Episode 111

Growing up with two ill parents, Dr. Patricia Wexler decided she wanted to be a doctor at the age of 5, and it was a goal she never wavered on. Or as she put it, “I’ve been pre-med my whole life.” In this episode, the legendary cosmetic dermatologist takes us through the history of her incredible career, from opening her own office while 7 months pregnant to her evolution as a product developer and brand builder. She also reveals how she makes time for her husband of 47 years, two daughters and two grandchildren by the simple – though not always easy – decision to not rush through life.

 

AnnouncerWelcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™ hosted by Jodi Katz, Founder and Creative Director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzHey everybody, it's Jodi Katz, your host of WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™ podcast. I'm so excited to bring you this episode featuring Dr. Patricia Wexler. She's a super famous dermatologist, and it was so lovely to get to know her and hear about her career, and if you missed last week's episode, it featured Camille McDonald. She's a consultant. I hope you enjoy the shows.

I am so excited to be sitting with Patricia Wexler. She is a cosmetic dermatologist. Thank you for joining us on WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™.
Patricia WexlerThank you for inviting me.
Jodi KatzI'm super excited to be here with you. I want to start with my favorite question, because it's normal question for everybody. How will you spend your day today?
Patricia WexlerWell, I'm starting it here, which is making me very happy, and I go from here to the office, which is what I do every day. I'm usually there at 8:30 in the morning. I try to have my breakfast there, so I get there a little bit early. I start patients at 9:00 and I take a break during lunch and I eat with my husband. We work together. We have four doctors in the office. We usually have a meeting. Although I like the office to have lunch together, we have a large staff room and we eat with everybody in the office.
Jodi KatzSo there's no appointments during the lunch hour?
Patricia WexlerThere are no appointments during the lunch hour. Sometimes we have a meeting about the new technology. We've gotten four new lasers in the past six months, and we talk about our experience with them and sometimes we talk about movies and the latest things we're watching on television. And then we go back to work for the rest of the day till about 6:00.
Jodi KatzAnd how many days a week are you in the practice? In the office?
Patricia WexlerI work five days a week. My husband works five days a week. Everybody else works four.
Jodi KatzWell, we're going dive deep into your experience as a dermatologist, as a mother, as a wife, and a product and brand builder. So, let's start with my favorite question from when we had our precall, what inspired you to become a physician?
Patricia WexlerWell, my parents were both ill from the time I was young, so I decided when I was five I was going to be a doctor and make them better. Little did I know it's not that easy. It's easy to become a doctor relatively to make them better. So, I was pre-med at five and my mother, who was very progressive, she was a personal assistant when I was growing up, an assistant executive. She went to school and told them to give me advanced science books and advanced readers. And I was in public school when she did that and she drove me to the test for Music and Art and Bronx Science, and I got into both schools and I decided I wasn't going to be a professional violinist. So, I went to Bronx Science and I've just been pre-med my whole life. I never thought of doing anything else.
Jodi KatzIt's amazing, because there's not that many people who really know what they want to be when they grow up, like when they're five. I wanted to be an archeologist or I wanted to own a jewelry store. So neither of those became passions that I wanted to follow. And there really are only, I feel like a few people in each cohort who say “I'm going to do this” and then they actually go to do it. Do you remember that feeling when you were at Bronx Science, just the total commitment to becoming a doctor?
Patricia WexlerYes but I had other interests. I was an art minor in NYU and I worked in the art department part-time for extra money and also for the experience, and I love art. I collect ... I have a big art collection of photography that we started 30 years ago. So, I still love art and I like doing philanthropy, but my passion is medicine. And I've always loved helping people. When I was a little girl, I remember reading to a blind child in our building. So I've always loved helping people. That was my passion.
Jodi KatzWas your mother able to see you become a physician?
Patricia WexlerShe saw me become a physician, but she didn't see me successful. She had dementia and my father had dementia as well, so ... And I took care of them. I didn't cure them, but I took care of them, and that drove me to be involved with Citymeals on Wheels. I've been on the board for 31 years.
Jodi KatzOh, that's wonderful.
