a lot of misinformation, and just a lot of information in general—it can be overwhelming for patients and it can take a lot of effort to help them let go of misconceptions so that they can move forward and address their problem.
What is the one technology trend within your industry that cannot be ignored?
Minimally invasive procedures. There is so much you can accomplish without surgery today. People are able to put off surgery for longer because there is so much you can do to keep your face looking young!
How do you keep yourself updated? What are some of the websites or magazines or apps that you subscribe to or read regularly?
There are a ton of industry newsletters, like The Aesthetic Guide and others that share updates on technology trends. We also attend several shows each year to see new technology. Real Self is a great consumer website where people can upload their real results and describe their experiences.
What does it mean for marketers to provide ‘brand leadership’?
I interpret that as being who you say you are and doing what you say you will. If you don’t accurately represent your brand, you won’t grow.
What do you feel are the current trends in the aesthetic world?
People are choosing surgery at a younger age to “fix” things like big ears, create dimples, and get stronger jaw lines. Patients are realizing that it isn’t expensive or difficult to get the look they want.
Do you have any special advice for other ‘aesthetic divas’ out there?
Sorry, not sure what this question means?
What are the key metrics you look at when searching for the right surgeons?
I always look at their training, and their results. You want to make sure you are choosing a surgeon who sees the world like you do and who creates results that match your expectations. I also read reviews to see what other people’s experiences have been, and how the doctor responds to complaints.
What’s one opportunity for using influencer marketing that maybe marketers overlook that has the potential to make a significant positive impact beyond content creation?
If an influencer is local and has a local following, then it is great to engage them in a transformational journey. Clients generally need to see your brand 8 times before they will decide to engage with you. If your influencer is posting about your brand several times over a few months, potential clients will get used to seeing your name and you will be top of mind when they consider plastic surgery.
Where do you see beauty world going in 10 years?
There are so many new technologies being developed. Where there used to be only one brand, now there are three to four that delivery comparable results. When you have competition in the market for service delivery, prices go down. More people will have access to treatments because the prices will continue to become more affordable.
How has covid-19 affected the services of Arizona Facial Plastics so far?
We were positively affected by Covid-19. I think that people had more disposable income because they weren’t traveling or going out to dinner. They also spent a lot of time on zoom, and didn’t have to worry about down time after a treatment because they were going to be home anyway. So we had a huge business boom and were able to offer more clients more services than ever before.
What’s your favorite social network – Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? Why?
I love Instagram. The images are so impactful and people have been great at showcasing results and delivering information. Instagram is also more the demographic of my target clients.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
That’s tough. In every life there are years where an external challenge seems insurmountable, and then through perserverance you get through it. So I think my greatest accomplishment thus far has been my desire to continue to grow and change. If we stop growing and learning, then we become stagnant. I am always challenging myself to learn better ways to interact with others, and looking at my own hangups that hold me back. This has been my greatest accomplishment—my continued desire to get a little bit better as a human each day.
Tell me about what you’re working on now.
We have just purchased that new device for which I’m devolping a launch campaign. We will likely have an event where we invite clients to come and see results, watch a treatment, and learn more about the device. We are also integrating a new service line that will be a great adjunct to our existing services.
Can you share some marketing tips on how to launch a new service/treatment?
Having a sales strategy is critical to getting an ROI on any new service or treatment. We will put together incentive pricing, and then hold an event to introduce the new service. We prefer to offer incentive pricing to our most engaged clients, so we try to make the event exclusive by limiting the number of attendees. I also love to compensate people for their time, so I usually include a really nice gift basket or a meal as part of the event.
When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
When I suffer a large setback, I usually need a day to get back to myself. I will go up to the mountains to go biking. Being in nature helps me to reset and reframe. I will look at the setback and, instead of seeing it as a setback, figure out how it is going to help me open new avenues that I might have ignored. I try to be gentle and honor my disappointment while knowing that it is not permanent, and success will return.
In which area would you like to improve as an entrepreneur?
I would love to be better at scheduling. Either that or I need a personal assistant! I’d also love to have a more cohesive approach to marketing, where I am able to get the email, social, and relational marketing all on the same page.
What are you future goals?
I’d love for this business to continue to expand. We have few expansion models we are investigating right now, weighing whether it makes sense to open additional locations or just add capacity in our existing space. Eventually I’d love to be in leadership at a national aesthetics company.
What are your current goals?
I really am looking forward to getting my kids back into a normal school routine in the fall, and moving into a new home. For the business I want to get all of my providers to 80% capacity, and add that additional service line I mentioned.
What would you advice our followers who have want to start their own aesthetic clinic?
