The Next Chapter

Written by: Brady Drake

Catching up with Melissa Rogne after a year of rapid expansion

In late 2021, we spoke with Melissa Rogne about Rejuv being acquired by TAG The Aspen Group. Since that acquisition, Melissa has been tasked with leading the company now known as Chapter Aesthetic Studio in a rapid and farreaching expansion from 2 locations in 2022 to 13 in 2022. We sat down with the Founder and President to talk about the big things she has going on.

Have you had to travel much with the expansion?

Yes! All the time. In fact, when I go through Fargo security in the airport, they know my name! The coffee place basically has my order waiting for me when I go to them.

Where have you all been?

We opened two studios in Buffalo, NY. We have one studio in New Hartford, NY which is by the Syracuse, NY area. We opened our fourth New York location in Rochester, NY. So I’ve been spending quite a bit of time out there in New York.

I’ve also been in the Minneapolis area quite a bit. We now have a studio in Rochester, MN. We have a studio in Eagan, MN. We have a studio in St. Cloud and Eden Prairie, MN in just a few weeks here and Coon Rapids, MN. We also have an Iowa chapter that officially opened in Sioux City, IA and one in Des Moines, IA and I have three more Iowa locations coming in the next couple of months here.

Have you had to apply any unique tactics in any of the areas in terms of marketing?

Every community is so different. There’s not a cookie cutter approach. What worked in Fargo from a marketing perspective is not the same tactic that’s working in New Hartford, NY for example. Our talent acquisition and recruiting tactics are also different in every single community that we go into, which I love. I love getting into these communities and figuring out what makes them special. I love figuring out how those areas gain trust in their providers. I love figuring out how can we make an impact in the local community. Of course, the first thing we do in a new community is join the local chamber of commerce. We really want to become a fixture in the community and not just another studio that’s popping up. We don’t want anyone to look at us as a national brand.

How has this whole experience been different than what you expected going into it?

I don’t know that I knew a lot of what to expect when I started this adventure. I was really just wondering what the teams are going to be like and what the guests were going to be like. I think that’s probably been the most fun thing for me is to see that people are the same in what they want for services. They’re genuinely grateful for the services. I have been able to replicate the culture that we have here in Fargo and that was a really the big question mark. Everyone was wondering if we were going to be able to replicate what we created in Fargo because it’s the people that make it so special. And I’ve been able to find these incredible people in all these different pockets. I think that was something I didn’t know. I didn’t know if I’d be able to do that. I wish I was in every single studio. Last week was really special—we had our first gathering of all the studios. Everybody came together in Chicago. It was just such a fun moment to see how similar everybody was and their dedication to the brand, their dedication to aesthetics and making a difference.

What are some of the tactics you’ve used to replicate that culture?

It really starts with Fargo which has been the heart and soul of Chapter. Just last year, I actually opened Chapter University just across the street from our Chapter studio in Fargo. It is a 6,000-square-foot training center. All of our studios across the country fly into Fargo. We’ve hired over 100 people now and they all come to Fargo to Chapter University, which is staffed by people who grew up in Chapter’s Fargo studio. So, that culture is really ingrained from day one. It’s not an accident. It’s very intentional that we immerse them from day one. I kick off every new training and we start a new class every four weeks. It starts off with me talking about culture, values, behavior, purpose and then it continues to their training. We have a really robust training from an industry perspective. It is really unique. We train our providers for 12 weeks before they’re able to go live in a studio and they’re in Fargo for about eight of those weeks. It’s a big commitment from them and it’s a big commitment and expense from the company, but we strongly believe that we need to have them ready with the technical skill and the cultural elements of who we are and why we do it.

That’s every single employee that works in a studio or is hired for field support—they all come into Fargo. The time that they are here varies by position but even our guest services who are at the front desk get flown in for four weeks with us.

Why is that so important in the industry?

I love the industry. I’ve been in it for 22 years, however, there is absolutely a deficit in quality training in this industry. So when you sometimes hear about aesthetic outcomes that are undesirable, it is usually the result of a lack of good training. We have hired a Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ben Wood. He’s a plastic surgeon based out of Raleigh, NC and he has really created this robust clinical track with certifications and ongoing testing to make sure that those providers are walking out not only understanding we are from a cultural perspective, but have a skill set where we can be confident that we can deliver safe, effective treatments across the platform. It’s really different in the industry and I’ve had a few people who don’t work at Chapter say, “How do we get into Chapter University?” I think that’s pretty cool. You have to be a part of Chapter though to go through the university.

When you are opening these new clinics, how much time are you spending there?

I had the opportunity to really rely on our new studio opening team to get in there, and get the studios set up. But, in the first couple, I had my sleeves rolled up. I was running around with box cutters. I was setting everything up. Now, we’re opening our ninth studio of the year and our team has got it down to a science. So, I get to come in that week of opening and really inspire and motivate the team. I’m there for the open house and I’m here for the events. But I have to tell you, I give all the credit to this amazing new studio opening team that literally just has it down to a science. After everything shows up, they have that studio setup within three days. They have completely put together that studio. They’re simply phenomenal.

And that’s the same team that does it at each new location?

Yes, they’re kind of a rockstar team.

I try to go back and visit the new locations at 30 days and check in with them and see how they’re doing and make sure that they’re getting their questions answered. We do a lot of coaching and shadowing. We make sure that they are taking their coats when they come in, that they are offering them a beverage when they come in. I’m kind of a nut about it, but I think it’s worth it. The experience really matters.

What else have you learned during this process?

It’s about your team. Big surprise, you can’t do this by yourself. It’s really important to build that team that complements your strengths. I know the medical aesthetics industry in, out, up, down, all the way around. I’ve been doing this for 22 years. I didn’t know a lot about scaling a business, the construction process, but I’ve been able to really partner with these experts in their domains and that’s been the one thing that I’ve loved the most. But I’ve also just really learned what it takes with these projects. That starts with finding the right real estate and the real estate negotiations and the lease negotiations. I really work with my legal team and my real estate team. There’s a lot of work that goes in before we even get to sign the lease. And then from there, the construction process kicks off. And then you have your marketing workstream, analyzing the market and running the analytics. It has just been incredible for me to see all of these functions: legal, real estate, construction, marketing, operations and finance, working in tandem towards that common vision. It’s really remarkable to me how you can scale. I know so many people asked me and said there’s no way you’re going to be able to do that quickly. “You’re going open 10 Studios in a year? Good luck.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard that. I believed that we could do it. Now, I’ve learned how we do it—it’s because we have incredible cross-functional teams that work together.

So, you’ve opened 10 in 2022, how many are you planning to open in 2023?

We came into 2022 with two studios and we will leave 2022 with, I think, 12 studios. So, we hit our goal of opening 10. This next year, we already have 10 signed leases so there will be a minimum of 10 in 2023. We already have, I think, four signed leases for 2024 delivery. The hope is that going forward, we open more locations every year than the previous year. In terms of the ultimate goal, for me, as long as we’re maintaining the quality and our guest satisfaction, which is 4.95 out of 5 right now, I want to scale as fast as I can while maintaining that.
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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.