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« Botox Scary: $100 vial from China? | Main | Medical Spa Key No. 7: Create the Optimal Menu of Services »

Solana Medspas is out of business?

Seems that Solana Medspas site is down. I've received two emails this morning asking if they've gone out of business and this comment on a Solana discussion thread in the forums:

"Well it looks like Buckingham and company can't hurt anyone else. The website is down and they are nowhere to be found. Hey, Over It...the truth hurts. Are you sure you aren't a Solana Owner in denial or just covering your rear end? Between the University of Arizona charges, Brooks College 60 Minutes expose and firing, Health West fiasco and connections, continuing client failures, deadbeat dad website stating a failure to pay tens of thousands in child support to his ex-wife (which was the final straw on why we didn't contract with Solana), etc... Wake up everyone associated or affiliated with Buckingham. it is time you recognize him for who he is before he hurts more people."

 I don't know why the Solana Medspas site is down but it can't be a good sign. (The first time you load the page you may see a little 'Solana Medspas Logo' flicker for just a second before you're redirected to the under construction page. This is usually a sign that the ISP has suspended the account.

Reader Comments (250)

Here is the latest Solana Medspa Franchise press release. it is dated 8/25/08 but today is 6/29/08. What will the future hold for this "leading medspa franchise" and it's leader John Buckingham?

Solana Medspas, Inc. Debuts New Elite Partner Program Tailored For Enterprising Physicians
2008-08-25 - Solana Medspas, Inc.

IRVINE, Calif—Solana MedSpas, Inc., the premier provider of consulting and development services for the medical spa, and medical aesthetics industry throughout the U.S and Canada, announced the release of its new Elite Partner Program™. The program was created with the intention to better serve physicians who have taken steps to integrate aesthetic medicine into their existing practice.

From personalized expert consulting support, to state-of-the-industry updates and preferred vendor agreements, this is a must-have program, offering endless benefits for any new or established medical professional in the medical aesthetics industry.

“In addition to the traditional medical spa consulting services Solana offers, physicians who join this elite membership will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one advice from our consulting experts. In addition, our Elite Partner Program members have access to numerous other medspa owners and cosmetic physicians within the network to share best practices which has proven to be priceless” said Karla Keene, Director of SolanaMD™ “The Elite Partner Program allows us to assess our clients’ immediate needs and provide them with the support they need to ensure their success.”

The Elite Partner Program benefits include:
• Person-to-Person Consultative Coaching Support
• Business Assessment & Strategy
• Medical Regulatory Guidance & Support
• Marketing For Success Programs and Collaterals
• Vendor Network Alliance Preferred Perks and Pricing
• Informational, Info-On-Demand IntelliPortal™
• Equipment/Product/Supplies Procurement
• Customized “Service-By-Design” Consulting Menu
• Industry Specific Reference/Resource Library

This exclusive program also includes a welcome kit with: an introductory welcome letter, personalized e-cards, program membership decal, and a program certificate code. To better serve customers, this program offers two “opt in” pricing stuctures: one designed to serve Physician Partners and providers, and another for Nurse Practitioners, Physician’s Assistants, Estheticians and other allied professionals.

Readers interested in more information on Solanas’ Elite Partner Program, please visit
# # #

How will the Demise of Solana Medspas effect Cutera Lasers? Just weeks ago they announced a stagegic parnership. Will Cutera be the next sinking ship?

Cutera Announces Strategic Alliance with Solana MedSpas, Inc.
Cutera Selected as Preferred Provider of Laser Systems for Solana MedSpas' Physician-Based Clinics Nationwide

BRISBANE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 13, 2008--Cutera, Inc.(R) (Nasdaq:CUTR), a leading provider of laser and other light-based aesthetic systems for practitioners worldwide, today announced it has formed a strategic alliance with Solana MedSpas, Inc. Cutera is now the preferred provider of customized aesthetic systems and services to all Solana MedSpas' clinics nationwide.

Irvine, Calif.-based Solana MedSpas is among the nation's foremost medical spa developers, with a growing network of individually branded facilities for entrepreneurs and physicians across North America. Solana has sold over 70 stand-alone retail medspas with others scheduled to be opened in 2008. Additionally, Solana has recently launched a new sales division, Solana MD, which specifically targets the aesthetic spas located in physician offices.

Cutera will provide Solana MedSpas with laser and other light-based aesthetic systems for the most in-demand procedures for hair removal, vascular therapy and skin rejuvenation. Clinical treatments at Solana MedSpa will include:

-- Pearl - Cutera's newest laser designed to improve sun damage, dyschromia, fine lines and overall skin quality in 1 - 2 treatments

-- Titan - an infrared device designed to denature and rebuild collagen without surgery

-- Laser Genesis - a popular laser therapy used to gently smooth the tone and texture of skin, treating damage caused by premature aging and sun exposure.