Patricia WexlerSo, because I was lucky enough to be able to take care of my parents, but there were so many elderly people who were abandoned by their family and children and they have nobody and more women than men actually, because men have veterans benefits and they have people they can count on. But women are sort of abandoned and we ... There are so many people that are being helped by Citymeals on Wheels. So, I'm very committed to them.
Jodi KatzThat's a really long partnership too.
Patricia WexlerIt is. It is.
Jodi KatzWhat have you seen in terms of the growth of the organization through the 30 years?
Patricia WexlerOh, we deliver over 2 million meals a year and every penny we collect is given to feeding the elderly. There are no administrative costs taken off that. So, it's really been a very emotional experience for me seeing how well they do. I mean, these are people who had very constructive live. They were teachers, they were singers, they were in the arts, they had families, they were very productive people, and then they were ... Most of them live in studio apartments. When they open the door for their meal delivery, sometimes the door hits the bed. And they're isolated in hot weather. They're isolated in cold weather. When it's raining, when it's snowing, they never leave their apartments. And during Sandy, they were, they didn't have electricity for a week and they would have starved. They would have died without these deliveries. In fact, during Sandy, we delivered 62,000 extra meals to lower Manhattan to the people who lost electricity.
Jodi KatzWell, this initiative sounds incredible and I see how it ties into your devotion to helping people.
Patricia WexlerSo I really am ... It sounds silly, but in cosmetic dermatology, it helps them also, because people with low self esteem or people as they age and they see the aging process and yet we live much longer, feel very depressed about it.
Jodi KatzThat's actually pretty fascinating, that you're part therapist, I guess in that sense too, right?
Patricia WexlerVery much so.
Jodi KatzHave the conversations around not feeling relevant in the workplace become more prevalent in the past 10 years or so.
Patricia WexlerI'd say almost every patient has a reason they're doing it. They never talk about the vanity as much as what they feel about what's happened to them.
Jodi KatzRight. That's really interesting. We ... In New York, many people have access to great physicians, right? So, to be able to actually see a challenge in front of them and notice the lack of relevance, because of what they think of as an age barrier or whatever, and to be able to actually fix it, right, address it and get that confidence back, that's a big deal.
Patricia WexlerYeah, I have patients who are in their seventies who are still working at the UN and they really do these things because they are productive and they want to be taken seriously. They don't want to be treated as elderly people.
Jodi KatzRight, right. That's so interesting. That's not ... Never a word you use in your practice, no?
Patricia WexlerNo. Ageism is a problem, because there are people who ... Ageism should never be thought of.
Jodi KatzRight. As a culture, I don't think that we value wisdom and experience the way that we should.
Patricia WexlerWell, for my sake, I hope we value it, because I'm still working. I've just renewed my lease ...
Jodi KatzGood.
Patricia WexlerSo, I have no intention of retiring.
Jodi KatzHow long did you renew it for?
Patricia WexlerI renewed for another seven years.
Jodi KatzOh, good. Good. Congratulations.
Patricia WexlerThank you.
Jodi KatzYou'll be there.
Patricia WexlerI'll be there.
Jodi KatzSo, let's talk about your relationship with your husband. You mentioned that you have lunch together every day. You've been together for 47 years, right?
Patricia WexlerMarried for 47 years and working together every day, yes.
Jodi KatzSo, his background was not dermatology?
Patricia WexlerHis background was initially surgery. He did cancer surgery and I think if you do cancer surgery for long time, you eventually burn out. And he used lasers actually before dermatology and his specialty, he was a laser specialist, so I told him he should join the practice, because we hadn't used lasers at that point. When I ... A doctor, a very old wise doctor said to me, "Pities the doctor that's still doing what they learned in their training." You have to keep evolving. So, I said he should join us in the practice. And he was one of the first people in our practice to use the lasers and he specializes in the practice in lasers, ultrasound, radio frequency, and he does surgical procedures.
Jodi KatzSo, let's talk about this re-education of oneself, right? I think this is important not just in your industry, but every business.
Patricia WexlerI agree.
