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


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.

Do you have a good story you’d like to share, or know someone we should feature? Email

And be sure to sign up for your local newsletter from Crain's Connecticut.