Spring 2020

Cigar Review

Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto Dominican Republic               5.0” x 50                 Medium                95-Rated I’ll start with this: I do not agree with Cigar Aficionado’s 91-point rating. As you can see above, I score it much higher. […]

Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto
Dominican Republic               5.0” x 50                 Medium                95-Rated

I’ll start with this: I do not agree with Cigar Aficionado’s 91-point rating. As you can see above, I score it much higher. The dark, Ecuador wrapper is thick and chewy, offering a lovely spicy-sweetness to the leathery, oaky undertones produces by the Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos within. I find the cigar medium in strength but quite full-flavored, with a complexity that changes throughout the slow burn. Each Gatekeeper Robusto opens and ends with a blast of red pepper, bookending a smooth, balanced profile.

cigar-Ave-Maria-Lionheart-Chancellor

Ave Maria Lionheart Chancellor
Nicaragua                      5.9” x 60                      Full             94-Rated

I love the smooth, elegant profile Ave Maria delivers. I also love the bold, eventful flavors AJ Fernandez can create. Lionheart skillfully combines these two profiles inside a 60-ring Gordo that burns slow and true. I get a wealth of flavor, including coffee bean, sweet cedar, white pepper and black tobacco. At several times throughout the 60+ minute burn-time, I pick up some stone fruit nuances. All the while, the finish is long and zesty, with thick, aromatic smoke that adds to the experience.

Nica Libre x AGANORSA Robusto
Nicaragua             5.0” x 50               Mellow-Full                 94-Rated

This Nicaraguan puro puts Nicaraguan tobaccos on full display. The milk chocolate brown wrapper is smooth and oily, while the dark tobaccos beneath offer a pre-light aroma that’s both barnyard and pepper. Each Robusto I burn coats my taste buds with bitter cocoa and roasted coffee. The subtle yet long aftertaste dusts my palate with spicy notes and more cocoa. The velvety mouthfeel is enjoyable, to say the least, adding a layer of complexity that sets this cigar apart from other puros.

Padilla Single Batch: Barrel Proof Toro
Nicaragua                    6.0” x 54                       Medium-Full                         93-Rated

I’ve had a lot of Padilla cigars during my illustrious tenure as an avid cigar enthusiast, but few have burned quite like the Barrel Proof blend. The flavor profile is unique. A hearty core of flavors that are both smokey and sweet, with an oakiness that clings to the palate. The San Andres wrapper lends a dense earthiness, while the Ometepe long-fillers create a soothing strength that’s felt behind the eyes. This cigar is incredibly unique and ultimately satisfying.

Rocky Patel The Edge Barrel-Aged Toro
Honduras                     6.0” x 52                           Medium-Full                      95-Rated

Don’t judge me for rating two cigars with barrel in the name. As a beer lover, I’m sold on anything ‘barrel.’ I’m also sold on this new Edge variety. Full-bodied and full-flavored, much of the tobacco used to craft this Habano-wrapped Honduran have been aged in bourbon barrels. The result is an elegant display of powerful flavors, including sweet oak, charred oak, leather and earth. The finish is a peppery sweetness, almost like caramel. There’s a lot going on, but it’s balanced, and I enjoy it immensely.

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2020-spring-hair-loss

Knowledge is Power when suffering from Hair Loss

Non-surgical Hair Replacement for Men and Women has become increasingly more popular among all age groups due to its ease of care and the undetectable appearance. Did you know approximately 35 million men and about 20 million women suffer from hair loss? Many people have a false idea of the costs associated with hair replacement […]

Non-surgical Hair Replacement for Men and Women has become increasingly more popular among all age groups due to its ease of care and the undetectable appearance. Did you know approximately 35 million men and about 20 million women suffer from hair loss? Many people have a false idea of the costs associated with hair replacement services, and therefore, never take the time to speak with a specialist. There are many options available today to restore your hair within almost any budget. A client can produce a photo of a haircut or style and take a natural-looking hair system that perfectly integrates into your existing hair to create that look you want. Richard Kroll Total Image Salon has been delivering that creation to Men and Women for over 40+ years in the Lehigh Valley. The full-service salon offers two entrances for both ease and privacy. The salon offers a full range of solutions for everyone depending on the needs and circumstances at hand. Items available, but not limited to, are 100% Human and Synthetic Cranial Prosthesis, full wigs and human hair systems, Women’s Toppers, as well as a line of exclusive hair extensions designed to produce healthy hair growth.  All hair replacement customers are serviced in a private back room where they can be out of the public eye.