Jodi KatzWhat did you have to do along the way to keep relevant and stay fresh on these new ideas?
Patricia WexlerWell, we constantly go to lecture, to conferences and we pick and choose which ones. I don't go to the basic conferences anymore. We go to the real specialized conferences. And then they have exhibits that talk about, that show the machines that they're lecturing about. And usually, we either visit an office that has the technology or more likely they bring the technology in, they teach us how to use it, and we'll use it for a month or so and see if we like it. And I don't buy it before I see if I ... As I say, I date before I marry. Not much, but I'll try the technology before I commit to it. And this year we bought four different technologies, because they're much better, the healing is quicker and the results are very dramatic. So, we keep ... The technology can get outdated quickly, and then you're upgrading it to newer technology.
Jodi KatzAnd when you were early in your career and looking to continue your learning, did you find other physicians were willing to teach you and guide you what they knew at the time?
Patricia WexlerWell, the funny thing is when I started, there was not really cosmetic dermatology. Dr. Orentreich was doing silicone and he was doing dermabrasion and that was it for cosmetic dermatology. But when I started, I was one of the first people, I think I was the first person on the east coast to do botulinum toxin, 1990. So, I've been doing it for 28 years and I did tumescent liposuction in 1986 and at that point when I was doing liposuction, the only filler we had was collagen, which was not very efficient. And I developed a technique with my friend in California to harvest the fat sterilely, centrifuged it and use it for injections. So, we were doing fat transplantation in 1986. So, they weren't really teaching us, we were developing these procedures.
Jodi KatzSo did ... Were you able to be first to these innovations because you were seeking these out? Were you super active and ambitious in this?
Patricia WexlerWe were progressive. We were innovative in the liposuction and the fat transplantation, certainly in the botulinum toxin, and we've been progressive. And when I learn a technique, I certainly learn it the way they teach it, but you can use it and cater it to what you think it would be beneficial for and how you think you can make it heal quicker and you can make it work for you in a way you think is better. So, you have to think out of the box. And in medicine we do things out of the box. We do what we think is safe and efficient. So, you have to be progressive, you can't just be cookie cutter.
Jodi KatzRight. So, these new technologies and new machines that are coming along, I would assume that at this point in your career, if one of these techniques and machines has your stamp of approval, it's worth its weight in gold?
Patricia WexlerPeople tend to ask me if I like the machines, but I've never been a consultant for any company. I think I'm unusual in that respect, that I've never been a consultant, because I feel that it would be, for me, a conflict of interest, if I was a consultant for company.
Jodi KatzSo, when you say consultant, be a spokesperson for one of these devices?
Patricia WexlerWell paid spokesperson. I feel very good about endorsing something I believe in, but if I was paid, I think people would think that it was a conflict of interest.
Jodi KatzRight. So this is contrary to the influence or culture that we live in now, right?
Patricia WexlerRight. They've certainly, they asked me to be consultants, but I said I'm ... For them, I'm more value if I just say what I feel and if I don't like something I say what I feel.
Jodi KatzThat's great. So, let's talk about your early years. Well, before there wasn't even cosmetic dermatology, but entering the world of dermatology and you actually on the front lines of the aids epidemic at the time, right? So tell us how that happened.
Patricia WexlerWell, I started as an internist. I was a board certified internist. I still am a board certified internist. And then I went into infectious diseases. In fact, I was one of the authors of the first paper of blood transfusion and grid. It was called Gay-Related Immune Deficiency. That's how far back I go.

And I did a lot of these studies on AZT and the drugs that were early used, but at the time, both of my parents were actually dying and I had newborns at home and I just felt very depressed about ... I'm a very optimistic person and I also don't have very good boundaries with my patients. So every death was very personal. And it was too hard for me to have so much negativity in my life, and I've always wanted to be a dermatologist. So, the chief of dermatology actually in the hospital said, "You really know a tremendous amount of dermatology. Would you like the residency?" And I said, "Yes." I didn't even hesitate. So, I did another residency after medicine and infectious diseases and I did three more years of dermatology. So, I did the long route.
Jodi KatzGreat.
Patricia WexlerI think that's the passion. If it's worth it, it doesn't matter how long it takes.
Jodi KatzHow were you able to ... Of all the things you could have practice, hone in on dermatology?
Patricia WexlerFirst of all, I had a very bad skin growing up and I went to a very good dermatologist in New York named Louis Wexler. And I happened to marry his nephew.
Jodi KatzSo, how old were you when you went to Lewis Wexler?
Patricia WexlerI was probably about 16 or 17.
Jodi KatzSo, high school? Years before you met your husband?
Patricia WexlerYes, and I was at NYU and I was in the cafeteria and I had just come back from visiting him and I was at the table in the lunch room and my husband was at the table and he said, "Where were you?" And I said, "I was at the dermatologist." And he said, "His uncle's the best dermatologist." And I said, "No, my dermatologist is the best." And it turned out to be the same person.
Jodi KatzThat's awesome.
Patricia WexlerAnd he asked me out on a date, and that's the history.
Jodi KatzSo your teen acne inspired a conversation with a stranger, which inspired the first date.
Patricia WexlerRight, right. Actually I always thought of him as my uncle because we were very close. He was a wonderful man, and he actually gave a lot of dermatologists their start when they finished, and I won't mention names. They're very famous dermatologists. He let them work in his office before they got their own offices. And he did studies on Rogaine, and he was a very well-known dermatologist in his day.
Jodi KatzSo what was an acne treatment like for you at the time as a teen? What were the options?
Patricia WexlerOh, god. It was terrible. There was nothing. There was no Accutane. They used sun lamps, which we know how dangerous they are for skin cancer. And nothing was very effective. So I actually went to somebody who advertised in a magazine, and I had a phenol peel, which is a very, very strong peel that made my whole face crust up. But it actually got rid of the acne, and it helped tremendously with all the stains on my skin.

And I saw what it did for me, it gave me much more confidence, and it made me feel good about myself, so I was very interested in dermatology. In fact my mother, who was very meticulous about skin, used to take me to the store and get me the most expensive makeup, which is probably the worst thing she could have done for me. She got me Erno Laszlo makeup, which had a lot of oils but that just fed the acne. She did take me to NYU skin and cancer, Dr. Shaletta was there at the time, and he gave me Retin A. At the time it was in the liquid form, and it was like an acid. It just burned the skin off. So, acne treatment was in its infancy at that point.
Jodi KatzRight, but how incredible that your mother is willing to help? She is pretty innovative as a mother to take you to all of these places, right?
Patricia WexlerOh, yes. She was amazing. My mother was amazing in a million ways. I mean she was very progressive with clothing. And she was an amazing stylish person. She would wear Halston and Trijère and Comme des Garcons, she even wore Issey Miyake and I remember she went to Bergdorf and got the first Prada bag that was in the United States. People would stop her on the street and ask her where she got her clothing, where she got her hair cut. She was a beautiful woman. She was quite a site.
Jodi KatzSo let's go back to being a teenager and having this peel that was super aggressive. Where you scared?
Patricia WexlerYeah, when I saw my face crust I was scared, but yet I wasn't that scared. For some reason I had faith in it. I guess I was desperate at the time.
Jodi KatzRight. I think this is a story that never ends, right? So many teens are suffering with the emotional impact of acne and they'll try anything.
Patricia WexlerAnd that's what is so satisfying in my own practice, when you have a child, and they are children, come to you and they won't look you in the eyes because they have terrible cystic acne and you give them a course of Accutane and they leave smiling, looking at you in the eyes. You know you've done something very life-changing for them.
Jodi KatzThat's awesome, thank you for sharing those teen stories with us. So let's talk about when you opened your first practice, after you did the focus on dermatology.
