Lumiere Dental Spa & Lumi Aesthetics
The ultimate powerhouse business owner, we’ve been watching Neda Hovaizi build her empire over the years and are constantly impressed with what she’s creating. A woman who has multiple businesses based around making others feel good, a beautiful family, who still makes time to travel, AND ensures she’s always supporting her teams and community, we think you’ll find Neda as inspiring as we do, and might want to steal a few tips or tricks of hers to implement into your business or life.
First of all, tell us about your businesses and what they’re all about. I know you have a few, so tell us about everything!
Thank you so much for reaching out and for your interest in knowing more about me, my businesses and my overarching missions! Where to begin? Formally, I am trained as a dentist and over the last 13 years have self specialized in aesthetic dentistry and minimally invasive aesthetic medicine. My businesses follow that path, too. Lumiere Dental Spa was born when I was one year out of dental school and struggling to understand why every job or job interview I went to was more interested in how quickly I could prepare a crown or complete a filling, rather than who I was, what I stood for and my vision for how I wanted to treat my patients. I decided I wouldn’t try to fit myself into a practice, but rather create an environment for staff and patients that felt like coming home, like being a family – comfortable and safe, a place you come to with confidence and leave better than you came. A grand, sparkly vision for dentistry and a dental office, I know! But, I guess I’ve always been a believer in magic… miracles… or more literally, all things being possible if we expect them to be.
I grew up mostly in the South and went to both undergrad and dental school in Virginia. While I was in undergrad, I used to do freelance make-up for MAC and Bobby Brown on the weekends. I will preface this by saying that ever since I was 4 and had gone for my first dental cleaning, I had wanted to be a dentist and I spent high school summers assisting in my neighbor’s pediatric dental practice further falling in love with the profession. That passion for dentistry has never wavered, but once I started doing make-up I felt this unshakable joy that made it clear to me that beauty and aesthetics had to be a part of who I was going to become, too. Later during dental school, my class was given the opportunity to shadow a well known oral surgeon who specializes in aesthetic treatments. This opportunity came once a quarter, and If I told you I was at the top of the sign up list 4 times a year for the 4 years of dental school I would not be exaggerating! At one point, the surgeon who had now gotten to know me well, told me I no longer needed to sign up and that if there was an open spot the office would call me – AKA, please give the other students the opportunity to experience this too. I learned about lasers, botox, fillers, blepharoplasties, face and neck lifts, and a whole slew of other incredible treatments. Though I found it all really amazing, it also became very clear to me that I LOVE minimally invasive treatments, treatments where patients are awake and interacting with me, treatments that give me the opportunity to influence both the way a patient looks and the way they feel. With every patient I treat, my goal is to leave people happier and more one with themselves once they leave my treatment room. I guess that’s also what I love about dentistry. Having the ability with my hands to – in a short period of time – repair, restore, improve and in some cases transform a person physically, emotionally, and psychologically for the better. I stand strongly for the health and happiness of my patients. I believe to influence the way that people think about themselves and ultimately about the world around them is my gift. And I want none other than to live a life of service, igniting the fire of self love within the hearts and planting the belief of limitless capabilities in the souls of those I am blessed to encounter.
I guess that’s a long winded way of saying, I love making people feel more beautiful. And in 2013 when the state of Massachusetts allowed dentists to inject Botox and Fillers, I was yet again first in line to get the formal training needed to start being able to offer aesthetic injectable treatments to my dental patients. I absolutely loved it; it was so fun to be everyone’s “little secret” and my patients loved that their husbands thought they were spending money at the dentist and not knowing it was really for Botox and Fillers! It was when my dental patients started referring their friends who were perfectly happy with their own dentists, but just coming to me for Botox and Fillers, that I knew I had a decision to make. I could continue the way I was and see patients in the dental office for limited aesthetic treatments, or I could partner with my husband, a physician, and open a Medical Spa where we would be able to offer a whole array of minimally invasive, medical aesthetic treatments.
