Tiffany Martelli discovered laser hair removal when she was looking for ways to deal with being “a hairy Italian girl.” Impressed by her own successes with it she went to school and learned to do it herself.
When she moved to Denver five and a half years ago she started a business traveling to local gyms and spas doing laser hair removal. She met her future business partner Nicole Kerchmar at Revive, Nicole’s spa. When the economy tanked Nicole made the very difficult decision to close her business and go back to grad school. After getting her MBA, Nicole missed her days at the spa. She and Tiffany decided to join forces and build Denver Laser Solutions, a downtown Denver spa located in the Denver Athletic Club offering best in class laser hair removal and the most amazing facial I have experienced in my life.
When I met Tiffany and Nicole I was immediately impressed by their decisiveness in business, their attentiveness to customer satisfaction, their down to earth style and their absolutely fantastic services. I recently sat down with them to chat about their thoughts on Colorado, running a business, life and love.
Here is a bit of what they had to say.
Where are you from originally?
Nicole: I am originally from Colorado Springs.
Tiffany: I moved out here from Massachusetts with a boy. It was a hard decision to move. It was a choose your own adventure kind of thing. I thought if I was going to do something crazy I should do it then and I moved here.
Why do you stay?
Nicole: I have traveled around the world and for me Colorado is still a great place. Everyone wants to move here and I just don’t see a lot of people moving out. I have friends and family here. I like the culture. I like the lifestyle. I like the 300 days of sunshine and the occasional rain.
Everyone I talk to about Colorado talks about the sun more than anything. What do you think is Denver’s Best Kept Secret?
Tiffany: Inspiration Point Park. It is next to Regis University and it has amazing views. It is so pretty there. I also think Izba Spa is one of Denver’s best kept secrets. It is a place where you can get a Russian massage. It is definitely an experience. You need to try it.
Where in Colorado do you like to splurge?
What is your best all around life advice?
Nicole: Listen. Just listen. Don’t try to figure it out. Don’t try to figure out what people are trying to say. Just listen.
Tiffany: Smile and be nice to people. When you smile it makes everyone else smile too.
What mistakes you have made in your business along the way?
Tiffany: You make mistakes not knowing they were mistakes at the time. We relied on other start-up businesses when maybe we shouldn’t have. Building a website was really confusing. I did not know where to go and what to do. I think it is hard to know what you are getting when you get a website. People will build a website for you and then they will not do any marketing. What good is a $7000 website if it is not marketed well? I think it is better to work with established business. I had no idea where to start or where to go with a website. It is hard to know what you are getting for your money when you are getting a website.
What was your greatest life journey?
Nicole: Closing my spa and going back to grad school. It was the greatest and the hardest journey. It took so much to mentally prepare to close it and then do all that it entailed. My lease was about to be up and the market had crashed. We thought it was best to close it but to mentally do it and let people go, that was the hardest journey.
Tiffany: Starting a business in a city where I did not know anyone. I am thankful for Nicole. She knows so many people.
What advice do you have for people who are starting their own business?
Nicole: I would say be prepared to be overwhelmed. Be prepared for daily changes. There will be good days and bad days and you just have to ride it out. Celebrate the good days. Stick with the big picture of what you are trying to accomplish. When you feel lost go back to the big picture. Find out what went wrong and make changes.
It is quality versus quantity. We got a phone call today where they asked why we cost more than other laser hair removal systems. I told them that we are more experienced, have better equipment and really care about the quality of results.
It is also important to have a business support group. I built mine as I went along. Now I can tap into those resources. When you first start and don’t have that support group it is hard. If you can have those things in place before you start the business that will be helpful. You need people like a graphic designer and a marketing person. CU Denver Bard Center for Entrepreneurs has been helpful.
Tiffany: You have to know that you are going to give up a lot of your own spare, personal time. Also, try not to fuss and stress out about the small things. I would worry all night long about things that went wrong and in the end it all works out.
What is your best advice for people in relationships?
Nicole: Respect. Hands down. Love comes from respect.
Tiffany: Make sure you love someone before you move in with them and mix your finances with them.
What are some of your favorite small Denver businesses?
Nicole: I like LaLas. It is a great Italian Restaurant on the corner of 7th and Pennsylvania. I also like Skoops, they have the most amazing sandwiches. It is on9th and Downing.
What do you think is the single most impactful moment of your life?
Nicole: The passing of my young dad. He was 59. I learned life is entirely way too short to say, “Wait until I retire,” or “wait to open up a special bottle of wine until something good happens.” Don’t wait to find a reason to celebrate. Just do it.
Tiffany: I lost money investing and that was pretty impactful to me. You pay for your lessons. You learn and move on. It really put things in perspective.
Anything else you would like to add?
Nicole: Colorado is good soil to start a business. It is a great start up place. People in Colorado really like to support their neighborhood and their local businesses. It is nice to be a part of a growing city as opposed to a city that is reinventing itself. It is great to be a part of shaping a city, to have a voice and have that voice be heard.
Tiffany: I think I was more narrow minded living in Massachusetts. When you come to Colorado your eyes are more open to the possibilities.
To learn more about Nicole, Tiffany and their fabulous services at Denver Laser Solutions, please go to: denverlasersolutions.com.
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