Do your research! You don’t need a ton of devices to get started, and you don’t have to buy new ones. The capital costs in this industry can be quite high if you aren’t careful, and so you have to have a plan to sell and package your services. Pick a device that is easy to use, and that is appropriate for a wide range of ages and skin types. Microneedling with Radio Frequency is a good place to start.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Sounds cliche, but: “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.” Life is too short to be too stressed out. Figure out what is important and then do the next right thing.
What are some hurdles an aspiring business owner might not be aware of?
In aesthetics there are a lot of regulatory compliance issues to be aware of. You have to make sure that you have licensed providers, and that you are following Department of Health Services rules and regulations. Its not as easy as opening a cupcake shop!
What have you learned most from entrepreneurship?
I’ve learned that I really enjoy deciding what I get to do every day! I would much rather take the risks of entrepreneurship and combine them with the freedom I have to do all the things that need to be done, than be in a safe and boring job where someone else tells me what to do all day.
What has been your favorite moment in your career so far?
I was super happy a few months ago when a competitor asked for advice on how I grew this to be such an “established” business. To go from zero to “established” in only 5 years felt like a great honor!
What is a skill you think all women should learn and why?
Definitely. Learn about money. How to make it, how to save, how to invest. You need to know these things because in our society, money is power. If you say “I’m not good at finances” or “I don’t know much about math” then you are giving away all your power. Of course you can work with experts who know more than you, but learn about money.
Would you say you have to have specific potential needs in order to start as an entrepreneur? If so, what are the specific potential needs?
Entrepreneurs need money—its hard to grow if you don’t have access to money. You also need a support system, someone who can help you with your kids, tell you you aren’t crazy, and cheer you on. Finally, you need passion. If your heart isn’t in it you won’t attract the clients that your business needs and wants.
If you could go back by ten years, what would be some of the top tips you would give our audience?
Keep going. You might not always know how something is going to benefit you in the long run but do it anyway. Ten years ago I was starting my coaching business, and I would set up a video camera, do my hair, and make videos. I practiced speaking, teaching, and talking on camera. I edited the videos, added music, and uploaded them to YouTube. And NO ONE watched them. It could have been really depressing, but I kept going because it felt important. Now in my business I feel so comfortable whenever I have to be on T.V. to promote services or educate on skin care. I know how to speak clearly, smile, and am at ease in front of the camera. That wouldn’t exist for me today had I not spent so much time working on it back then.
Share two pieces of advice for female entrepreneurs.
Don’t let other people convince you to do what they want in your business. You are your business’ soul and source of meaning. If it feels true to you, keep it—even if it isn’t the biggest revenue generator.
Be all in. If you are on the fence about whether you want to be in business, your whole team and your clients will sense it. Your lack of commitment will prevent others from committing to you, and you will find yourself in a downward spiral. When you commit with all your heart and mind, people will feel your passion and you will grow.
You’re currently writing a book, can you tell us what this will be about?
My book is about the rules for life that I live by. But like any good rules, some get broken some of the time. The rules for life are as simple as “Always Valet”—you save time, gain convenience, and feel fancy—and as complicated as “Learn to Listen Deeply”. It is a compilation of tools that have helped me find success, along with funny and meaningful stories about how they have propelled me forward.
What is the one advice that has impacted you the most?
During 2020 the best piece of advice came from Anna in Frozen 2. She is in despair because she thinks her sister is dead, Olaf melted in her arms, and she has to decide whether to destroy a dam that will then destroy her kingdom. It all feels overwhelming, so she says—don’t look too far ahead, just do the next right thing. That has been the most impactful piece of advice. Do the next right thing.
What has been your key (or keys) to success?
Faith in God. I always know that there is a reason bigger than me, and it keeps me focused on what really matters—making a difference, however small, in the life of each person I meet.
Tell us about your proudest achievement?
Graduating from Bryn Mawr College in 2000. As the first person on my Dad’s side to graduate from college, I really sensed how it was a generational accomplishment. It wasn’t just about me and all the hard work I had put in, but also about the previous generations and what they had sacrificed so that I could even have the opportunity.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
When I first opened this office, I integrated several staff from a prior business that shut down. I didn’t take time to assess the culture they came from, and hadn’t yet developed a strong culture of my own. They were not a good fit, and ended up sabotaging aspects of my business. And yet I didn’t listen to myself and kept them for longer than I should have. I learned that culture is everything. If someone is not a good fit, give them a chance. But if they don’t take it, move them along. They will find a place that fits them betters, and I will have a more successful and aligned business—and less stress and more joy!