How do you know if you are a candidate for hair replacement? Typically, when you start to notice the regression of hair loss in specific areas or all over, this will raise concern for anyone. The most important thing to do is schedule a private consultation with someone who truly has the background and knowledge to deal with hair loss. This type of consultation will cover a wide range of topics from your current lifestyle, that may be attributing to the loss, or even taking a more in-depth look into your medical history. Once the root of the problem is revealed, you can then have an idea of what can be done to slow down the hair loss or to create a new look utilizing several forms of hair replacement options. Richard Kroll Total Image can custom create a look to ensure everything is undetectable and that you can still live an active lifestyle with virtually zero restrictions while living your life with more confidence. The salon specializes in all types of causes of hair loss ranging from chemotherapy & radiation patients, trichotillomania, lupus, gastric bypass surgery patients, hormonal changes, thyroid conditions, stress, burns, accident, head trauma victims and natural thinning. In most instances, depending on the cause of your hair loss, medical insurance may cover a portion of the costs associated with hair replacement.

Richard Kroll Total Image also deals with pre- and post-chemotherapy patients. When someone calls and needs information on purchasing a wig, they are given a private consultation where their concerns can be addressed and allows us to find the right fit for them. We customize that medical wig to be as close to their hairstyle and color as they are accustomed. The salon strives and takes great pride in knowing they can get a wig to be almost an exact replica of the client’s hair prior to any radiation or chemotherapy treatments. The wigs are designed solely for the comfort and sensitivities of the scalp while giving a secure fit and maintaining a completely natural look.

Another form of hair rejuvenation the salon offers is Low-Level Laser Light Therapy, or “cool laser”, that effectively stimulates the scalp area and causes an increase in blood flow called photo-biostimulation. There is an increase in blood circulation by 54% after only one treatment. This form of hair rejuvenation has been cleared and approved by the FDA.

So, if you find yourself or someone you know in the situation of hair loss or thinning, take the first steps to schedule a consultation at Richard Kroll Total Image Salon and educate yourself on different options available to you.

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2020-spring-7-star-hotel

The World’s First 7 Star Hotel

Located on a man-made island off the coast of Dubai, the Burj Al Arab is considered to be the first 7 Star resort in the world.  Operated by the Jumeirah hotel chain, this stunning hotel stands at 1,053 feet tall, which makes it the fourth tallest hotel in the world. The iconic shaped hotel, which […]

Located on a man-made island off the coast of Dubai, the Burj Al Arab is considered to be the first 7 Star resort in the world.  Operated by the Jumeirah hotel chain, this stunning hotel stands at 1,053 feet tall, which makes it the fourth tallest hotel in the world.

The iconic shaped hotel, which dominates the Dubai skyline and appears like a sail, cost over 1 billion dollars to erect.  Built-in 1999, the Burj Al Arab has won numerous awards as the most luxurious hotel in the world.   Tom Wright of WKK Architects designed this hotel.  It has been compared to legendary structures like the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, or London’s Big Ben.   Tom Wright used images of the Arabian sailboats, known as Dhows, as his inspiration.

This all-suite hotel is full of luxurious extravagances such as a Rolls-Royce chauffeur, the 14-piece set of Hermès toiletries in every bathroom, 13-selection pillow menus, several personal butlers for each suite, and 24 karat gold everything.

Each of the 202 suites contains two-floors with marble staircases and a mini office that has either a MacBook or a gold-plated iPad.   There are TVs that rise from mahogany desks, and electronic remotes control the blinds, doors, music and allow you to message your butler at any time of the day.  The Burj boasts a 6:1 staff to guest ratio.   Notable celebrities that have frequented the Burj include Tom Cruise, David Beckham, Giorgio Armani, John Travolta, and the Kardashian’s.