Now let me remind you, this was at a time when no one in Massachusetts openly talked about “injecting poisons into their faces.” And so much of my early success was due to the fact that I was a dentist and women could easily hide their new fountain of youth under the guise of a dental visit and dental bills. I was met with a lot of pushback from my friends, colleagues, and those who cared about me when my husband and I announced that we would be opening the very first Medspa in Quincy Massachusetts. There was a lot of, “Well, if you were in California it would be a no brainer, but no one in Quincy Massachusetts gets cosmetic treatments!” I already knew that wasn’t true. And I knew there was something about what I was offering and providing for patients that was not only inspiring confidence in my patients, but breathing another layer of life and purpose into me.
It wasn’t the sunshine and flowers I wish I could say it was. Let’s say I even had other dentists in the area calling me worried and cautioning me about me “compromising my license and profession.” Anyone who knows me knows I’m a perfectionist. It serves me well because of what I do for work (the ways it hasn’t served me is for a conversation for another day!) but that perfectionism applies to my personal life, professional life, and to my obsession with doing things by the book. Even still, we were met with so much friction that when we opened in 2014, we did so with my husband, the physician as the sole owner – so much friction that we opted to call ourselves “Lumiere Laser Center” and highlight our laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation treatments so as to not ruffle any feathers. WOW, that feels like so long ago!
Nowadays there are medspas all over Quincy and getting botox is revered as maintenance much like having your nails done and hair dyed. I can say it feels good to have paved the way for those who have followed so that now patients can be treated with the feeling of acceptance and without the feeling of guilt. We have come full circle with patients now posting and tagging about our practice and the treatments they love receiving at our renamed “Lumi Aesthetics” practice.
At Lumi Aesthetics our mission is to help you “Embrace the fountain of YOU,” and our tagline is that “True beauty is the ilLUMInation of your soul.” I beam with pride because we are so much more than a laser center or a medspa. We are a community of trusted professionals who take our responsibility for bringing the best of the best products, treatments, and techniques that at their core inspire self love, self worth and self care. I emphasize this because it is our company culture and belief that our job is to help our patients be their best selves, to embody their essence, and to come to the belief that they are whole and complete without any treatments or enhancements that we provide. That to enhance is a choice made not to change one’s self but rather as an act of self care. To love, fully embrace and care for oneself with or without the flaws we see or don’t see is to achieve true unwavering beauty.
Most recently, I have embarked on the journey of realizing my mission on a grander scale- to touch more lives and help as many people as possible find true happiness and fulfillment. On an average day I see 15-20 patients, every encounter, both easy and difficult, is a rewarding one. I have the honor of being a part of an energetic dance, to care and love for my patients while holding space for their own self love.
When I was 4 and just finding my passion for becoming a dentist one day, my dad was a hippie. And he was thoroughly unimpressed by my desire to want to as he saw it attempt to “change the world one tooth at a time!” He felt that one should “write books, change people’s minds, then change the world and leave it a better place.” Like I said, a hippie. But I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and so much of who I am is influenced by the benevolent and idealist views of my lovely parents – who are no longer hippies. That phase has passed and they are fierce supporters of dentists, Botox, and bland ole business ownership and having solid careers, houses, children and lives. It’s funny how things yet again come full circle, isn’t it?
I love fixing teeth and inspiring beauty, and now I want to influence the way people think and help heighten the overall consciousness of the world we live in- to leave a world I will be proud to pass on. What business that looks like or how it incorporates into my existing businesses, I’m not quite sure yet, but it’s no doubt coming.
I’m not sure if I answered the question… but that’s my story!
That’s an amazing story! Did you always think you’d be a business owner?
YES! I always knew I would be a dentist, a wife, a mom, a business owner. It’s like it was woven into my DNA, the very fabric of who I am. Subconsciously I don’t think I would even have been able to accept another reality. Which is really cool, because once you realize that you created your current reality when you were 4, the endless possibilities of what you can create now for your future reality open up! As a very good friend once told me during a pivotal time in my life, “the world is your oyster,” enjoy creating it!
You kind of already told us about this, but how and why did you actually take that leap to first start your first business when you did?
