Coaching, long-term staff, and innovative programs have turned into a recipe for success for Judy Hayden, owner of Lice Clinics of America® in Lexington, Kentucky.
“A family member introduced me to Lice Clinics of America, and I was floored by the technology,” she said. “I had battled head lice on my own and I just thought, ‘this needs to be everywhere.’”
The technology that Judy is referring is comes in the form of AirAllé®, an FDA-cleared Class I medical device clinically proven to kill live lice and more than 99 percent of eggs using warm air to dehydrate lice and nits. The entire process takes about an hour and is guaranteed to be effective. Lice Clinics of America is the exclusive provider of treatment using the device.
Traditional lice products require multiple treatments, tedious nitpicking, and their active ingredients are pesticides—neurotoxins, no less. Research has shown that most lice are immune to the pesticides—called pyrethroids—and the chemicals have also been linked to health problems in children. AirAllé treatment involves no pesticides, and because it kills lice and eggs no nitpicking is required.
As a mom and a cosmetologist, Judy was familiar with presence of head lice in the Lexington area, and the frustration and fear associated with traditional lice products. “There is no reason to spend weeks battling head lice or to use dangerous pesticides on a child’s head,” she said. “I knew we really needed this service here and thought, ‘why not me?’”
That was in 2015, and business has grown so much that Judy is planning to open two more clinics.
Lice Clinics of America provided Judy with monthly coaching and marketing support to get the clinic off the ground, but a combination of hiring the right people and some “win-win” programs for customers, schools, and medical providers have enabled the clinic to soar.
She knows employee turnover can be strain on a small business. “I have long-term employees that have been with me for three years,” Judy said. “We have built a lot of trust and work well together.”
The clinic also become a preferred vendor for Fayette County, which pays for treatment for qualifying students in the local school system. This led to similar relationships with three other counties in the state. “Getting that first connection with Fayette County was critical because it opened the door to the other counties, and it helps counties and schools keep head lice in check,” Judy said.
Then came Lice insurance. Clinic customers can purchase additional protection against head lice for $5 per month. If they ever have head lice again, after the initial guarantee expires, they can receive up to three more treatments at dramatically reduced rates. This program came from a tip from a fellow clinic owner.
“As soon as people experience the AirAllé they never want to use traditional lice treatments again,” Judy said. “A few dollars per month gives them the piece of mind that if they do get lice again, they can be lice-free again in an hour.”
“Customers are thrilled, and we get a little recurring revenue,” Judy said. Another win-win.
Finally, the clinic reaches out to schools, daycares and doctors’ offices when one of their students or patients is treated for head lice. “We let them know that someone in their circle has head lice and they let other parents know,” Judy said. “They really appreciate it because it opens their eyes to the realities of head lice in our community, we get more word-of-mouth recommendations.”
All of these programs have evolved over time, trying new things, getting feedback, and analyzing results. Feedback from customers, educators, colleagues, and the parent company has helped Judy and Lice Clinics of America – Lexington, build a winning formula for success.