The Burg Al Arab has nine restaurants and bars with three Michelin class chefs.   This beachfront hotel also operates an exotic aquarium and a team of marine biologists.  Their Al Mahara’s restaurant features the stunning floor to ceiling aquarium and creates a unique dining atmosphere.

This hotel has a glamorous spa as well as 4 swimming pools, 2 of which are indoor.

The opulence of this hotel begins at the driveway that leads to the private island.  Getting into the Burj requires a hotel reservation or a dining reservation, and security is tight.  Guests dining can only arrive 30 minutes prior to their reservation, and they must leave following their meal.

One of the highlights of this hotel is the high tea on the 27th floor at the Skyview Bar.  Here you can see the entire Dubai coastline from the floor to ceiling windows.

The 7-star experience comes with a $2000 per night price tag for their entry priced suite, and the Royal Suite will set you back $24,000 per night.

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2020-spring-high-tech-company

Are You a High-Tech Company?

Let’s face it; being high-tech is in. Everyone wants to be a “high-tech” company. Why? It’s good for business! A high-tech company is relevant, on the cutting edge of growth, a place where smart people want to work, and a destination for consumers. But being high-tech is more than merely hoarding an assortment of technological […]

Let’s face it; being high-tech is in. Everyone wants to be a “high-tech” company. Why? It’s good for business! A high-tech company is relevant, on the cutting edge of growth, a place where smart people want to work, and a destination for consumers.

But being high-tech is more than merely hoarding an assortment of technological devices. It is understanding how to leverage technology in a way that both improves workplace efficiency and enhances the consumer experience.  For many businesses, becoming high-tech requires more than upgrading servers or implementing a new CRM, it requires a cultural transformation.

In many ways, developing a technology-centric culture is about embracing change. What is change? It is about seeking and implementing strategies that increase productivity and enhance quality. Transforming organizational culture isn’t easy. Many leaders want to live by the age-old adage “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” But from a technological perspective, the adage is a recipe for disaster. The world of technology is rapidly changing. And to be successful in the midst of this technological revolution, successful business leaders must create work environments that embrace and celebrate change.

“We embrace change.” Say it. It’s not difficult. It’s not difficult because “saying” something is easy. Culture can’t be faked. Asking your colleagues to “embrace change” is not enough. It starts at the top. Today, more than ever – business leaders need to walk the walk or be left behind. That means dedicating at least a modicum of time to considering how different technological tools can benefit your business. It means providing your team with both training and time to practice. And it means creating an environment where colleagues feel challenged to evolve and rewarded for their effort.

As technology improves, competition for market share will become even more fierce. Successful businesses are beginning to integrate traditional business strategies with big data and complex algorithms. And the most successful business leaders are constantly asking themselves, “what’s next?” But determining “what’s next” requires business leaders to get up, look around, and ask some questions. When business leaders begin to inquire, when they begin to embrace change, when they lead by example- then, and only then can they consider themselves a technology-centric company.

So, are you a high-tech company?

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2020-spring-work-life

Virtual Work Life In a New Time.

If you walk into your office each week and clock in to get paid, then working remotely probably hasn’t crossed your mind. Other than, you wish you were able to work from home some days? Many companies think about this option as something in their future, or we are not that “type of company.” Sadly, […]

If you walk into your office each week and clock in to get paid, then working remotely probably hasn’t crossed your mind. Other than, you wish you were able to work from home some days? Many companies think about this option as something in their future, or we are not that “type of company.” Sadly, that is where you are wrong! No matter what your industry is, remote access has come to the table this Spring. Thank you, Coronavirus! Thousands of employees around the world have been affected by COVID-19. It has highlighted the importance of these working capabilities.

