Although he worked in sales and marketing from the age of 18, Andrew James was always drawn to the creative side of business. “I had a great level of respect for artists and how they create beauty and innovation with their incredible imaginations and hard work,” he explained.
James once worked weekends as a make-up artist for MAC Cosmetics, hoping to learn the fundamentals necessary to excel at the special effects make-up he loves. He never thought he would be working professionally in the aesthetics field or in the medical field, but that’s where the road to his job as CEO of ONE Med Spa started.
“When I was 27, I met Dr. Jonathan Beach of Beach Medical Services. He offered me a position to manage his medical practice and I found myself trying to talk him out of hiring me. I asked him to tell me why he believed I could do what he was asking. His response was something I had never heard from any other boss. He said, ‘I don’t need you to be a medical office manager. I don’t need you to have medical experience. I need someone I can trust and someone that I know will do whatever it takes to succeed’”. At that point, I knew I had to take the job.”
The opening of ONE Med Spa in October 2012 was James’ first major project as the manager of Beach Medical Services. Even though he had never worked in the medical field, his job was to create a medical spa out of thin air. “I was given a budget, direction, the basic services the office could provide, and tasked with finding a way to get clients in the door.” ONE Med Spa is the first, and only, physician-owned and operated medical grade spa in Plattsburgh. “It’s high end, but adorable,” James said of the business, “and no matter who you are, you can experience it and feel great about yourself.”
FOLLOWING ARE EXCERPTS FROM SB’S INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW JAMES:
The mission of ONE Med Spa: “At first the mission was to provide high end, medical grade services at an affordable price. However, that statement alone cannot describe what we focus on each day for our clients. Our mission has evolved over time. Currently it is to make people feel great about themselves.”
My real job: “I consider myself a working CEO. I don’t have a huge office or a big, fancy desk. I’m down in the trenches with the rest of my team on a daily basis.”
My favorite things about being in business in Plattsburgh:
“Plattsburgh has an amazing ability to nurture a small business. If the community embraces you as a business, that’s all you need.
“Plattsburgh, like many other small cities, has begun to focus on the niche markets. It is really open to offering specialty services to not only the local community, but also the tourists who pass through.
“The sense of community among business owners. Before opening ONE Med Spa, I never had the luxury of not competing with someone. I’ve really noticed support from other local business owners and I look at every opportunity as a way to share insights and to grow together.”
The best advice I’ve ever received: “Ask, ‘What can I do to help you?’ This has changed the way I manage. I was a young manager and the pressure of leading a large staff was really taking a toll on my attitude. I was productive as a manager, but I never realized that just because I had the title didn’t mean I had the right attitude. I ordered instead of asked. I lead by expectation and not by example. It took a hard realization on my part and a huge push in the right direction to change my approach and really learn to be a leader and not just a manager.”
My advice to others: “Do whatever makes you happy. Don’t let what one person or even a group of people perceive as normal stop you from achieving your goals. The only person that is affected by your regrets is you.”