It’s a common goal: To one day live the dream of becoming a business owner.
Dr. Jessica Kim knows that feeling, too, so after more than 10 years as the laser director at Cascade Eye & Skin Centers, she decided to go into business for herself.
“I’ve always had that desire,” she said, “but it was easier to join a practice.”
They also don’t teach business classes in medical school, she said, but after she became a partner and board member at Cascade Eye, she got a feel for how a business works.
A noncompete clause meant she couldn’t set up business near a Cascade Eye location, such as in University Place, so she found 2,000 square feet in Olympia off Lilly Road and transformed a 1970s-era space into something “modern, simple and clean.”
Summit Dermatology, a cosmetic dermatology business, opened May 26. In addition to Kim, she also has two medical assistants: Machelle Thacker and Daija Martos.
The business offers laser surgery, neurotoxins (such as botox), body contouring and chemical peels for skin — and all of it is noninvasive, meaning no one has to be put under general anesthesia, Kim said.
For example, botox might be used to soften the appearance of someone who has developed a furrowed brow — wrinkles between the eyebrows that can create a stern appearance.
But she also treats birthmarks, which helps patients feel less self-conscious about their appearance, she said.
That’s one reason she was drawn to dermatology: she could see the problem and correct it.
“Changing their lives makes it so gratifying,” Kim said. “It makes a huge impact on a person’s life.”
Kim was born in South Korea, but left the country when she was 7. She grew up in Baltimore and later attended Cornell University. She earned her medical degree at the University of Maryland and completed her dermatology residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The Army paid for her medical education through the Health Professions Scholarship Program. She also had to serve overseas in South Korea as an officer in charge, a fish-out-of-water experience she compared with the one depicted in the TV show “Northern Exposure.”
She later worked at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord before joining Cascade.
All of the services at Summit are considered elective procedures, meaning they are not covered by health insurance.
Some costs: tattoo removal starts at $350, while a single-treatment service to remove cellulite using technology called “Cellfina,” ranges between $2,500 to $5,000, she said.
Summit Dermatology Laser Surgery & Aesthetic Center
Owner: Dr. Jessica Kim.
Location: 300 Lilly Road NE, Suite A, Olympia, WA
Years in business: New. Opened in May.
Type of business: Cosmetic dermatology.
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
Did you know? When Kim worked at Madigan Army Medical Center, they set up a clinic for tattoo removal. Kim, citing her own statistics, said the popularity of the tattoo has grown to one in four adults. But many also want them removed for work reasons, or because they fade as people get older, she said. Kim said there were times in her schedule when she would spend an entire day removing tattoos.