Regardless of the situation, why would you limit yourself and your company to four walls? When the sky is the limit, your head should be in the clouds! That is the “cloud.” No matter what you need, a phone system, a virtual office space, cloud storage, it is available and at your fingertips today. Now more than ever, we can see how this is a vital resource to have in place regardless of what kind of business yours is. Companies who have never thought they needed a virtual office environment have been placed in a position that they never thought they would. The COVID-19 Pandemic has swept across the globe and put our country and others in quarantine. Using the Vox Tandem 3CX Unified Communications phone systems allows your employees to remain connected and available remotely, no matter where they are. In times like these, key features like the Mobile App and Free Video conferencing are just some of the ways that your company can maintain productivity while facing this type of crisis.

In light of the Coronavirus, this has placed many in a situation that they have never encountered before. If you are one of the businesses that are lacking virtual capabilities, then you are scrambling to continue with productivity. Let’s use this as an opportunity to reevaluate your business needs and how it communicates.

Imagine this; you have a deadline next week for a monumental deal. You were scheduled to meet with your clients to pitch them on your product. Now you cannot get together because we are quarantined. Without the virtual capabilities, this deal would be postponed and potentially lost to someone who was able to move ahead. Since you have access to virtual features, you are going to seal the deal. All staff planning meetings can be held in virtual conferences to collaborate and put together your pitch. During this meeting, you will have access to whiteboards, PDFs, and polls, and more. It will be just like sitting in your office except, maybe you have on comfier pants. At the end of the day, you can move forward with your deal and not lose it to your competitor.

Another way that virtual options are a blessing is in a school atmosphere. In the future, snow days could become a thing of the past. An educational environment taken virtually can provide children and learning adults the ability to continue their education without interruption. The virus has shut down schools across our country. Because of these virtual options, children can log in to their schools and access their curriculum and teachers. Live classrooms can be attended from anywhere. Thanks to remote access, when things like weather and pandemics cross our path, we no longer have to worry about schools closing and making up lost days through most of our summer. Instead, stay connected now and enjoy your summer.

Don’t lose a client because you could not be in your office, and don’t let your kids’ summers waste away. Working remotely is no longer the future, but the new norm. The demands for web meeting platforms have increased by 300%. As a Platinum Partner for 3CX Unified Communications business phone systems, Vox Tandem has a plan to fit all business sizes and needs. At a time when your company needs to adapt rapidly, our priority at Vox Tandem is your company’s telecommunications. We are always working to stay ahead of the curve and ensure you and your company remain connected. Use this event to reevaluate your business communication needs. We welcome the opportunity to help answer any questions related to our remote working capabilities from video web conferences, to the mobile app solutions. Helping you to Stay in business while keeping your employees safe is our number one concern! Let’s partner together in our new future.

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2020-spring-divorce

Estates/Divorce and Real Estate Simple Three Step Plan

The process of inheriting an estate can be very overwhelming, as can liquidating real estate during a divorce.  However, with the right team in place and the right plan, there is no need to panic.  There is a tax-efficient way to dispose of real estate and still have that monthly income that all landlords love. […]

The process of inheriting an estate can be very overwhelming, as can liquidating real estate during a divorce.  However, with the right team in place and the right plan, there is no need to panic.  There is a tax-efficient way to dispose of real estate and still have that monthly income that all landlords love.

