Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery, and how Dr. Rivkin took the path from private practice to academia.
I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice – What your patients are saying, as well as consultant to plastic surgeons, to get them more patients and more profits. Now, today’s episode is called “Private Practice TO Academia — with Alexander Rivkin, MD”.
It’s very common for surgeons to start in academia and then transition to private practice.
But not for Dr. Alexander Rivkin. He did it the other way around.
He’s a trained facial plastic surgeon who founded Rivkin Aesthetics in Los Angeles.
Since 2003, he has specialized in state-of-the-art Non-Surgical aesthetic procedures that compete with the outcomes of plastic surgery, delivered in an intimate and luxurious setting.
Watch this week’s video as Dr. Rivkin explains how he saw where the consumer demand for less downtime, scarring, cost was going and he chose to cater to it.
So, he dropped his facial surgery focus to build a successful 100 percent non-surgical cosmetic practice.
But then he came back to academia to teach others.
Dr. Rivkin thinks differently and lives life on his terms, so he was a pleasure to interview.
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Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello everyone, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and Dr. Rivkin going from private practice to academia. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice – What your patients are saying, as well as consultant to get them more patients and more profits. Now I’m very excited about today’s guest.
It’s Dr. Alexander Rivkin of the Rivkin Aesthetics in Los Angeles. Now since two, three, he has specialized in state of the art nonsurgical, a procedures that outcome in luxurious setting. Huh? So Dr. Rivkin received his BA from Columbia University and his MD from Yale University School of Medicine. Now he completed his internship in general surgery from the University of California, San Diego, as well as his residency in otolaryngology and head and neck surgery.
Now, Dr. Rivkin is also assistant clinical professor at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. He also conducts lots of clinical trials. He publishes all lot and he serves on several pharma advisory boards. Now, Dr. Rivkin also is involved in several philanthropic efforts. One of which is spearheading. Aid to help war torn Ukraine.
And we’re going to talk more about that and him going from private practice to academia. So Dr. Rivkin, welcome to Beauty and the Biz.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Thanks. Really appreciate being here. That’s it’s an honor. Thank you.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So I always like to start with, what was your journey because it’s never a straight line private practice, just a quick concise journey to get you from private practice to academia.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Oh gosh, for me it wasn’t, it wasn’t much of a, there wasn’t much of a journey when I got an after training, I, I knew that I wanted to just, I wanted to open up my own place and I wanted to be, be my own boss.
And so the journey, my journey was actually less from academia to private practice and more for private practice to a little bit of academia. Oh. So once I established myself in my practice, it was at that point then that I, you know, my practice is. Stone’s throw away from UCLA. And at that point I reached out to UCLA and became involved with the medical school.
So yeah, so for me it was, it was that. And then at that, and then, then, you know, started doing, you know, publishing started teaching and all this kind of stuff. But first thing I did is establish a practice in a very, very small place.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So, and so you went out on your own right away, but in a very competitive arena, especially going from private practice to academia.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Well, the interesting thing is that, and it’s funny because people talk about how timing is everything and it, timing was really everything for, for this. From in my case, I was very, very fortunate because it was it’s a competitive arena, but in two, at the time when I started, which was like 2003, 2004, this art field was just, it’s just starting, you know, there was, there was really, there was.
Clearly, clearly this was going to explode in my mind. There was no question about that, because the demand was just, I mean, every, you know, the demand was obvious and the, and the O and the ability of non-surgical treatments to achieve the goals of, of patients was indisputable. And so I thought, well, you, you know, you have these products that work, you have patients that want this and that, you know, such an enormous population that wants this.
There’s no way this is not going to be, become huge. And so, so it was, it was, it was clear that, that this was going to be a, a, a, you know, a big thing. And you know, and so jumped each kind of jumped on it. And so from that standpoint, there wasn’t a lot of people who were specializing specifically nonsurgical aesthetic treatments.
Right. You know, some people were doing this and plastic surgery or doing this in dermatology, but then. You know, so I was one of the first, I was one of the first around that I knew of, I didn’t know anybody else who, who had specialized, who did this a hundred percent from the beginning. And from that point, so from that standpoint, I was, it was not that difficult because my competition really wasn’t just, it wasn’t very strong.
Like there wasn’t anybody who had a good website at the time. Like nobody, nobody had any. And I was like, okay, well, clearly people, when they look for this kind of treatment, the information bottleneck here is obviously Google. And that was clear in 2004. And so if you can control. Google, if you can control your, your rankings.
You’re, you know, you’re, you’re suddenly the premier practice, no matter what, no matter that you’ve been open for six months, doesn’t matter. And so from that standpoint, there wasn’t a ton of the competition. Now I think it would be more difficult to open a place. It’s tough. Cause everybody’s learned those lessons.
Catherine Maley, MBA: For sure. I got into this industry in year 2000 because I was all about injectables and lasers. So I happened to go to a dermatologist who was a very well-known cosmetic dermatologist and she did specialize in cosmetic. And I remember how awful the service was when I was one of what 40 patients she saw.
I, it was just a joke. I, I remember this industry is going to need a lot of help when it comes to marketing customer service understanding the patient with a credit card versus an insurance card. And that’s exactly why I got into it. And, and what’s funny is nobody was doing the, like the plastic surgeons were not doing the injectables.
They didn’t want to, they wanted to do the surgery. And there were just a few doing actual the non-surgical. So I thought, huh, that’s interesting. And now it’s really turned on its head. Yeah. So, yeah. So are you, do you still do surgery or no? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: No, I haven’t for a very long time. I haven’t for a long time because I just, I, I you know, I, I just, it, it seemed to be too big of an opportunity to pass up, you know, I’d rather, and to me, and it’s funny because there’s different kinds of people, right?
There’s people who want there’s people who get a kick out of breath, like, oh, I can do anything. And then there’s people who get a kick out of depth where like I’m the best in the world at this very specific, very narrow thing. I like, I’m the second category. I didn’t know this about myself, but now I guess now, but now it’s pretty clear.
I’m in the second category where I just want to be, you know, I, I just want to be the best in one very, in one specific narrow thing and have my niche that. I’m just kind of that that’s, that’s what I dominate and that’s, that’s what I, I like to have. And then I refer to other people for other things, and then other people refer to me for other, for my thing.
And to me that that works nicely. Because then I’m and it also, I’m not stepping on anybody’s toes. I’m friendly with everybody because everybody wants to be my friend because then I send people out and I want to be everybody else’s friend because they send people in. It’s great. It’s all kind of kumbaya and everybody lives, lives happily ever after.
And I like that. Good for you. You know? So that’s what I’ve been doing. So I’ve been, so that’s why I kind of, I didn’t want to be kind of, you know, oh, I can do anything. I I’m like, you know, I’m God I’m I, I can’t do everything I can do, but I can certainly do the nose better than, you know, better than, than most people.