I was very unimpressed with the culture of the first dental office I worked in as a newly graduated dentist in Boston. How much could you produce? How fast? And who could you beat at it in the office? I couldn’t believe it, this is patient care we are talking about – we took an oath to care for patients who come to us and trust us to take the best care of them! And it was a sad reality that for that practice owner the patients, the staff, and the doctors all didn’t matter. It was only about how he – the business – could make the most money, and that’s what I hated about the business of dentistry that I was introduced to. A lack of respect for the staff getting their promised hours, if a patient canceled, the hourly assistant had to clock out. A lack of respect for the patients, we were instructed to plan treatment based on what treatments the insurance plans paid most on and were reprimanded when we refused. A lack of respect for the dentists, we were paid based on what our patients paid and a lot of times the owner would squander the bookkeeping to have the collections all come in under “the house” – meaning if we weren’t careful, we would be cheated out of thousands of dollars of free work. It was enough to make my skin crawl and my blood curdle. I had to get out of there but because I was a new graduate having moved from out of state with no connections, everywhere that I would interview was worse than the last. It was then that I decided that even though it was earlier than I had planned, it was time to establish my own practice, set my own standards, build my own community and nurture my own culture.
Where do you find the most inspiration and motivation when it comes to running your businesses?
I love that I get to set the standard of what success is in my business and in my life. For example, most of my employees are women around my own age, and it feels so good to honor the stages in our lives and be able to tailor our office culture around both working and living. So that we can truly be a living example of enjoying our profession, work-family and environment. It is essential to fulfillment to feel rewarded both emotionally and financially as we leave the door. I am grateful and I lay my head on my pillow with full comfort, knowing that our practices have spent the day providing excellence in care while maintaining that the reason we work is to enhance the quality of our lives and the lives of those we treat. Not vice versa where so many feel obligated to sacrifice so much of life for their work or careers – living to work. I feel blessed to have been able to create this kind of environment for my patients, myself and for my incredible staff.
Love that mindset! How do you create that positive and strong team environment within your businesses? Anything you make sure to do on a regular basis to make sure things run smoothly internally?
I feel that I am somewhat unconventional in this aspect. For the most part it works in my favor, and very rarely I have monumental epic failures. But my secret is having a staff that feels just as much ownership of the business as I do… ok maybe a little less than I do, but much more than the average employee. To get to that point with my team, I have had to give up some power and a whole lot of ego. Each member of our team has their specialty and their individual role, but we are all part of a well oiled machine that cannot work without the other. And above all we recognize that when one part of the machine ailes, all parts of the machine suffer. Communication plays a big role in this model, and sometimes that communication is not a pleasant one to have. But with practice it becomes easier and more constructive. Efficiency is when we put out smoke rather than waiting for the fire to then put out the fire when the house has burnt to the ground.
What this looks like is a lot of personal development, so that all members of the team are playing the same game with the same tools and game book. The strategies may be different but that’s the flavor it brings, and what you can find is that when the team is on a vibe, you create something together that you never could have dreamed up on your own.
The only time this model backfires is if you have a rotten egg in the team. I know that’s a harsh way of saying it, but really there is no other way to say it effectively. Everyone has to be on the same page, with the same goals and same intentions. Which takes me to my least favorite saying because it’s so hard to do in real life… but hire slow, and fire fast. If it’s not working, don’t waste time, focus your energy on finding the right person.
How do you bring your personal values into the business and everything you do?
I’ve learned that the best way to bring new ideas or values is to model them yourself. For me the hardest thing about business ownership is managing people. And in managing people, I have learned that you cannot control anyone but yourself. But there’s something about being so confident in the way you carry and conduct yourself that you create great influence amongst those around you. So that’s all I focus on now, me, and being the best version of me. And the rest I chalk up to giving people the dignity of their own journey until they get to where we’re going. And, if you’re not going where we’re going and need to hop off the so-called train, I wish you well and look forward to celebrating our respective wins in the future!
You clearly support women in everything you do, even outside of work. Tell us about the beautiful brunch you hosted last fall at your home and why it was important?
What I know about women is that when we are aligned, we have this really amazing way of magnifying each other’s greatness. Like when a woman gives me an unsolicited smile in passing, it has a whole other energy than when a man does. Both are great, let’s be real, I’m such a sucker for a smile! #dentist. I feel that when we have this ability to inspire, elevate, magnify each other’s greatness, and when we know that whatever energy we are putting out we receive, why would we not want to invest our time in elevating each other?