  1. Choosing the right team  Choosing the right team to work with is probably your most important decision when dealing with liquidating real estate acquired through an estate or divorce.  The death of your loved one or the end of your marriage is stressful enough.  The last thing you want to do is manage the group of professionals needed to accomplish this task efficiently.  Look for a team that has a proven track record of taking this process from beginning to end with the least amount of stress and effort as possible from you as the seller.  Ideally, you will find a team that includes the following:  real estate professional (a residential agent if it is simply a home you are selling or a commercial agent should you be dealing with a portfolio and/or any commercial properties), abstract company, attorney, and a financial advisor.  Once you have your trusted team in place, let them manage this project for you.
  2. Hold/Sell/1031  When you inherit real estate (or in the case of divorce, become sole owner of the asset), you will need to decide whether to hold it or sell the property/portfolio.  In many cases, it may benefit you to hold the real estate as an investment piece.  Should you decide this, you may want to consider hiring a property or maintenance manager to help alleviate the daily stress of being a landlord.  Your team will be able to help you choose the right fit for this.  Should you decide to sell, you then have another decision to make:  whether to 1031 into another product or cash out and pay your capital gains tax.  There is a tax-efficient way to dispose of real estate, which takes us to the next point.
  3. Invest the proceeds
    1. Being a Landlord Now you have an extra monthly income.  You can open a bank account, start to plan for retirement, go on vacations, or purchase items you previously didn’t have the income to do so.  There are many ways to invest your newly found income as well. This is a conversation to have with your financial advisor.
    2. Cash-out If you sell and cash out, you should consider choosing an investment advisor who has experience setting up a tax advantage investment plan.
    3. 1031 into real propertyMany advisors recommend doing a 1031 exchange in order to defer taxes.  A 1031 exchange gets its name from Section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, which allows you to defer capital gains taxes when you sell an investment property and reinvest the proceeds from the sale within certain time limits in a property or properties of like kind and equal or greater value.
    4. DSTA DST can be identified as one of your properties to invest in with a 1031 exchange.  The benefits of the DST include: tax-efficient passive income, tax-deferred capital gains, and a step up in cost basis to the next generation.  The DST is a great way to provide the benefits of owning real estate without the responsibilities of property management and other daily landlord tasks. At the same time, your heirs will inherit an investment portfolio that is headache-free, provides a monthly income, and substantially reduced tax liability.

There are some great benefits to being a landlord, such as Income, Tax deductions, Long-term security, and Flexibility of managing an investment. However, you may find that being a landlord just doesn’t fit your lifestyle.  This is where the ability to utilize the 1031 exchange into a DST may really benefit you and your financial portfolio.  As stated above, this is a passive way to own real estate.  It’s tax-efficient, and there is a step up in income for the next generation. Allow your team to make this process as stress-free as possible.

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2020-spring-real-estate-market

Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® Release 2019 Annual Market Report

As the premier source of real estate information in the Lehigh Valley and its surrounding communities, the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) is pleased to provide an in-depth report on the 2019 local housing market. The information that follows is an overall look at the 2019 housing market, in addition to predictions for 2020. 2019: […]

As the premier source of real estate information in the Lehigh Valley and its surrounding communities, the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) is pleased to provide an in-depth report on the 2019 local housing market.

The information that follows is an overall look at the 2019 housing market, in addition to predictions for 2020.

2019: The Year of Strong Economy, Low Unemployment Rates, Still No Inventory

The 2019 housing market was fueled by the overall strength of the economy across most of the country. The stock markets reached new highs throughout the year, improving the asset bases of millions of Americans. Unemployment rates fell to 50-year lows, while wages increased, creating new home buyers. Mortgage rates also declined significantly from 2018, helping to offset affordability stresses caused by the continued price appreciation.

With a strong economy and low mortgage rates, buyer activity has been strong. However, most markets, including the Lehigh Valley, are being constrained by inventory levels that are still below historic norms. With supply and demand continuing to favor sellers, prices continue to rise. Locally, July saw a record-setting Median Sales Price of $222,000.

Another record broken for the Lehigh Valley was the Month’s Supply of Inventory. In December, the Month’s Supply of Inventory for Lehigh and Northampton counties came in at just 1.8 months, the lowest Months’ Supply of Inventory since GLVR began tracking statistical housing data in 1996 (Note: This record was broken in January, with the first month of 2020 tracking a Month’s Supply of Inventory of 1.6 months). In a housing market balanced between buyers and sellers, the Month’s Supply of Inventory is between six and seven months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. This means that at December’s or January’s sales pace, it would take 1.8 or 1.6 months, respectively, to sell all the homes on the market in the Lehigh Valley.

Digging Deeper into 2019 and the Numbers

(Lehigh and Northampton counties)

SALES: Pending sales increased 2.7 percent, finishing 2019 at 8,678. Closed sales were up 1.7 percent to end the year at 8,587.