Patricia WexlerWell, I was seven months pregnant when I finished my training and I shared offices with people, I would sublet space. My first place that I sublet was in the village. It was a basement office and it had one window in the kitchen, and that didn't last long because it just was too small and it was very hard to manipulate. And then I had the idea of subletting an office that had three gynecologists and that was great because it had hundreds of women walking through it. So I got a lot of patients quickly because there was me, the dermatologist, and all these women coming through. But I got too busy and they needed more space so then I sublet another office. So I was just sort of the gypsy moving around and it was very difficult to keep continuity. So then I said I wanted to open my own office. I went from bank to bank trying to get a loan and I was pregnant again. This time I was 7 months pregnant and nobody wanted to give a loan because here I was, a woman seven months pregnant and wanted a big loan to open an office. So I thought I was going to not be able to do it. But I met a woman banker who had faith in me and she gave me the loan and I opened my office, which is the same office I have now. And she's still my banker.
Jodi KatzThat's awesome.
Patricia WexlerYeah, but that was a low.
Jodi KatzYeah, I bet.
Patricia WexlerThat was a big low. And not only was I able to open the office, but they wanted me to take a life insurance policy on a lease which no other person in the building had. There was no man in the office that had to take a life insurance policy. And they wanted my husband to cosign the lease, which is ridiculous. It was definitely sexist and a big lesson for me that you were never going to be treated equally. So that was a low point.
Jodi KatzRight, and how many months of no's did you have to go through before you found the banker who had faith in you?
Patricia WexlerA lot of months of no. I went to every bank until I went to Citi Bank, at that time she was at Citi Bank. She looked at me, and she's a tough cookie and that's the only way you can get that way as a woman banker. And she said "Patty, if you're late with on payment you'll never survive." And I was never late with a payment. She's now been my banker, I've had this office for 26 years and of course, I've never been late with a payment and I've expanded the office. I've bought homes through her and she's always been wonderful and good to us.
Jodi KatzDid you always have the inner confidence that it would be fine, or did the no's make you second-guess yourself?
Patricia WexlerI'd like to call it confidence. I don't know if it was just foolhardy. But I always forged the head. It was confidence to just decide the two of us would go to medical school together with no money. We did it ourselves on loans. We did a lot of things that were just based on love and passion, and I guess confidence. We had no income when we opened these offices. We just opening an office and waiting for patients to come in. I don't know if that's confidence or stupid. But we did it.
Jodi KatzThat's awesome. So you have a lot of experience developing beauty products, you've done this behind the scenes for Donna Karan.
Patricia WexlerI met Donna at her trunk show, and 25 years ago she decided she wanted to have a skin care line. She was developing it and asked me if I would try it and it was terrible. I said, it's like a drug-store brand, it's not good. And she said you mind giving them advice? And after a year of just friendship we designed the whole line and I developed a fragrance. I developed Cashmere Mist. I said, "I think it's time you paid me something," so we negotiated a contract and then a year after that she licensed it to Lauder. By the way, Cashmere Mist is still in the top 5 in the country 25 years later.

After that, Calvin asked me if I would develop a makeup line and skincare for him, and I did that. When Lever discontinued that, Revlon asked me if I would develop a skincare line for them, I said if they used kinerase as the active ingredient, it's a plant DNA. I developed Almay Kinetin for them, and that was an amazing success. After that was launched, they already had the product developed, Bath and Body asked if I would develop an eponymous name Patricia Wexler, M.D. for them and that's been ten years. So I've been developing products for quite a long time.
Jodi KatzSo after working behind the scenes for all those big names, what did it feel like to finally have your name on the product?
Patricia WexlerIt was nice not to be the bridesmaid. I had total control. Advertising, package inserts, product, packaging, and it was great because it's exactly what I wanted. It was very, very successful and it still has great demand. Right now, I'm trying to reformulate it and I've been given rights back to it for the formulations and the trademarks and I want to take it into another direction.
Jodi KatzSo, Bath and Body Works, your contract with them expired and they handed everything back to you?
Patricia WexlerYes.
Jodi KatzThat's incredible.
Patricia WexlerThey gave everything back to me, so now I'm working with people to try to take it in another direction in my spare time.
Jodi KatzThere's so many times when someone's name is on a brand and it doesn't belong to them any more, no matter what they try they can't get it back so it's incredible.
Patricia WexlerWell it was in the contract that it wouldn't come back to me but they were very nice and they did give it, because they can't use it. It's also in the contract they can't use it so they have no use for it. They were very nice and gave it to me.
