Brandi Gregge, FNP-BC is a licensed nurse practitioner, the founder and medical director of Mint & Needle, a medical aesthetics practice based in Middletown, Delaware. She is also the founder of the EmpowerMINT™ Skincare medical-grade skincare line, which focuses on providing effective, medical-grade products to enhance skincare and self-care at-home. Brandi, who came from a resource-restricted environment, learned the importance of hustle and looking your best to feel your best and boost your confidence, early on. Her initial draw to medicine and becoming a nurse practitioner was closely related to unfortunate health-related issues that hit her family throughout her adolescence. Focusing on a career path in medicine helped her explore science, health, and business. Brandi’s passion for aesthetic medicine grew as she saw the impact aesthetic medicine has – not just on the outward appearance of patients, but also for the internal transformations as a result. This resulted in Brandi taking the leap into entrepreneurship, opening her medical aesthetics practice, Mint & Needle focused on natural results with a wellness mindset in Fall 2019.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Brandi to discuss her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
With the arrival of COVID-19 in Delaware in 2020, my business faced the unexpected: a shutdown. During that time we pivoted to focus on year two business plans to focus on online efforts including the rollout of Virtual Visits – our virtual consultation programs and also invested in boosting our eCommerce presence for the EmpowerMINT™ Skincare line for online product sales. As we prepared for re-opening, I dedicated a great deal of time and resources to implementing procedures to maintain the safety of my staff and patients including eliminating our waiting room, developing an online patient intake process, and increasing sanitization practices of our medical facility so we could safely reopen. I believe this has helped us maintain and grow the business, despite the pandemic.
As we look at the present, we are focused heavily on delivering value and education to our patients via social media and blog content that is both engaging and informative for our patients and target audience.
We are also actively connected to our patients – taking their feedback to heart with survey opportunities on service offerings as the business evolves. Additionally, I continue to dedicate time to networking with fellow business owners and engaging with our local community. Connection is a key asset to continued business growth.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
We primarily focus on Instagram and Facebook to increase the Mint & Needle brand’s awareness.
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
We have utilized paid advertising on channels including Google AdWords, Instagram, and Facebook. We have also engaged with media advertising via radio (iHeartRadio) for local sponsorship opportunities. Advertising has also helped us increase brand awareness as well as generate sales for products and services, as well!
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
For the brick and mortar side of the business, we have focused on building relationships with the business community in our local area. It started with our grand opening in October 2019, when we partnered with local businesses in our area for raffle prizes and giveaways for event participants. We keep those connections going virtually through social media. We also leverage social media and email marketing to connect with and keep up engagement with our audience. We take an education-first approach to aesthetics, and our customers really value that. Our brick and mortar location was also one of the first to offer our services in the area. We’ve also continued to focus on proven technologies, making investments our current and potential patients come to expect from us.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
We leverage digital marketing including social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
Recently, the toughest decision has been deciding if we expand during a pandemic in uncertain times. As our offerings increase, the physical space needs to as well. However, ensuring that space is providing a return on investment is difficult to calculate in unprecedented times.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
Something I’d do differently is that I would allot for a personal salary when taking out start-up business costs. I didn’t do that for myself initially and it has made me more reliant on working for revenue generation, with less time focusing on business expansion and growth.
What new business would you love to start?
I would love to start a consulting business to help other women start their own businesses from the ground up.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
I would have hired a virtual assistant earlier on to help with various startup tasks that are often tedious (and easily delegated) so I could focus my effort on larger tasks. I would have also put in place policies and more clearly defined procedures and expectations for staff from the beginning…. It is so much harder to change down the road.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
As a business owner, you are faced with major decisions daily that you can never prepare for or know how to handle. Gather information and make the best decision you can and if it doesn’t feel right or it keeps you up at night it’s probably not the right path. Our intuition is our best asset!
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Here are a few of the pieces of advice I’d give to a newbie entrepreneur who is just starting out.
You don’t need to start with everything figured out. Start with the basics and everything will grow from there.
Hire the right people and spend time looking for them. Your employees represent you and your brand. It only takes one person to ruin a small business.
Start small. I started with the basic services in my industry and a smaller space. I added on equipment, services, and additional space as I grew which has allowed my business to become profitable faster.
Set forth your policies and stick to them. It is difficult to go back and change the environment you create as you expand..
Don’t make decisions out of a place of desperation. The best way to avoid this is to make sure you have a six-month emergency fund set aside for the unexpected.
Have a solid business plan knowing your expected fixed and variable expenses and revenue sources. Try to build in a scalable asset for passive revenue stream so you are not always trading time for money.