My brunch came at a time when there was the world’s first women lead revolution in Iran. It was incredible to see what a group of oppressed women could accomplish and that what they have started continues its underground foundational work even to this day. At a time when so many lives had been brutally taken, and all we wanted to do was put our heads down and mourn, feeling detached and helpless. It became clear to me that this wasn’t the energy the women and men fighting in Iran needed. They didn’t need our grief, pity and deflated energy. I wanted to elevate them, elevate the energy around them, to celebrate them, us, women, and what we can stand for and accomplish when we come together united.
I had the idea to do floral arrangements so that each lady could take home a piece of this special day. Each table had arrangements to begin with but then as each lady was making their own arrangements the tables became flooded with pinks, greens, whites and reds and it was the most beautiful symbolism I could have asked for. That by ourselves we are beautiful, we are strong, we are capable. And together we are an undeniable, unshakable, unsilenceable force to be reckoned with. We felt it that day together, in the flowers, the fashion show, the smiles we shared with each other. We are the kind of energy that moves mountains, changes governments and changes the world.
That kind of energy was what Iran needed at that moment. And I was proud that on that day we changed the dialogue from grief to power. We took a picture honoring and commemorating the sacrifices made by so many young women and men. And in the same breath, we celebrated the beauty it is to be a woman, the strength and grace it is to be a woman, the power and grit it is to be a woman, the gift it is to be a woman. And clearly, it is once we see it as a gift, that it becomes one.
What’s the most supportive thing another woman has done for you?
I am incredibly blessed to have so many, and I mean SO MANY supportive and uniquely amazing women that I call friends – my tribe. Really, there are so many instances that I can reference, but if I were to choose just one, it would be the one that really changed my career trajectory and catapulted me into business ownership.
I actually got fired from my first job as a dentist, the blood curdling job I mentioned earlier. The day I got fired was Sept. 28th, 2011 – it was a shock and a blessing all at once. I had been defiant and stood up for what I believed in, and at the same time knew I was an incredible asset to the practice so I didn’t expect to lose my job over it. Well long story short, I was wrong, I got fired and it was a blessing because I had actually already found my current dental practice and was in the process of trying to figure out how to buy it. There was an orthodontist who then was close to retirement who had embraced me as a mentee when I had first moved to Boston. She lived close by and I would often run into her at the corner CVS pharmacy or picking up pizza at Bertucci’s. I remember calling her in a panic… I can’t buy this practice! I just got fired. Full of doubt and feelings of worthlessness and despair, I needed her to confirm what so many other established (male) dentists had advised me even before I had been fired – “Why do you want to buy a practice? Your husband is a doctor; you only have to work a couple days a week, find a job you like and focus on building your family and enjoying your life.” Well, that kind of did sound nice, but it contradicted every fiber of my being. Nonetheless, they were old men telling me what to do and I guess I didn’t think they knew much about what a young woman like me was capable of anyway.
Anyhow. I was starting to believe that I wasn’t cut out for owning my own practice when I can’t even hold down a job. When she answered the phone, this orthodontist listened to everything I said and then put me directly in my place. She spoke to me with the utmost love and unwavering belief in me that brought tears to my eyes and lit a fire in my heart. She told me, no one, not even she, could tell me what I could or couldn’t do, what I wanted or didn’t want to do. She told me the one thing I should never question is my own heart, and that if I couldn’t hear it, I needed to quiet everyone and everything else so that I could. She called me every day for a week after that, and told me she knew I was destined for so much more, and that she believed in me and had my back. She never wavered, she never second guessed, she just knew that I would know what to do and how to do it. And I did- and I cannot thank her enough for picking me up off the ground and instilling in me to trust in myself above all. I continue to lean on that lesson and following my internal guiding light has always served me well.
Wow, I was not expecting half as powerful an answer as that but I love that and am so glad that happened! With so many balls in the air, what does a day or a week look like for you right now?
I have an out of the box career that I love and that fulfills me on a daily basis. And that has afforded me to have lots of help for the things I don’t love as much. Because I have an angel in my home that allows me to not have to worry about cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry, I am able to spend my time outside of work hours really enjoying my family, friends, and personal development.