LISTINGS: Comparing 2019 to the prior year, the number of homes available for sale was lower by 25.4 percent. There were 1,284 active listings at the end of 2019. New listings decreased by 5.2 percent to finish the year at 10,904.

INVENTORY: Inventory levels shrank 25.4 percent to finish the year at 1,284 units. This led to a Month’s Supply of Inventory that was down 25.0 percent to 1.8 months. In a housing market balanced between buyers and sellers, the Month’s Supply of Inventory is between six and seven months.

PRICES: Home prices were up compared to last year. The overall median sales price increased 3.3 percent to $206,000 for the year. Single Family home prices were up 2.4 percent compared to last year, and townhouse-condo home prices were up 4.1 percent.

What to Expect in 2020

The housing market continues to remain healthy, with price gains and limited inventory being the most common threads across markets. Tight inventory continues to constrain buyer activity. New construction activity continues to improve but is still below levels required to supply the market’s needs fully.

As we look at 2020, we see continued low mortgage rates and a healthy economy giving a great start to housing in the new year. But in election years, we sometimes see a softening of activity that may temper the market in the second half of the year.

Full Annual Report

Curious to know what else the Annual Report contains? Contact a Realtor® today for more information or for a complete market analysis. You can find a Realtor® at www.GLVR.org.

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2020-spring-commercial-lease

Commercial Leases: The Devil Is in the Detail

Whether you are renting a few hundred or several hundred thousand square feet of commercial space, you should be sure to take a close look at all of the terms of your commercial lease before “signing on the dotted line   In my practice as a corporate attorney, a number of leases have come across […]

Whether you are renting a few hundred or several hundred thousand square feet of commercial space, you should be sure to take a close look at all of the terms of your commercial lease before “signing on the dotted line   In my practice as a corporate attorney, a number of leases have come across my desk where the landlord has simply changed the name of the tenant, rather than carefully draft a new lease with the new tenant’s specific business and use in mind.  Below, I’ve set out just a few of the standard lease terms that can often cause issues for a commercial tenant during its lease term.

1.  Description of the Leased Premises

It’s not uncommon for a lease to include a vague or generic description of the premises.  However, as the tenant, you will want to ensure that the space described in the lease accurately reflects what you thought you were getting and what you will need to operate your business.  Are you renting an entire building, a floor, or a retail kiosk in a shopping mall?  Should the leased premises include additional storage, parking spaces, access to the premises?  None of these items should be presumed to be included and should be specifically provided in the lease terms.

2.  Use

Your lease should provide how you are permitted to use the leased premises.  As the tenant, you will want this provision to be as broad as possible, in order to incorporate all potential uses ancillary to your intended business, and even those you may not necessarily foresee.  For example, if you are operating a hair salon, you may want to include makeup and waxing services and the sale of hair and beauty products as permitted uses.  Additionally, if possible, the use provision should include any “lawful use” in order to permit the expansion of your business.  You will also want to carefully review any exclusive uses of the other tenants, if any, and prohibited uses, to ensure there is no overlap with your business.     

3.  Rent and Additional Rent

Generally, the tenant will be responsible for “base rent” or “minimum rent” and “additional rent” or “CAM” (Common Area Maintenance).  Knowing what is included in each is imperative to budgeting for and managing your business’s overhead.  Base/Minimum Rent constitutes the monthly rental charge for the leased premises, most often set out on square foot per year basis.  Depending on the length of a lease, it is not uncommon for it to include periodic increases in Base Rent during the lease term based on a percentage of the then-current Base Rent or the Consumer Price Index.  Base Rent or Minimum Rent is so named due to the fact that it does not include the tenant’s share of other non-fixed, fluctuating costs due under the lease, or the “additional rent” or “CAM.”

Some of the fluctuating costs included in Additional Rent/CAM are common area maintenance, operating costs, utilities, real estate taxes, and insurance premiums, HVAC costs, and other administrative fees relative to the entire building, complex, or shopping center.  The amount of additional rent attributed to each tenant is generally based on such tenant’s “proportionate share” of the total net rentable square footage.  A careful analysis of the costs included in the Additional Rent/CAM is recommended to avoid any surprises.

4.  Termination

One of the most contested commercial lease provisions is the termination provision.  Obviously, as the tenant, you want the ability to terminate the lease early; however, most commercial leases do not include a voluntary termination option for the tenant.  If your lease does not include a voluntary termination provision, you will want to make sure that the lease does include the ability to assign the lease or to sublet the premises.  Whether your lease includes the ability to terminate the lease early, assign the lease or sublet the premises, you will want to thoroughly review the terms of the applicable provision to see how you would go about exercising such option.  Do you need to obtain landlord consent, and, if so, how do you go about requesting such consent?  Are there requirements that a replacement tenant must meet?  And, most importantly, what is your liability under the lease following a termination, assignment, or sublease?

*.” As with any legal contract, it is advisable to have your commercial lease reviewed by legal counsel.

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Can You Avoid Being “Botched”?

The medical aesthetic industry is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after career choices for medical professionals. Due to the rapid growth, new cosmetic injectors are popping up on every corner. Understandably, it can be difficult to know which aesthetic professional to choose. Here are 5 tips to help you avoid being “botched.” Tip […]

The medical aesthetic industry is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after career choices for medical professionals. Due to the rapid growth, new cosmetic injectors are popping up on every corner. Understandably, it can be difficult to know which aesthetic professional to choose. Here are 5 tips to help you avoid being “botched.”

Tip #1: Do NOT price shop! Cosmetic injectables are a luxury, not a necessity.

I am the first person to use a coupon or search for the best deal in town…on toilet paper! Price shopping for aesthetic procedures can leave you with undesirable results and high out of pocket expenses to fix “botched” work. As the aesthetic field becomes more mainstream, there has been an increase in the number of treatments performed without the proper training, qualifications, or through the use of counterfeit products. Beware of deals that are too good to be true, they probably are!

Tip #2: Research! Not the encyclopedia.

I love Instagram! IG, as the millennials refer to it, has been my main referral source since I began practicing 5 years ago. Instagram allows me to build an up to date, detailed portfolio highlighting pictures and videos of various procedures with thorough descriptions of my techniques and product choices. I find it helps the consumer research my work before even making the call to schedule a consultation. 90% of my business is generated through my portfolio on Instagram. Check it out @beauty_rn_jc

Don’t forget to compare, it may be helpful to look at a few different injectors work before making your final decision. Often, injectors will have their work on several social media outlets. So, carry out a quick search on Instagram and other social media sites to see what injector best suits your desired results.

Tip #3: Schedule a consultation.

After you have done some research, it’s time to schedule a consultation. A consultation is an excellent way of building a rapport with your injector. During the consultation, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Here are a few important questions to ask during the initial consultation.

  • “Can you explain the procedure and product you are using?”
  • “Can you explain the dosage or amount of product needed?”
  • “What can I expect to look like after treatment?”
  • If the injections are suspiciously affordable: “How are you able to offer such discounted prices?”
  • “What is your title and specialty?” i.e. Nurse, Doctor, Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist

Tip #4: Credentials & Continued Education

There is no doubt that education is one of the most critical ingredients for continued growth and success in any industry. In a world of ever-changing trends and technology, every qualified professional must ensure they are at the cutting edge, simply to ensure survival.

In addition to obtaining a medical license, continuing education is equally as important. Due to the current lackadaisical regulations in the medical aesthetic industry, obtaining continuing education certificates can be quite difficult, expensive, and often overlooked. I have traveled to Norway, Florida, California, NYC, DC, and Maryland to learn from some of the best nurse injectors, dermatologists, and facial plastic surgeons in the world. Ask your injector what kind of training they have had. It could make all the difference in the outcome of your treatment.

Tip #5: Feel 100% confident in your decision!

I’m big on vibes! If you do not get a good vibe from the initial consultation, walk away! Do not allow anyone to treat you if you are not 100% confident in their skill as a medical aesthetic provider. If your provider cannot answer some of key questions during your consultation and educate you about what and why a product is being used, don’t do it. There are plenty of injectors out there, and it’s worth taking your time to find someone who is the right fit for your needs.