Jodi KatzThat's a smart contract.
Patricia WexlerYeah, it was very nice of them. They were very nice to work with.
Jodi KatzNow, what do you see in the next five years for your own brand, your own name?
Patricia WexlerThere are new products, there's a new direction I can take it in. The MMP technology, the MMP inhibitor, is a really valid technology and I want to keep it but there are other things we can do with it. It does the same thing as an LED. It inhibits the proteinases that break down collagen and elastic tissue. It's really a great technology. We can take it in other directions, and I'd like to see where we can take it.
Jodi KatzSo you are a super ambitious person, you also seem very calm and serene.
Patricia WexlerEverybody uses that word for me.
Jodi KatzCalm?
Patricia WexlerCalm.
Jodi KatzIs this your everyday, you feel like this?
Patricia WexlerDepends on who I'm with. I try to be very calm, I really am. If something doesn't work, I've been told you eliminate it, that's all. If something's not working, don't push it. I try to keep things in my life that are good and healthy and don't do things that aren't good and healthy.
Jodi KatzSo in your business, you're with people when they're most vulnerable. It's probably a common thing, no matter what their age is. So you have to keep it together for them. So when you go home, do you ever feel like you need to give yourself a chance to fall apart?
Patricia WexlerI only fall apart when there's a personal problem with my family. Definitely the low points in my life were when my parents passed away. They died in the same year and I felt like I had a tremendous void in my body. I really had a physical reaction for a year. For me, they were like my children, I had taken care of them for so many years. I felt like I lost children and that was very hard for me and I did fall apart emotionally.
Jodi KatzYou had little kids of your own, at the time.
Patricia WexlerI had little children of my own, so that was very hard. When one of my grandchildren was born, he was born with a very rare syndrome where he had anaphylaxis and he stopped breathing all the time. In a week, he stopped breathing three times. Nobody could figure out why. That's when I was thankful I was a dermatologist. It turned out to be a very rare germinologic disease. During the anaphylaxis a rash came out, a very specific rash, and when he got the EpiPen the rash went away so none of the doctors diagnosed it in the hospital. When I saw the rash he had the attack in front of me, I knew the name of the disease immediately and we were able to treat it. I actually saved his life.
Jodi KatzOh my goodness, that's incredible.
Patricia WexlerThat's the time I said, "thank God," I knew he was meant to be ours and I was meant to be a dermatologist because there are only 300 children in the country with this syndrome.
Jodi KatzOh my goodness, how old is he now?
Patricia WexlerNow, he is nine and there are 150,000 children in the country with this disease and they think 3,000 children diagnosed with crib death actually have this disease.
Jodi KatzOh my goodness.
Patricia WexlerThat's the time I felt I was really meant to be a dermatologist.
Jodi KatzHow old was he when this was happening?
Patricia WexlerEight months.
Jodi KatzSuch a baby.
Patricia WexlerHe was a baby and he kept having anaphylaxis and the treatment is totally different for his problem than for regular peanut allergy. He's not allergic to peanuts, not allergic to shellfish, it has nothing to do with that. It's the mast cell reaction which is what happens with peanut allergy but he's not allergic to that, it's a whole different syndrome.
Jodi KatzSo what is the syndrome called?
Patricia WexlerMast Cell Disease.
Jodi KatzMast Cell?
Patricia WexlerYeah, and there are three different forms and it's very rare but I was so thankful that I was with him when it happened because nobody could have diagnosed it if they weren't, and they never see it because he gets the EpiPen and then goes to the hospital. It was just a fluke that I could be there.
Jodi KatzRight, with this gift of knowledge. Oh my God, it's incredible. Well this leads me into something that you told me and I think it ties very well, you told me that it's important not to rush your life.
Patricia WexlerYeah.
Jodi KatzSo this is something that you've told me a few times, what does that mean to you?
