When Covid-19 began, Tampa-based Ideal Image switched to a telehealth model within eight days. CEO David Prokupek saw the disruptive business become even more disruptive in the face of the pandemic. The direct-to-consumer aesthetic company reached even more customers with its treatments, laser hair removal, anti-aging services and more.
That growth also led to 1,310 new hires systemwide in 2021 and 117 new hires in Tampa year-to-date.
From New York, Prokupek spoke with the Tampa Bay Business Journal about growing the company and what’s ahead.
Ideal Image has some new C-level officers and new board members. What’s onboarding like at Ideal Image right now? It’s busy every day. We doubled the number of people at Ideal Image. We have about 2,500 people — onboarded 1,200 people this year. It’s been from salespeople and technology to medical pros across the board, building our board of directors as well. So it’s busy.
A new head of talent came out of the hospitality industry. We’re using a lot of outsourced help with the recruiting process. We’re having them come to Tampa. We’re all over the U.S., so we’re having them come here and coming up with creative ways of getting people connected. The hardest thing right now with Zoom culture is getting people together. It’s busy, but it’s fun.
We also redid our headquarters space. For the new environment, we cut the amount of space in half but did it in a new hoteling environment, modern, lots of individual spaces, collaborative spaces. We just did a cocktail reception to introduce the new people. People are liking it. People can have a regular place. It’s just much more relaxed spaces, private phone booths and fuzzy chairs. It’s the new world that we’re in.
Earlier this year, TPG acquired a minority stake in the company. What’s the latest on this relationship? Has TPG become involved in the day-to-day? They’re on our board. We’re fortunate to have two of the largest private equity firms for the consumer segment. When you’re in a fast-growing disruptive business, the board is active.
How is Ideal Image disruptive? When I came four years ago to Ideal Image, the category was a $20 billion category that not many people knew about. Doctors and med spas are super disruptive. We’ve created a direct-to-consumer business model, using digital strategies to acquire customers.
Aesthetics have been the purview of Park Avenue and Rodeo Drive, wealthy people. Our mission is to make it more affordable. Through price and affordability, and accessibility, you can come in if you are interested. We created a consumer-friendly approach to people looking and feeling good.
What happened during Covid? We continued to grow; we introduced a telehealth approach to aesthetics. We kept selling and did virtual consultations. People could talk to us all day long from anywhere in the country.
Like everybody in the short run, we were affected and had to close our clinics, but within a matter of eight days, we transitioned to the telehealth model. We were forced to change our business model, but we saw it coming, and Covid had us accelerate it.
Where will Ideal Image be six months from now? We’re growing our footprint and just entered California. We’ll be entering other markets in the next six months — California and Chicago are a big part of our expansion strategy.
We just announced a way for doctors and dermatologists to join the network. If you’re an affiliate ob/gyn and you want to do aesthetics, you can join our network; that’s providing growth. They’re tapping into our consumer flywheel and buying power.
We’ve just launched membership here recently, and it’s become really popular, so we’ll keep making it affordable. We just launched medical-grade skincare — prescription-grade. Skin health, wellness, stress, anxiety, sleep, menopause — everything that goes with how you look and feel.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort