In Conversation with Nicci Levy of Alchemy 43
Describe your business in a few words?
Alchemy 43 is a revolutionary aesthetics brand.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I saw a true white space in the category and wanted to make the experience of getting cosmetic injectables much better by providing people with a more accessible, causal, routine way of receiving these types of injectable treatments without sacrificing the clinical expertise.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I started my career working in cosmetics and skincare and then made the jump to medical aesthetics working for Allergan, the maker of Botox Cosmetic.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I think I always envisioned starting my own company but it solidified for me after college. especially after working with Allergan and familiarizing myself with this unique space of beauty. My mind instantly thought of ways in which I could change it for the better.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
We had little to no resources for marketing efforts so I had to get really creative. My approach was mainly grass roots such as visiting neighboring businesses, word of mouth referral programs via my network and just pounding the pavement to get the word out as it is for so many physical retail and service businesses.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
Early on, I received poor financial advice and because I assumed they were more knowledgeable and experienced, I didn’t ask questions or challenge it. Big mistake. My takeaway was that no one knows your business like you do and it is always beneficial to ask questions, no matter who is providing you with the information. If it’s your business, you need to be aware of the why behind everything. So don’t get intimidated or let anyone else do things you don’t fully understand. Your company = your right to question everything!
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Being able to survive this pandemic with 4 retail locations. I am eternally grateful to my incredible team, advisors and investors for believing in the future of Alchemy 43.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I really like to to hire people with an authentic interest in and passion for the brand and its vision. So I always ask what drew them to the company. I know a lot of people ask about what drew them to the role but not everyone asks about the company. Another hiring hack I’ve found to be effective is to tap your network. I have found some of my best hires via people I respect.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Being a service based, physical retail space we have definitely been impacted in terms of mandatory closures in 2020. However, because we’re medically based, we have found that many clients still feel safe coming to see us. We have been and continue to be extremely vigilant with PPE and physical distancing in our locations. The health and safety of our clients, staff and community is of the highest importance to us.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Expansion in all ways! More locations, more services, and a product line! The future is BRIGHT and we cannot wait to continue delivering world class results and happy, positive experiences!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Gosh, so many. Probably to take nothing for granted. Nothing is guaranteed, all we can do is adapt, learn and adjust and stay the course!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I’d say that I wish I knew that starting a company and running a company are two very different things and as a Founder, you should be prepared for both.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Through the incredible dedication of my colleagues at Alchemy 43, my executive coach, trusted friends and advisors and my loving family.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I do believe in finding balance. It helps me to be a better CEO. When I am stuck on something or find myself overreacting to things that really aren’t a huge deal, I take myself out for a walk. Get some fresh air, exercise and listen to an audio book. That really helps to reset me.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
That I’m originally from South Africa, and speak to my family with a South African accent. Weird, I know. 🙂
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
To Do Lists, breaking up the day to stretch my legs and a new one is leaving myself a few minutes between meetings to complete any post meeting follow up or add to my To Do list, organization is key!
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means authenticity. Every story is unique and every Entrepreneur has their own story. But more unites us than divides us and I think a true Entreprenista is clear in her vision, empowered by her commitment to it and honest about her needs and desires.