Patricia WexlerBecause I work so hard and have so much to do, I think my life was rushed. My daughters, I feel for them doing the same thing. I keep telling them if they feel rushed, change while you still can because they are still young. So if it's not working, do something about it because, certainly I try to make time for the family as much as I can. I try to see the grandchildren every week, which is important. They are both in New York so we have usually Sunday brunches all together. They have their lives, so it's not like they have time for me all the time. I want to make time for my husband. I wish we had more time for vacations. I just don't think it's good to rush your life, you have to have a balanced life.

I like to have dates with my husband. Usually when I say we eat lunch together, we try to go out for lunch once or twice a week and get away from the office and get away from everybody, especially, when the weather is good. When it's too cold it’s harder, but we always do go out. In the summer, we take off three days every week so we go to the Hamptons, we go to our house, and the quieter the better. So we do that. Don't rush it, do what you want. Go to the theater, I love the theater. I like going to galleries. We love photography. I'm not as sport active anymore, I used to but my body doesn't like this much anymore. Just take time and smell the roses.
Jodi KatzSo it's something I practice, you know it is a practice. Nobody is every perfect there. I am ambitious but I have no desire to take over the world. World domination is not an interest of mine because for world domination, that's all in. And I do have some friends who want to dominate in their industry and you have to give up a lot to do that.
Patricia WexlerI didn't try to do anything. I opened in a basement office in the village. This happened. I didn't have a PR. I know a lot of young dermatologists start with PR the minute they open. I didn't do that. I opened in a basement. I move from office to office. I just wanted to make a living. Now you just try to stay relevant. It's good to be relevant, and it's nice to get prestige, and it's nice to get honors, and you don't want to become obsolete. But there's a difference between wanting to stay relevant and dominating.
Jodi KatzI think relevance is the key, because the way that business works and everything moves so quickly now that you don't have a choice. You either keep working to keep relevancy which means you evolve and your offerings evolve or you stay where you are. But if you stay where you are, you’re dead. If there's no choice.
Patricia WexlerIf you stay where you are, you are dead. So you have to stay relevant. But to stay relevant, you're working very hard. It's the gerbil on the wheel.
Jodi KatzYes, yes.
Patricia WexlerAnd that gets very difficult. It's not like internal medicine where people come to you, they get the water pill, they get their hypertensive medicine, if they need a specialist you send them. It's very difficult. This is a difficult specialty. Anybody starting is going to have a hard time.
Jodi KatzRight, it's become super competitive and very noisy.
Patricia WexlerYes, crowded. Very crowded. I think you have to pick something you want to excel at. You can't excel at everything which is why in our group, we have people who do everything but they specialize in hair or I specialize in contouring, and my husband is the all fair game. We all have our specialty but you can't specialize in everything. You have to pick something otherwise you're going to go crazy.
Jodi KatzYep. So the last thing I want to talk about is something you told me, if there is a last thought for you, you'd say you were stubborn. I don't sense that from you now, talking to you, but how does that come out in your everyday life?
Patricia WexlerIs stubborn the right word? I don't know if that's the right word. I don't know if stubborn is right. I opened my own practice because I like doing things my way, so if that's stubborn... I wouldn't have been good working for someone who told me I can't do this or I can't do that. That's the reason I didn't work with anybody else when I finished because nobody was doing these things. Nobody was doing Botox when I finished in 1986 and I was already taking liposuction sources in the office, nobody would let you do that. If somebody said you can't do that, I would have been out before I started.
Jodi KatzI guess I call that ambition.
Patricia WexlerWell, I wouldn't belong in a co-op. I don't know what you call it. I'm not good at being bossed.
Jodi KatzI hear you, after all these years of running my own business I think I'm unemployable.
Patricia WexlerI'm unemployable. So I don't know if that's stubborn. That's what I meant to say, I can't be directed. If I feel something is necessary, when somebody who would work for me wanted to do something that I didn't think was safe or appropriate for office, I said I don't want it done here. Maybe I'm opinionated, maybe that's a better word. I'm very opinionated.
Jodi KatzWell thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today.
Patricia WexlerThank you for inviting me.
Jodi KatzOf course, and for our listeners, I hope you enjoy this interview with Patricia. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes, and for updates about the show follow us on Instragram @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast.
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