And, and I find that to be very satisfying.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Somewhere that you were the innovator of the nonsurgical nose job, is that. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: I mean, I, I’m not, it seems, I don’t know. I mean, I, I, I had not heard of anybody doing this. So when I, in 2004, when I did this, I had not heard of anybody doing this before. And I looked and I looked on, you know, on Medline.
I had not heard of anybody doing this procedure. And now of course, most likely all these, these kinds of fillers were available in Asia before they were available here. So there, I’m sure there’s people that, that were doing it in China, but not, not anybody that I knew around here. So I, so when I kind of figured out the procedure and I went to media with it, they were like, oh my they’re like, wow, we’d never heard of this.
This is like, this is completely new. And I figured, okay, well, that’s a good indication. You know, this is not something that people cause this is as soon as they started doing this, I’m like, I, I realized that this is truly something, something fairly innovative, because this is something where the only way to change the Contras and nose before this procedure was through surgery.
And I realized, this is the first thing that this is the first option, this first alternative that people really had the surgery. And so if this had been around, if any, if people had been doing this before, I think it would’ve been, it would’ve been all over the place. Like people would’ve spoken about it, media would’ve, you know, kind of gobbled it up.
Wasn’t the case. When I went to media, they were like, we’d never heard of this. This is, this is amazing. The possibility for this, they recognized right away. And yeah, it was.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So do you have patients that are so keen on nonsurgical that you do it and then do they come back again and again, year after year, although having said that, I realize you also do a permanent nonsurgical noise job. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
What the heck is that?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: I think, I mean, It’s an interesting, so, okay. So the two, two kind of components to that question. So on with the nose specifically talking about the nose some people do choose to come back a few times for temporary nonsurgical, rhino advice. Do you using, you know, ha fillers like BMO or lift or any of these kinds of things and those and that that’s okay.
Cause I use very tiny amounts and so it’s not like I’m, I’m, I’m shoving a whole bunch of filler into underneath the skin and, and, and then, and building upon and making the nose into like changing the contours and nose in significant way, doing very subtle contour adjustments using fillers. And so if you do it a few times, you got to, you know, you wait until like the material.
You wait until the material mostly goes away and then add to it and it’s fine. But what I use now more often what I do is switch from temporary to permanent filler. And there’s a permanent filler called bell fill. That is very nice. You know, people, people are freaked out by permanent fillers because the history that these fillers have had in Europe and Asia and, you know, like fillers with that are that weren’t very well that weren’t the ingredients.
Weren’t very good. The, there were side effects that were pretty, pretty bad. And so people are afraid of putting something under the skin that. You know, potentially years later can have some sort of problems I’ve been using this particular. There’s only one, but there’s, so there’s only one filler that’s FDA approved.
That’s permanent, which is methylate Beil. There’s some people that use silicone and I, that I’m a little scared of Silicon because I, I don’t, you know, I’ve, I’ve seen other things, but it seems that with the right technique, you can use silicone effectively. I, I don’t love silicone in general because it’s, it’s very, very liquidity and for something like the nose, I want structure and I want lift to the tissue.
But I’ve been using Beil for over a decade and I’ve honestly had more problems with hyaluronic acid fillers than I have with Beil. It’s been a remarkably safe filler for me.
Catherine Maley, MBA: And when they seem permanent don’t they mean like five years or something? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: No. The studies have gone out to five years, so they can only say five years because that’s where the, how that’s, how long the, the follow up is for, for the studies.
But met Accolate we know is a material is not something that’s dissolved by the body. And so it’s a, it’s an inert plastic that we use other, you know, in, in ophthalmology and, and other surgery that sticks around. So I know that the material is not going to go anywhere, but the way that the filler works, unlike other fillers, the way this filler works is as a collagen stimulant as a very specific collagen stimulant.
So it’s little tiny granules of this, of method faculty and. Co collagen builds up around that. So the grape seed and then the grape field comes around that the material lasts forever under the skin, but your reaction to it is different as time goes on. So as we get older, we know, unfortunately we don’t stimulate as much collagen growth.
Right. And so, so the effect, the aesthetic effect may change over time. Additionally, because the underlying tissues as we age shrink, right? And so we get bone loss, we get cartilage loss and fat loss and all that kind of stuff. So we change it’s permanent, but we are not. And so after seven years or so, sometimes people need a little touching, but the material’s great.
Gotcha. And I’ve done that. I’ve done that before, when people come back like eight years later, 10 years later, even, and they do a little touch it and they finally go away. They don’t come.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So I also noticed you have like every laser on the planet and I would like discuss consulting, demo up a whole new marketing plan to, to cater to that new market. So any, any tips and strategies on buying lasers and actually making them profitable? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Sure of don’t that may not some of my advice, but I guess as physicians we have a certain relationship to reps, so drug reps and, and, and mostly we deal with, with drug reps and there is a certain amount of.
We, we, we know to take the information they present to us in a, in a somewhat skeptical manner, but yet we know that they’re telling us it may be, they, they may be spinning it a little bit, but they’re, but they’re fundamentally, they’re telling us the truth, you know, drug with drug groups. So whether for, you know, for, for drugs in the hospital that we use for, you know, for sick people or it’s, you know, bot to sports, stuff like that, I mean, there’s spin, there’s all there’s angles and all that kind of stuff, but they’re mostly fundamental explanation.
That is not the case with laser reps, as I have learned in the hard way, the really hard way. It’s just, so my advice to people is don’t listen to a word that any laser rep has to say about anything mm-hmm . I, I think that the information that they present is, is. You know, I’ve, I’ve really been UN I’ve been fooled, you know, and I’ve been fooled and I have a bunch of very expensive coat hangers, like, you know, door stops lying around my office.
And it’s been, and I really, you know, there’s certain companies that are considerably more aggressive than others in terms of you know, I mean, I signed a well there’s one company and I can, you know, I can say the name or not say the name. Don’t say the name . But anyways, there’s one company that shall remain nameless where, I mean, the guy, the guy like wanted me.
I mean, he went to my house at like eight sign paperwork. I mean, this dude practically sat on my head in order to get sign these paperwork.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Quota.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Boy, did he have a quota? And then yeah, it’s just, it was, it was a big mistake. So I think that you really have to understand, you really have to have a realistic understanding of what your practice, what your practice is, who your practice attracts, what those patients want and what those patients can afford before you make the judgment to plunk down a whole bunch of money for an expensive machine.
And I think this is some, this is I think, a big part of your consultation the value of your consultation to these practices, because people just don’t understand that, you know, these guys come in with their shiny, with their shiny little, you know graphs saying like, look, doc, you’ll make your money back in.
Like, you know, in two weeks it’ll be awesome. You know, this is going to be the easiest thing in the world. And then like, you know, three years later, you’re sitting there with a machine that nobody uses because you didn’t realize that that’s just not the demographic of your, of your population.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, I would certainly survey my patients before I buy the thing, because the, the reps will look at it from their own perspective. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Like we’re going to attract new patients for you. But the machine’s not going to attract new patients unless you know how to market the darn thing, but you have to first make sure your patient demand is there. Like it’s internally, already there organically. So you can feed off of that. Otherwise those payments start racking up immediately and you didn’t get the five new patients a month to pay for that payment, like you said, and oh, it gets to be a real yeah. Challenge.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: And I would say, you know, in addition to that, and I’m sorry to, to, to, to sound. Kind of like, you know, to sound like the, the laser reps or they are, you know, the devil incarnate, but they do funky, funky stuff. There has been known that they, some of them have been known to generate calls to people’s offices of patient, like not true patients inquiring about a particular laser that they then, so they have, they have a bunch of people call the office inquiring about some, you know, whatever laser that is, then you think, oh my God, this laser is in big demand.
And then suddenly they pop up and you’re like, Hey, want this laser? And you’re like, yeah, I’ve got big demand. Right. It’s really important to do your actual survey and really like, you know, there’s no don’t cut corners.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well it’s been very well known that if you can. If, if you tell the surgeon or the doctor oh, the, the staff says, oh my God, we got, you know, a call about this laser.
All they need are about four of those calls. Then the surgeon says I’m in, you know, obviously, but what I would suggest is. Go ahead and survey. It’s so easy nowadays to survey your patient list, you can do it with you know, survey monkey. You can do it on Instagram. You can literally get on there and say, Hey, I’m thinking about this laser.
What do you think? I mean, I, I would really look at your patients, not the sales reps. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Absolutely data there’s these days, getting data, gathering data and analyzing data for about all sorts of a kind of aspects of your practice is so easy. There’s no excuse not to do it. And it’s the only way to be a good business person.
Cause we run businesses. You got to da gather the analytics.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Otherwise, you can’t make a good decision without your numbers. I am so surprised at how many make decisions based off of anecdotal evidence. Whatever this, you know, they, I say to the, I’ll say to a surgeon like oh what’s your top procedure?
And they’ll look at the staff, what’s our top procedure. Do they all have a little discussion about it? And I said, no, you guys come on. I want to see the numbers, you know? Yeah. It’s true. So looking at your practice, it looks to me like I’m trying out how you have positioned yourself. And I would say you like the, of the me, because you have you around with like estheticians, you’ve got serious NPS, PAs RNs and you the cosmetic surgeon.
So is that, was that done on purpose or why such high level revenue generators working with you? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: I think what I want to, well, I mean, you got to make, you kind of make a choice at some point. And, and this is something I would go back and forth about in, in various, in, in various kind of ways, like, well, do I want to open a satellite place in, you know, in Redondo beach with a storefront?
You know, do I want to do that? Do I want to be doing walk-ins and stuff like that? I guess you, you kind of make a choice as to what kind of clientele you want to attract. Right. And so, and I guess part of that choice is what, what you’re comfortable with in terms of marketing how do, how you market and, and how, first of all, how confident you are in, in marketing and figuring out how to market effectively and a, and B what kinds of marketing are you.
Comfortable with. Right. And so I felt, again, I felt at the time that the, when I started the practice and early on the practice that the internet was like, okay,
this conference locally. And I had a guy and there’s, and I was listening to all these, these, these guys stand up and speak. And I, I was just in the audience.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Were these surgeons, or were they marketers? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Surgeons. They were all surgeons. And they were speaking about, and there’s one guy that came up to speak about marketing one, you know, your practice.
And this is a guy who was, this is a guy who was legendary. I mean, he has, he has, you know, surgical stuff, but named after him and you know, all cetera. So he’s been around for a very long time and he came up and he said, Newspapers are great for me, starting out, newspapers are great for me. Mid-career newspapers are great for me now.
There’s I see no reason change direction. I think the internet is a fluke and it’s, you know, whatever. And I looked at that and I heard that and I said, I’m going to all in on the internet because these guys just don’t get it. They don’t understand what today, what, what what’s going on in, in the world today.
And so, so that’s why I kind of, I thought, okay, I’m going to go in. I’m going to attract my patients online. I don’t need a storefront. I’m going to be, I’m going to provide them with an experience that they’ve never seen before. My patients I’m going to provide them experience. They’ve never seen before in a physician’s office.
And so I’m going to eliminate the, the glass and the counter. I’m going to have an open kind of, you know, open, sliding window that you have to knock on. Yeah. None of that, none of that crap. And so I’m going to make them feel like. I’m going to make them feel like they’re in a Lux in a luxurious place. So I’m going to, but in, in to do that, you have to control.
And again, this is kind of like, I don’t know. I guess I, I grew up, my mom ran, my mom was a facialist, so she had her own salon in Boston. Right. Okay. And so I grew up telling my mom how she was dumb and she needed to do all these kinds of things to make her salon better. And she said, you know, she, and she’s like, what do you know?
You’re just a, you’re just a, you know, silly teenager, go, go do your math homework. Right. And so now I get a chance to like actually, you know, to actually execute when I, when I’m what I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s I, you know, and I felt like I could do that where I could present a luxury experience where I would control every aspect of the patient’s experience at when they walked through the door.
So where they sat, what they saw, what they, what they smelled, what they felt how, you know, what the interaction was with the front desk, you know, all that stuff like, you know, was I was prepared to hyper manage in order to make a good experience. And, and I, I think that worked. And so from that standpoint, I, I had aestheticians.
I started with like, you know, estheticians and nurses and, and, and me as an injector, but I now don’t do very, I mean, I have a, you know, a little bit of aesthetician stuff. Really very, very minimal because it’s just the real estate of the rooms I need for more, you know, as a business, you know, you count on what’s the profit per hour per square foot, you know, and it just didn’t make, actions just, didn’t don’t make any sense.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So you, but you, you didn’t just go to RNs. You also jumped up to NPS and PAs. So is there a strategy for why you’re using such high level people to run lasers and do injectables, or is there a reason for that? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: In California, PAs and, and, and NPS can do their own good faith exams. So that’s helpful so that they can be, so I don’t have to see all the new patients.
That’s nice to my mind. That’s the only advantage between. An N P PA or an RN. I I’ve seen excellent injectors in all three categories. So I, I wouldn’t, I would never say that one, one is better than the, than the other. And, and I just choose, I try to choose people that I used to be. I choose chose people that are experienced only because I didn’t want to train them.
I, I backed off of that. And I actually would, rather, because again, I’ve had, then I I’ve brought in people who were experienced, but who didn’t understand. My way of doing things and not that my way is necessarily the best way, but they had bad habits and it’s hard to, it’s hard to untrain bad habits. So now what I choose is more likely just people who I rec over and over time, I can kind of recognize who are the people that are the go getters, who are the people who want to invest energy and time into their own development, into becoming the best they could possibly be, who are hungry for really just the next thing like achieving the next, like who are, you know, want to be excellent injectors who want to be teachers want to be leaders who want to be like, who, who, who are excited about this, about this stuff versus the people who kind of come into the practice and just want to be pet fed patients and then clock in and clock out.
I, I don’t want any of those people.
Catherine Maley, MBA: You know, do you encourage your I’ll call them ancillary staff. Do you encourage them to build a following, like let’s say on Instagram, on their own Instagram like how are you working that out? Because sometimes it goes the other way. You have these people with great drive and they stick, stick around long enough to learn, you know, a really good business sense from you really good injection techniques from you. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Yeah. And then they off on their own, you know, and…
Alexander Rivkin, MD: So know and that’s happened to me. It’s true. And that’s, that, that certainly has happened to me. I, but not a, not a ton, not a ton. But it has, but it certainly has happened to me. And I think the benefits outweigh the risks, I think overall for me anyways, because I present them, I, I just present them with a working environment that that’s really pretty that’s really, I, I mean, I think is pretty awesome.
You know, I present them with a working environment. That’s very low key. That’s very much drama free. Where everybody gets along where I don’t yell at anybody. I don’t, you know, I’m like not, I’m a calm guy. They get, you know, we, we, people who we get them lunch, you know, very, very often we hang out and it’s.
And we’re, and we’re just good to each other. And, and we have, and we, we, and if we hire someone who is doesn’t fit in, doesn’t fit in their they’re, they don’t stick around. So we create an art, we take great pains to create an atmosphere in here that’s very, very pleasant to work in. And so I think so.
I think it’s not. So yeah, so I think it’s worth it and it’s, I think it’s worth it to, for them to develop their own Instagram and develop their own their own following because it also makes it’s, it makes them being invested in their own practice. And I think that’s really important and I think it’s Mo so it’s a motivational thing.
And. And, and helps it helps the overall practice as well. So I think that’s, I, I think overall, I think that’s, that’s really good. I think one thing I’m seeing in the industry, which is not so great is that, you know, social media’s created some of the, some of the injectors around are really very prominent in social media and some of the younger injectors who are very ambitious, see that.
And they’re like, well, that could, that should be me. I want to be, I want to be just like that. And they think it’s easy, you know? I mean, you know, I’m good friends with Nicole Lowry and I talk to her and I’m like, everybody wants to be you. And she’s like, they don’t, they do not understand what it means to be doing this kind of thing.
How much work goes into. You know that social media ask aspect she’s has like, she works and then she works here and she works again. You know, she’s got two jobs because it takes a lot of work and a lot of dedication to do that, that, that social media thing. But the thing is, is that there’s some companies that are taking advantage of this desire for NPS and PAs to be independent and presenting them.
They’re like, and they, so I’ve had one, for example, who was got by, she, she was poached for me by one of these kinds of organizations. They’re like, oh, we’ll set you up, we’ll have a doc, we’ll have this, you know, we’ll have this doc back you up if you need it and we’ll set you up in a place, we’ll take care of everything.
Here’s the, here’s the benchmarks, which you’re going to hit. Here’s what you’re going to get. And they’re like, and they go, they they’re Google eye over the numbers because they’ve, they they’re like, because, you know, and, and. I think overall they lose because they overestimate how much they can hit those benchmarks.
And then they, they don’t hit the benchmarks. They don’t make that percent. And then, and they’re in, like they’re in a room in a hair salon somewhere, you know, doing injectables. I mean, they’re on their own, but like, so, you know, I don’t know. So I see a lot of that and I see, so I see a lot of my colleagues losing good injectors to that kind of situation.
I think that’s unfortunate. Cause everybody, I think everybody loses then, you know, the injectors.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well there, the those franchises or whatever those businesses are they’re promising the, the freedom that everybody wants and the unlimited opportunity. What they miss is who’s bringing in these patient.
You know, right. Cause they say, oh, we’ll take care of the admin. We’ll take care of all the paperwork. Don’t worry about any of that. Yeah. Well, my first question is, since who who’s doing the marketing, let’s go brain, everyone in. And they look at me cause I I’ve had a lot over here too. My own injector went out on her own and I said, how, how, where the patients coming from?
She looked at me, she said, Juan, I, I assume my patients are going to follow me. And I said, well, are you sure? Like all of them are, cause it’s not, it’s never going to be what you think it’s going to be. Right. She literally, I just talked to yesterday and she said, I’m going to have to hustle. And I thought, yeah. When did to think about that?
You know, so that’s, Ooh boy, I don’t know that. I don’t know about that business model because it always looks better on the other side, but nobody can see the inside. What do they say? Don’t compare your outsides with someone else’s insides or however that goes. It’s just everything that looks easy. There’s a whole bunch of work that went behind that to make that look easy.
You know? I think that’s very true. Yeah. But I love the idea of how you’re going to scale and that’s how you scale. You have NPS or PAs who can see the patients for you. So that’s, that’s brilliant. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: That makes sense to me would much I’d and this is what I, I always thought after only a few years of doing this, my thought was that I would like to be, I mean, I want to be a brand and it’s, I’m, I’m, I’m my own brand and that’s fine, but I want to be a brand of brands.
Like I want to have a practice under my umbrella. Where there’s independent brands that, you know, that do well. And so people know my overarching brand, but they really, but they come for this specific injector because that’s, that’s who they that’s who bond. I, I was always skeptic whole about coming for, you know, to a particular, like, I guess there’s certain patients that will come to a business for their, you know, injectables or, you know, laser services or whatever it is.
Right. But that’s, that’s not the patients I want. Right. I mean, the patients I want, they go to providers, they go to specific people. They make that connection, not to the business. They make the connection to the person and a person could be a brand, but is a specific person. So I like.
Catherine Maley, MBA: And they’ll pay more for it because I don’t need to shop around.
Yeah. Looking for, to save a hundred dollars. I need to make sure my Botox is right. Yeah. It kicks in when it’s supposed to I need to know that you’re not going to screw up my filler. Then I’m left with modules. You know, like all of that. I, I, I want them to know who I am, what I like. Like we, women, especially we don’t change our hairstylists, like ever then same thing with our injectors.
We don’t change any of this. If we don’t have to, we’ve got our service providers that we count on. We trust, we like, they like us. It’s all good. You know, it’s just a really efficient way, especially if you’re if you do have money, typically you are working a lot where you just live a busy life and you don’t need to shop around.
I I’m, I’m a firm believer on what you’re doing there. Like build that brand and the right people will come. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Yeah. I think that’s super important because the other thing is you have to think about, I mean, You think about what are you earning per again, per unit time? I’d rather have the kinds of patients that where I can be efficient in my profit per unit time.
I don’t want to see 30 patients in a day. I’m going to, I’m going to drop dead. Like I got two kids at home. I can’t, I can’t handle that. I want to see a small amount of patients where it’s manageable and my time is compensated where, where it’s worth it, you know, so I don’t have to hustle.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So what I’m hearing is you want to build a brand, but then build like subdepartment under that umbrella or does that also mean you’re, you’re coming up with your prototype practice and then you’re going to franchise it or move it out to the various different locations. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Oh no, maybe both kind. Maybe both. I haven’t, I haven’t. I haven’t had other look, certainly the first, certainly a brand and then sub-brands underneath for sure. And, and, and the thing is, is that the way that works is that we help those sub-brands market because they market also cause the brand are, you know, I mean our Instagram account is a, is a, is a bigger account.
And so we can help market their, you know, each provider’s sub brand through that Instagram account and or, and other in TikTok and whatever, whatever it is. And so that works for everybody involved, but yeah, I, I, I haven’t it’s, it is my goal to open couple of satellite places I’ve started with Beverly Hills where we have a small office and that’s working.
Okay. But you know, everybody wants that 9 0 2 ones. Yes.
I think it’s you know why I went there actually. My friends are over there. Okay. And I’m like, oh, I never have lunch with, you know, with, with Ben Tolay I never have lunch with, with some of these guys, I want to do this. So I’ll go over there and I’m thinking, great. Now I’m there. I can have lunch with, you know, with Ben and, and other people.
And I call them up and they’re like, dude, what are you talking about? We don’t eat lunch. We operate through lunch.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Yeah.
Catherine Maley, MBA: He’s doing a lot a lot, but that, but still at least you have, you’re setting yourself up to have endless opportunities, you know, because this can go all sorts of different ways. But ask you this, what has been the most challenging part of being in private practice that maybe threw, threw you off or, or could throw others off? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Like what was been most challenging? There’s only one answer to that question. Oh, only one ever. And anybody that thinks there’s any other answer to that question has not been in this long enough and does not have the, the, the experience. And that answer is staffing. Always, always, always. It’s HR. It’s finding the right person for various, the, a variety of positions.
And the most challenging one by far to me has been finding the right person at the helm of the practice that is in that. Do you choose the wrong person and the practice stagnates? And it’s like, and so like, and I’ve chosen. I’ve chosen a lot. Let’s just say I chosen a lot of wrong people for that position.
Catherine Maley, MBA: And is the position like your right hand man? Or is it the COO or what is that position within your perspective? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Yeah, it’s the COO and my right hand person. So it’s, this is the person that runs everything in the practice. Well with the, the, and it organizes everything it does. Yeah. I mean, this is the, this is the person that analyzes, you know, that makes crunches numbers that figure out, you know, just understands, where’s the practice going?
What’s what are we doing? Right. What are we doing wrong? Where do we pivot to? What do we, what kinds of marketing efforts works? What kind of doesn’t, you know, somebody like, like that, it’s a sophisticated PO it’s a, it’s a position that demands a sophisticated person with an understanding of a variety of different things, marketing operations staff, you know, staff relation, everything.
That’s really hard to find, and I’ve not only has the practice stagnated and hasn’t grown under the leadership of the wrong person in my, in my experience. But it’s driven me crazy because, you know, because I’ll go home and I’ll be like, just things aren’t getting done. It’s just, I say, I say, let’s do this, everybody, you know, this person says, yes.
Okay, let’s do it. And then they just, they just count on me, forgetting me getting busy and be forgetting. And then when I say, what about this, there’s always excuses that they’d come up out. And so, so that’s really, I think that’s really hard is thinking the right people for the, for these positions and understanding just how now.
So now I have someone who’s really quite good. I mean, It’s immense, immense. I mean, PR my practice profits and I mean, here’s how, here’s how immense it is. My practice profits. Since hiring this person over the last year, I would say have quadrupled.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Oh my God. Quadruple because what are they doing differently that wasn’t being done? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Because they suddenly are, they’ve managed, they’ve managed salaries, they’ve managed, they’ve brought staff salaries into under control bonuses. And I, cause I was, you know, I, I can’t, I’m not, I’m not a micromanaging kind of guy. I’m not a detail kind of kind of person from that standpoint. And so I just kind of like promise things here and there.
And I, I set up systems that then kind of build upon themselves and feed and, you know, and, and bite into the bottom line and he’s control. And, and this person is controlled expenses from like the, the overhead of the practice in a massive way. So. It’s been, I mean yeah, it’s been by far the best decision I’ve ever made in my, in, in the practice.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Wow. Now, did they take away perks that were already out there because that can be deadly? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: No, no, they didn’t. They, no, no, that’s I, that would, that that’s something for morale that I’ve not kind of, you know, I, I, I would never want to do. I think they just kind of brought things under control that were not that were just unreasonable, but there is certain structure of.
Like there’s a certain bonus structure that was kind of loose goosey, and it wasn’t, it just that, but the majority of it was really there’s less staff. It was less salary control. That’s kind of, there was something to that, but it wasn’t huge. The majority of it was overhead and renegotiating the con the kinds of them, the deals that we had with the major filler and, and toxin providing companies and, and also coming into, I mean, it’s, it’s all, I mean, I shouldn’t lay all the, all the, I shouldn’t lay all the accolades that, that he had his feet.
It, it was also that we were, we did we branched into research in a hard way and that’s been, and that’s become quite successful at the practice. And we’ve like clinical trials. Yeah. Clinical trials we’ve managed. So we, I managed to run the clinical practice and have several trials going on at once.
And that has been that that’s been good because the, and that’s the problem with clinical trials, right? It’s a catch 22 on the one hand you can’t, if you don’t have the trials, you don’t want to spend the money on salaries to hire the people that would be there for the trials. But on the other hand, you can’t get the trials.
If you don’t have the people that can handle the trial. And so finally we got into the situation where we have the people and we have the trials and it’s all working out pretty good. But that’d say for several years to actually implement them, for sure.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Cause I’ve known quite a few who have tried to pull that off and many very hard haven’t been able to. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Yeah. Very, very difficult. And again, but again, and interestingly, interestingly enough, once again, the key is. Staff with, so with my, with my CEO, COO, I hired a head of research who was very talented, very good. And she managed to really make this work and that’s been great. So it’s those two key spots, key positions that have really revolutionized my practice.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Nice. And just one last business question, just gimme one, your biggest mistakes that you from and others could avoid. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Ooh. There’s so many, it’s hard to choose . I mean I mean, I, the easiest thing that comes to mind of course, is hiring the wrong person at deposition, right? I mean, that’s the biggest mistake. That’s the biggest mistake I’ve, I’ve made, but O otherwise doing things that detract from the main core competency of the business and of the practice. Right. And so I was, I was low.
I was just recently tried to buy a building. Oh, and it’s, I didn’t have, I just, I didn’t, I didn’t have this, the, this, the infrastructure to be able to process that kind of decision. Well, and that was a large waste of time and it, it, it didn’t work out and this a big, big mess, but So again, so it’s get, yeah, so it’s, I guess it’s, it’s getting out, getting away from the core competency of the practice.
So trying to buy lasers, you don’t need trying to like, look into like, oh, maybe I should buy, you know, maybe I should buy a building when you’re not like you don’t have the people there to help you, me to really manage that decision effectively, that kind of thing. But that’s really, you know, kind of becomes a waste of time.
Catherine Maley, MBA: OK. Now let’s shift gears and talk about marketing. I can’t figure out who your demographics are or do you have preferred patients because you do offer an awful of solutions for an awful of people. So how are you targeting? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: We’re online, right? And so by being online, it used to be that by being, just by being online, you’re automatically targeting younger demographic.
Now we’re on social media. More than more than anything else. And so with social media, I’m targeting a younger demographic. I mean, for my procedure, for the nose that’s a younger demographic by definition. And so I want to be on social media no matter what. And because that’s the procedure, that’s the most that’s cause that’s the signature procedure to practice.
Then I certainly need to have a big presence, you know, on social media in general. So, so my practice skews, yeah. Cross it skews younger, but it does capture. I try to capture, you know, all, all demographics, but I like skewing younger. I mean, and I mean the city, I mean, are, I mean, LA and a place where there’s just, there’s, there’s a, a locally, there’s a large demographic of younger.
People who are beauty conscious. And so that works.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Your website looks fantastic. And, and it looks like it’s attracting, I would say the, you know, not the 20 year olds, it’s probably the older people, but your Instagram is great job attracting probably the younger people in’s world. I would think you could almost off of if you have only pick two marketing channels, I would say, get your website straight, get your SEO straight, and then just embrace Instagram.
Just embrace it. You can’t anyone who thinks that they can live without social media in today’s world, I think is diluting themselves because. People really the, if you think like a cosmetic patient, what’s the first thing they say, like, who are you? You know? Yeah. Who are you? Do I connect with you? Do I even like you who are your patients?
You know, what else, what do I know about you? By the way your Instagram, you’re doing a, your job on Instagram. I think you have 92,000 followers on Instagram. And for anyone who doesn’t know Dr. Rivkin, he looks like a super serious guy, right? So , you have to check him on, on Instagram. He has this alter ego.
It it’s dancing. It’s funny. I mean, I was so surprised. I thought this is not the doctor. I know, but you know what? It comes off very authentically and very funny like the Kardashian thing where she would every day, you know, and that was so creative. Anyway. He’s you have to check out his, I he’s doing job on it.
So tell me that also is not happening by accident. I know what it takes to pull that off. So what kind do you have making that happen? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: I have two full-time social media people. Yeah. And, and again, the reason about the reason for that is, is, is a hire. I, I, I hired a, a 23 year old who is, who knows that, who was great, who was like, she’s she actually, well, she’s Russian like me.
Well, she’s, she’s bill of Russian I’m Ukrainian. But she and she also is kind of like serious, serious, but, but she is very funny and she, like, she can edit video, like nobody else I’ve seen. She knows the trends she knows kind of like, and, and she’s just like, and she can do it in a way that’s that comes off very authentic to me because she understands me and she’s very, very funny.
And so it’s like, so people are like, oh, you’re so funny on Instagram. Not, you know, she’s really funny on Instagram and fortunately I can kind of ride along on her tail, but so it works, you know, is she collecting the music? Oh yeah. Oh, oh yeah.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Music’s really, really great too. It’s very entertaining. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: It’s all her it’s, it’s all her. And I, I mean, we, we talk about ideas and we talk about like, of course, you know, if we’re going to do certain things, but she’s really, she’s in charge of all this stuff, you know, she does a good job.
Catherine Maley, MBA: How much of your time would you say is spent how many hours a week would you say you’re doing it? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Oh, not very much these days. Not for thankfully. Yeah. It’s just, it would just be too, it would be too crazy if I, if I had to do that I think I mean, seriously, like maybe three hours in a week. Yeah.
Catherine Maley, MBA: A day. And just don’t you a, that. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: There’s some people that have a very natural talent for this, right.
NAK has a natural talent for it. Subo has a natural talent for it. I don’t have a natural talent for it like that. And I think those guys are, and I, and I think people need to understand that you’re not those guys like try to be, and don’t try to be like those guys, cause it’s just going to, it’s going to kill you.
So, you know, and, and I admire those guys so, so much for, for their skill at, at doing them. So, and I learn from them. I try to learn from them somewhat of, of what, you know, what works and kind of how, how they do things, but I’m not them. And I, I, I don’t want to be there.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I mean, you, you Nyak, I don’t know how he pulls this off, but he will do like he’ll do a walk in the park talking about collagen supplements and he is got 69,000 people that, and I’m thinking.
How is that possible? Amazing. Apparently I don’t know, what’s going on out there, but that’s amazing. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: It’s amazing. It’s amazing. And I think it’s just like, he just has a way of connecting with a camera. And, and that’s, that’s UN that’s unbelievable. And I think that’s and kudos to him because he is also super nice guy.
So I love seeing nice people and you know, really, really succeed.
Catherine Maley, MBA: But you’re, you’re absolutely right about, you don’t have to be the actor. If you’ve got the right person supporting you, she can make you look really good. Yeah. You know, she can add the music and the effects and the video editing. So that person, I think, is key in today’s cosmetic practice.
You know? Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Is there anything else you’re doing because like is PR still a big deal? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: You know, that’s an interesting question. I think that’s a really interesting question. PR when I first started out was a really big deal for me. Because I knew that, so my formula and I had like a little formula in my head and I, I figured, okay, I have a practice.
I started this practice on, at this, on the second floor of a hair salon, you know, in, in Westwood village, it was in hopes that they were going to come upstairs in hope that they were going to come upstairs. Those hopes were dashed very, very, very early cause these, the hairdressers are not interested and I’m like, dude, I, I will give you Botox and free.
Just send me patients. They’re like, ah, I don’t know. I don’t want too busy. Okay. So but yeah, I had 800 square feet and, and so I thought, well, who in that, who in their right mind would come to see me? Like in the spare salon? There’s like, no, this is crazy. And so, but I, but I, I. You know, I, I, my, my formula was basically claim real estate online with a, with a, with a website that was better than anybody else’s get people to the website by driving through, you know, by, by having good SEO and taking advantage of sites.
Oh, by the way city search, remember city search. Yep. City search made my practice cause I had a website and I had a decent website and city search crawled my website. And suddenly I was like, number one, Botox, Los Angeles. It was me. This is little 800 square foot office in the, his second floor of the hair salon, because I was because I was the best that city search could find on, you know, as a, as a, you know, as a.
And so, so yeah, so claim, so have real estate drive people to the real estate and then when they online and when they get there, provide them, first of all, an experience where it’s a good it’s, it’s, you know, a good website, but also with indicators of legitimacy and the indicators legitimacy are of course media.
And so those, that was the formula and that was, and that word worked quite well. These days PR wise, I think is PR is important, but less so because of social media. And I think it’s different now. Cause now it’s like influencers and, you know, on live, but still, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, I, I haven’t, I haven’t really had it very much recent, you know, over the last few years.
And hasn’t worked super well except his content for social media.
Catherine Maley, MBA: And, and collecting those logos, you know, the PR logos on your website. We still love that. We love the pictures, a little logos, so that’s fantastic. Have you had any luck with influencers? I hear spotty things, spotty. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Very spotty. Yeah. People that you think are going to be like, you know, are really going to make, make things blow up don’t and people that are like, you think are like, nobody’s sinless, like stream of patients through the door. And it’s just, it’s hard to predict. You have to be able to, and this is one of the challenges is you have to be able to look at someone’s an influencer’s page, a see if they’re real or not, like I’m, you know, see if their fans are, are local.
See if their fans are loyal, see if their fans follow their kind of, we see, think they’re real, like kind of really actually follow the recommendations. And they, so, so yeah, just seeing if they’re legit and are a good fit for you, I, I think is really important when you choose influencers. Cause you can really waste a lot of time.
Hopefully not money because hopefully people aren’t actually paying influencers to do procedures. But you can waste a lot of time doing that.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I do know a surgeon who on his patient intake farm, he literally says, how many followers do you have on Instagram? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: I know people like that too. It’s not a bad idea.
You know, I got to say, it’s not a bad idea.
Catherine Maley, MBA: There’s another guy in, like in the Midwest that you wouldn’t expect. And he literally has a whole page on influencers on his now bar. It says influencers. And when you go to the landing page, he’s literally discussing what he’s looking for in an influencer. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
And then he has them apply. So yeah.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: I mean, it’s a whole different, it’s interesting. It’s so interesting how this world is shifting so quickly. So it’s interesting to catch, keep up with it.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, I remember PR because it was so new, everything was so new. I could call the news stations myself locally. I, I was in San Francisco and I could call and I knew the guides and I would say, Hey, what do you what do you think about. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Filler for cheeks or something like they were like, what? That’s fantastic.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Catherine Maley, MBA: It was so new. And now, you know, what in the world can you possibly say, you know, that hasn’t been said.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Right?
Catherine Maley, MBA: That’s so here’s what I want to do. I need to talk about you and Ukraine and what you are doing to help that poor, poor country.
Now you’re saying you’re Ukrainian but I heard you say you’re from Boston and where, so where’s your accent. You don’t even have an accent. So what, what happened? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: I was not, I was not born in your country. No, there it is. No, I I’m from odea I’m oh, from Odessa Ukraine. I was born there. We came over to Boston in 75.
So I grew up in Boston. I was seven when I, when we came to. And we’re, I mean, I say you, I mean, it used to be, I would just say, oh, I’m just, I’m a Soviet Jew, but you know, these days that’s changed. And then I used to say, oh, I’m Russian, but that no longer do I say that I’m Russian, you know? Cause it’s just, it’s not, it’s, it’s just not true.
It’s not something a, it’s not true. And it’s not something I want to be true. You know, I I’m Ukrainian, you know, Ukrainian Jewish. And it’s been, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s just mind boggling. It’s just, it’s a, it’s, it’s absolutely incomprehensible and it’s such a, such a waste it’s enormous global waste of so much.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So let’s talk about what you’ve, it’s amazing what one person can do to make a difference. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: You know, I just kind try to do whatever I can. And I think that I try to leverage whatever. Things in my life I can leverage in order to make whatever difference I can. And so there’s, you know, there there’s a, there’s a group here that, that collects stuff and collects you know, some medical supplies and that kind of thing.
And I, we collected some things and sent it over and that was nice, but it was very fairly small scale. A friend of mine from Germany who was a very prominent researcher and, and speaker in our field. And she’s, she’s lovely, Patricia OGL she contacted me and she said, Hey, you know, you’re, you’re Ukraine.
I’m sure you’re very much, you know, watching what what’s, what’s going on. She said, I’m in touch with the Ukrainian medical, you know, the hospitals and the medical teams there. And I work with the medical students here in Germany because it’s so close to, you know, to everything there. She says there’s it’s actually a funny story.
She goes There’s things that we, we have run out of in Europe that I I’d like you to see if you have in America, you can ship over and say, oh yeah, of course, no problem. So we don’t have tourniquets. And I thought, and in my mind, I’m Turing little rubber things that you put on your hand in order to draw blood.
Right. And I’m like, Europe is running tourniquets. That’s crazy. So I called up McCasin and I said, Hey guys, I need a whole bunch of tourniquets to ship to Ukraine. You know, how many can you get to me? Like, you know, right away. And they’re like, oh, I mean, they’re like, we can get you half a million tourniquets.
Like, oh my God, that’s so great. I’m like, get it to me right away. They’re like, okay. I’m sure they thought it was completely insane. And so I called them Patricia and I said, Patricia, I can get you half a million tourniquets. And she said, What she’s like, what do you mean? You can gimme half a million. I can get you all this kind of stuff.
I can get you so much. They they’ll be there tomorrow. She’s like, really? I’m like, yeah. And it’s like, they’re like, I’m like, they like 10 cents of pop, you know, it’s, it’s totally no big deal. She’s like, whoa, whoa, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. She’s like, I up something’s lost in translation. So we figured out what she was talking about was, was tactical tourniquets.
And these are like battlefield thing that they’re like, they’re, they’ve got, so it’s, it’s, they’re very specific piece of equipment that you, you for major wounds that you, you, you know, cut off, you cut off blood supply to, you know, to when you’ve had like a, a piercing wound or shrapnel wound or whatever it is.
And there’s, you know, they’re, they’re more, they’re not super, they’re not super involved machinery, but they are a product that’s, that’s more involved than just a little piece of rubber. So those are so .
Catherine Maley, MBA: So was McKesson thinking you were talking about back on a journey kit or no. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: So McKesson thought, no, S I thought I was talking about the little piece of rubber for blood draws.
What did they said? And I said to McKesson, get me that little piece of rubber. So they sent me this big box of half a million things of rubber. And then I talked to Patricia and she’s like, no, that’s not what we’re talking about. Of course they’re getting like, use like left for a piece of rubber to drop blood.
That’s not what we need. We need something for tactical injuries that, that, you know, it’s very specific. And so yes, I had to send that back, but I did find, I was able to find a bunch of those specific things that they needed, and those are lifesaving pieces of equipment. So we managed to ship a several hundred of those over, and that was really nice.
And so I felt like, gosh, that’s okay. I’m in a somewhat unique position where I have information from the ground and I can tailor the kinds of supplies that we can send. Through that information to make sure it’s the most important things that they need. And so, but I’m like, but I’m one person, what can I do?
And, oh, well, you know, I’m a fairly big Allergan injector. You know, I’m very much involved in, I’m involved with the company, a trainer, injector researcher. I’m a, you know, KOL and I, I order a lot of stuff and I know everybody from top to bottom in, in, in the, and so I, I, I contacted and at some point there’s and I was.
With the Ukraine because people, companies were contributing and they said, oh well we’ve, we’ve done all this, all this stuff like we’ve contributed, you know, several million bucks. We’ve, we’ve, you know, we we’ve stopped the sale of, of aesthetic supplies over there. We have, we, we back anybody within the company that wants to contribute.
We match those funds. Now this is, this is really. Impressive. This is really impressive. What you guys are doing. This is something that really people should hear about, because I never, I hadn’t heard about that. They’re really doing significant kinds of things, not just paying lip service, they’re really doing significant things.
And I said, that’s really impressive. What, what do you guys think about doing more? Because you know, do you guys want to do something with me? Because they know Patricia, so, so well, they she’s very involved in the company a lot as well. I’m like me and well, we can figure out what people really need and then we can, we can, maybe you guys can help us really ship a large, large amounts over.
And it was not even like, I mean, they, it wasn’t even a conversation. They were like, you say it, you tell me what you want to go. You tell us what, what you want to go and we’ll ship it. We’ll do it. I’m like, what’s my limit. And they’re like, There’s not there’s no, we’re Allergan. There’s no limit. I’m like, okay, let me see what I can do.
So managed to. So finally going back and forth and, you know, trying to find stuff we shipped over. Finally, we managed to ship over. 15 tons of water treatment equipment over into Goliaths, into Ukraine now. And the interesting thing about that is that that sounds like it’s not like super critical.
Like they need other medical stuff more, but Russia is using access to water as a, as a weapon. And so they spike, they poison Wells, they they’ll cut off water supply to major population centers. And so having that kind of water treatment thing is water treatment equipment is, is critical. I see. So I was very, very pleased that they could, I mean, that’s a major undertaking to ship that much stuff over and they did it without batting an eye and to their, to their benefit.
I, I will, I, you know, it’s.
Catherine Maley, MBA: So they didn’t, they charter a 7 47 and you got to fill it up with as much as you could.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: It was more than that. It was more than, I mean, basically I, so I, yeah, so I, I thought it was a good story. So I, I sent it to, I sent it to median and I saw you.
Catherine Maley, MBA: I watched Fox religiously,
Alexander Rivkin, MD: so, so fi so I was talking about it.
I’m like, well, how do I, how do I kind of basically what Allergan said is, look, here’s our number, do it. Right. And so I thought of it, how do I make it? So I made, so to make an image out of it, I said, look, they’re giving me this 7 47 to stuff over. Right. But it’s a 7 47 is it’s more than what I ship was more than 7 47.
You know, I think it was about, it was one and a half of those. So it was it was fantastic. And then, so now I’m, we’ll see, I’m, I’m trying to do another one. I’ve located supplies. I’m trying to figure out how to get them over.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Well also what was interesting was that, because the next question is, well, how do you get them to the right in the right hands and tell them that like you have to go through Poland.
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Right. And so that stuff that I have, because again, because I. I, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s funny. It’s funny how this works, because so here in LA, I know a an ophthalmologist who’s also Ukrainian, who is doing a lot of work in this, in this space. And so I worked with her to some degree for, with, with some fundraisers and then she connected to me, to somebody else she connected to somebody else.
And those people have, are from made for more, more major organizations that have infrastructure on the ground, where as soon over, over there. So as soon as stuff hits, as soon as the material hits Poland, they’ve got the trucks going out. They’ve got the delivery systems all set up, they know where, you know, where the places are that need them.
Supplies the most in which supplies should be delivered. So that’s, that part is no problem that those systems are worked out well. So it’s worked out. I mean, I’m hoping you know, whatever I can do, I’m hoping just to, to, to do as much as possible.
Catherine Maley, MBA: And if somebody did want to help isn’t there an organization called Hope for Ukraine?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: Hope. Yeah. So there’s well, so I’m doing, I do a GoFundMe. And then, so that’s so, and I we’re using those funds to help, you know, to do defray any of the costs that are associated with trying to, you know, send as much as we can. And then also there’s the organization that this or ophthalmologist that I was talking about has an organization called hope to Ukraine.
So it’s hope. And then number two, Ukraine and they’re they do, they do quite a bit also, and I’m affiliated with them.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Good for you back to much since you left after stem. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: I went back in, I went back in 91 and then actually it’s funny, Allergan sent me to lecture in 2000 and I think 2012. Wow. And that was, that was lots of fun.
That was interesting to see all the, kind of all these, I don’t remember any of it, you know, it’s, it’s always so little, so it was interesting.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. Do you still have family there or did everyone move to America? How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: No, it’s all I don’t have. I don’t, I don’t have family there, but it was, I went, but it’s, it was interesting seeing Odessa.
It’s a beautiful place, you know, park and cafes and you know, I mean, it’s, it’s a, it’s, it’s a nice place. I don’t want it to stay that way.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Right. All right. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate you being on and kudos to your work. You know, both in business and in philanthropic. Congratulations on that. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Alexander Rivkin, MD: It is now click all. the, really the branding now I’ve I switched to Rivkin Aesthetics, I think that’s. Yeah, but actually, but there was a, but there was a point to that where I wanted it to be not just about me.
So, and that’s something, that’s a point that people I think, have to think about. Do you want it to be just about you? Cause it’s easier if it’s just about you, but then it’s harder for your extenders if it’s just about you. So then’s the, you know, so, but so now I’ve switched to Rivkin Aesthetics where I know that.
Under Rivkin Aesthetics that can still have those sub brands that work well, absolutely.
Catherine Maley, MBA: Because frankly, in social media today, though, it’s got to go with you. It’s got to be your name. It’s so difficult. I get thinking long term and like, how do you pass this off if your name’s all over it, but did it, so you just have to think like, are you going to think short term, long term, but there, there are pros and cons to all of it, but anyway, thank you so much. How does this relate to you going from private practice to academia?
Okay, terrific. Okay. Thanks everybody. We are going to wrap it up now for Beauty and the Biz. A big thanks to Dr. Rivkin for sharing his journey of going from private practice to academia.
And if you have any questions or feedback for me, you can go ahead and leave them at my website at www.CatherineMaley.com, or you can certainly DM me on Instagram @CatherineMaleyMBA.
If you’ve enjoyed this episode on Beauty and the Biz, please head over to Apple Podcasts and give me a review and subscribe to Beauty and the Biz so you don’t miss any episodes. And of course, please share this with your staff and colleagues.
And we will talk to you again soon. Take care.
-End transcript for the “Private Practice TO Academia — with Alexander Rivkin, MD” Podcast.
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