My morning starts at 5:40 when my alarm goes off. I do some form of exercise, pilates, yoga, HIIT, with my personal trainers from 5:45-6:45 six days a week. I started this during the pandemic and it has been one of the most loving things I could have carved out for myself.
My husband and I are great teammates when it comes to getting the kids and their snacks ready for school. We are out the door at 7:45 and first I drop the kids off, followed by our mini poodle, Chocolat, who has his own adventures every day with our dog walker extraordinaire. Growing up I always loved when my parents could take me to school, so that is a non-negotiable for me. I love to take my kids to school in the morning.
On Monday through Thursday I am at the dental office and usually get to work by 8:30 and hit the ground running. There is always a lot going on and we often refer to it as a dance, me and my teammates know the steps, we read each other well, and as the music ebbs, flows and sometimes goes wild, we keep pace and take pride and enjoyment in our well oiled machine. My favorite days are when we get to transform a person’s smile from one that they are hesitant to show, to one they beam with confidence from ear to ear. My day ends at or around 5pm when I head back to pick up my Chocolat and meet the kids and my husband after their array of different after school activities. We usually have dinner together around 6:30 followed by DJ performances by my son, Ryan, and dance performances by my daughter, Roxana. Then it’s our family’s universal time to head upstairs at 8pm and we are almost all passed out by 9pm.
On Fridays I am at the aesthetic office and it is the one day a week I don’t exercise. I get a little extra sleep and my husband takes the kids to school. I get to get all dolled up on Fridays, I get excited to pick my outfit, do my hair and make up and take my time getting into the office. I usually get to the medspa at 10am and again we hit the ground running. I’m only there one day a week so I am usually pretty busy – if you ask the med spa ladies they’d say I’m busy talking! Which I am, because so much of aesthetics is psychological, it is perspective, and I need to understand my patient’s perspective if I am to be of utmost service to them. I am lucky to have a team that holds down the fort when I cannot be there, two talented injectors, clinical aestheticians, and an administrative staff to die for. I am usually done by 6pm at which time I am thoroughly pooped from the week and cannot wait to get home, take a shower and roll up next to my kids in bed and watch a movie AKA pass out!
Post Covid, I feel like the weekends are a much welcome sprint to make up for all the lost socializing. It seems like we are dancing the night away with friends almost every weekend and I am so grateful for that. I love to dance, sing (I am not good at it), and let loose with my friends and our families.
My husband, our kids, and I love to travel and will use every opportunity for a vacation! Our favorite spot is by the pool in Mexico and we also enjoy exploring different places in the United States as well as new countries and so many different cultures.
Do you have any other specific morning routines you try to stick to?
I work out 6 days out of the week. This is my grounding routine for the morning, other than the more obvious things like brushing teeth, showering and doing my makeup, I try to keep it simple because time is of the essence!
True! How do you practice self care as such a busy woman?
I love fashion, I enjoy shopping, going to fashion shows, traveling, going to retreats, learning/continuing education for aesthetics and dentistry, self care, personal development, energy work.
What do you think have been the key reasons you’ve been so successful?
The belief that I am successful and the joyous expectation that I am guaranteed to accomplish what I desire. That everything is happening for me and for a good reason. That it is all a gift, the easy and the hard are all good- and it is up to me to find the lesson and take the gift in it all. To know that anything happening outside of myself is out of my control, that I have the power of perception which shapes my reality. And last but not least, as long as I lead with love and good intention, I receive that in return and all turns out for the best.
Absolutely love that. Any advice for other entrepreneurs?
I would give the same advice my orthodontist mentor gave me. To follow your heart, your intuition- and if it is not clear, quiet the noise. To know that as an entrepreneur you will only be successful if you take ownership of the good, the bad and the ugly- and that when you face it, own it, look it straight in the eye- it no longer has power over you and you can solve it. To remember to enjoy the process and to never forget yourself along the way.
Contact Neda Hovaizi, Lumiere Dental Spa and Lumi Aesthetics
Photos by: Mariah Gale @mariahgalecreative
Dresses: Melina Cortes-Nmili @lalla.Bee
Hats: Elham Ayati-Jian @ellie_jian_millinery