Ultimately, selecting any medical professional should be a personal and well-researched decision. Credentials, education, cost, and a strong portfolio are factors that should be considered when choosing a provider for cosmetic injections. As I always say, “An educated patient – is a happy patient.”

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2020-spring-managing-equipment

Managing The Equipment Needs While Designing And Building A Biopharmaceutical Facility

Pharmaceuticals have always been complex products commercialized after years of research and clinical trials.  Launching a new drug requires identifying the root cause of a health problem, determine a strategy to counteract that problem, and execute a research and development strategy.  And if a pharma company is lucky, the clinical trials show the drug is […]

Pharmaceuticals have always been complex products commercialized after years of research and clinical trials.  Launching a new drug requires identifying the root cause of a health problem, determine a strategy to counteract that problem, and execute a research and development strategy.  And if a pharma company is lucky, the clinical trials show the drug is safe and effective, and they can successfully scale it up to manufacturing scale and supply it reliably to the public.

That simplistic overview takes levels of development that all starts with infrastructure.  The modern pharmaceutical research and development space, production facility, or quality testing laboratory is built by incorporating planning, architectural and engineering design, construction management, and execution, and equipment installation and startup.

To successfully startup the equipment needed to facilitate cutting edge research into nad production of biopharmaceutical products at the end of construction, the equipment needs to be defined by the scientists who will use it before anyone ever breaks ground.  The architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing requirements all must be defined so the facility can be properly designed and engineered.  Understanding the overall needs early in the planning phase is critical to successful construction execution, and therefore critical to the eventual installation and startup of that equipment.

The process starts at concept.  A new facility is being built, or a current lab needs remodeling.  The researchers are excited about their new home but need direction to navigate budgetary constraints, help to pick the proper equipment and accessories for their needs, and someone to make sure this is translated to the proper quotes, purchases, and installation activities.  This is where a focused group can help complex projects stay on course.  The equipment management team helps translate the scientific needs of the final laboratory customer, the scientist, into the architectural and engineering requirements of the laboratory design team.   

For example, a researcher may need a microscope.  Seemingly simple enough, it takes up some level of physical space, needs to plug into a wall for a light source, aka have electrical requirements, and that’s pretty much it, right?  Some microscopes, however, are highly sophisticated and require more physical space, heating and cooling, and a computer control and data capture capabilities.  If the unit is used to generate data that may support a company’s FDA submission, there are data integrity and IT requirements that must be met; quickly, the simple gains complexity that all needs to be thoroughly planned for.

Once the equipment has been selected, and laboratory planning has been completed, i.e., there is a defined physical space and utilities on the plan for each piece, the team can help manage the installation aspects of the project.  During construction activities, there are sometimes questions of utility placement; how high should this gas line be, should it be on the right or left of the instrument, how long is the cord?  Ensuring there is an available resource who is knowledgeable about the equipment on hand is critical to this execution stage.

Procurement is up next, and the planning and management of lead times vs. early delivery needs or lack of on-site storage are all considered.  Some projects require early delivery of instrumentation that utilizes a computer in order for groups to validate the software and IT connectivity.  Other projects need to rely on just in time (JIT) delivery due to the lack of storage space on site and concerns over moving sensitive equipment around a construction area.

As installation activities progress, there is the need to manage the vendor access to the construction site and the paperwork they generate.  For a facility performing GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) work, this includes specific Commissioning, Qualification, and Validation (CQV) activities aimed at ensuring there is proof positive that the equipment has been installed properly and operates correctly. Only once this has been performed and approved by all parties can the equipment, and laboratory in general, be used to perform work.

By connecting all of the various stages of the development of a new laboratory, manufacturing, or quality testing facility, a firm can ensure they are handing off a fully operational project upon turnover.  Genesis AEC (Architects, Engineers, Constructors) has identified the need to manage the laboratory equipment needs of our clients proactively.  We have the technical staff on board to provide support throughout the project lifecycle, thereby guaranteeing project success.  Genesis is committed to delivering facilities for life-saving therapies.

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