Melissa Caruso Calafell | Crain's Connecticut

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Melissa Caruso Calafell

Background:  

Renaissance Beauty provides dermatological care and rejuvenation in a holistic setting that emphasizes individual needs.

The Mistake:

When I began this business, I focused on print advertising to call attention to my work and to attract new business. All of the media that I paid for in the first 24 months that I was in business did absolutely nothing for me. Let’s face it, print media is dead. If I need to market my business, I need to be online. But how do you connect to a local customer base on the internet?

When I started on social media, I used to post all over the place. But I did not get much response. Looking back, it might have been a blessing in disguise. 

Let’s face it, print media is dead.

The Lesson:

What we are offering is a very personal experience. I don’t want people randomly walking in here. We’re also tucked away on the second floor; I had two people come in yesterday, and for me that’s huge.

At first, I didn’t like a community bulletin board published online because I thought it felt like high school chat. But I began to pick up business from there, with one person commenting how they came in and found we were able to help her daughter.

Among the social media sites, I find Instagram and Facebook work great. Twitter does not really work for my needs because the demographic is too young. While I love children, I don’t want a bunch of kids in here touching things.

Of course, there’s also my website. Yes, it is crapola, but it is all that I could manage because I wasn’t going to pay $9,000 to a web designer. I did the site myself, not knowing anything about building sites. My big problem with the site is that it’s not interactive and I am a very interactive person. I don’t have a search function for the products that I offer and I only have 20 percent of my products on the site.

A big selling point about the website, however, is my page for Dr. Elan Singer, who is our in-house doctor. He comes here two to three times a month, and he’s a fantastic surgeon. It doesn’t hurt that people think he’s good looking – that’s why I stuck his face on the website. You would be surprised how many people don’t even read his bio – he is on the faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and is a commissioned officer in the Navy Reserve Medical Corps – but people come in because they saw his face on the website!

Melissa Caruso Calafell is on Twitter at @MelissaCarusoRN

Photo courtesy Melissa Caruso Calafell.

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