"This alliance allows us to provide our medspas with the most innovative, clinically proven laser systems available, as we expand our locations around the country," said William E. Maya, chief executive officer, Solana MedSpas. "In addition, Cutera offers a program in which every system can be upgraded to include the latest technology, which protects our initial investment."

"Solana MedSpas and Cutera share the same philosophy and vision of offering their customers successful tools for their aesthetics practice, so our alliance is a natural fit," said John Connors, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Cutera. "Both companies are strongly committed to quality, training, patient safety and customer support. We will collaborate closely in each of these areas as our companies continue to work together."

About Cutera, Inc.

Brisbane, California-based Cutera is a leading provider of laser and other light-based aesthetic systems for practitioners worldwide. Since 1998, Cutera has been developing innovative, easy-to-use products that enable physicians and other qualified practitioners to offer safe and effective aesthetic treatments to their patients. For more information, call 1-888-4CUTERA or visit

CONTACT: Cutera Inc.
Elizabeth Conrady, 415-657-5503
Rpr Marketing Communications
Liz Mefford, 212-317-1462

Any word on Solana litigation? Or, any word on them reincarnating themselves as a new company...again? Or, any word on Buckingham?

07.10 | Unregistered CommenterCurious

Solana just got more coverage about their New Solana MD program that they are selling to physicians at the American College of Obstetricians and Gyno., Pri-Med West Conference and The Aesthetic Show. Give me a break. These guys could find their way out of a paperbag let alone give advice to saavy physicians. They had three lay-offs in the last 12 months and then recently hired some new perky clueless person. Apparently they had the last lay-off to get another round of funding....probably the reason for the business interruption. And Buckingham is still speaking at the spa conventions - go figure.

07.11 | Unregistered CommenterPengroso

Oh ...and their website is down, the phones have been disconnected. Where's Buckingham now?

07.11 | Unregistered CommenterPengroso

yeah looks like the site is still down.

MedSpas of America distributed this press release 7/15/08. Details about a joint venture with Solana Medspas and John Buckingham remains on their site.

Here's a quote

"We believe we've stumbled onto a miracle cream and are extremely confident in the worldwide growth of Penzyme and feel fortunate that it collides directly with Medspa's success," stated CEO Paul Smith.

cut and paste for entire release

Also on the website

Solana Medspas Joint Venture

The company signed a Joint Venture Development Agreement with Solana MedSpas of Irvine, California, in 2006. Under the terms of the MedSpa Development Joint Venture, Solana MedSpas has agreed to provide development services, operational oversight and access to their management team for the company with the intent to build a company owned chain of Medical Spas, under the brand name of Virtuoso Medical Spas. The services provided by Solana will include site selection and build-out of new MedSpas, design services, equipment and supplies procurement, medical protocol and operating systems, recruitment and training of MedSpa staffing, medical regulatory compliance, and marketing programs.

Speaking of Medspas of America... They were supposed to open a chain of medspas with Solana's help under the name Virtuoso Medspas. However, to my knowledge (and research) this has not yet happened. Not only that, but the Solana Medspa they purchased in the Birmingham, AL market and were supposedly converting to the Virtuoso brand has long since closed its doors both with never converting to the name Virtuoso and with having an unsatisfactory BBB rating. I'm sure lots of customers were left in a lurch there! I wonder if the former Solana owners were left in a financial mess or if they were able to get out before taking a hit?

Med Aesthetics Conference September 20 - 22 2008 Jacob Javits Canter, NY

Name: John Buckingham
Bio: John Buckingham is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Solana MedSpas®, the nation’s foremost medical spa developer, with a growing network of locally branded facilities across North America. Under Mr. Buckingham’s leadership, Solana MedSpas® has forged a new market segment and medical spa model by combining leading edge aesthetics and wellness technologies with traditional spa therapies. In a short period of time, Buckingham has branded Solana MedSpas® as a leader in MedSpa development with an emphasis on regulatory compliance, healthcare innovation, education, integrity and customer service.

Mr. Buckingham is a founding board member of the International Medical Spa Association and serves as their Vice President of Corporate Affairs. He has co-created with the University of California, Irvine a new Spa and Hospitality Management Certificate Program, the first and only one of its kind in the U.S. This program meets the growing spa and wellness industry demands for spa management professionals. Mr. Buckingham serves on the UCI faculty of this new program teaching the MedSpa and Marketing courses.

As a pioneer in the Medical Spa and healthcare industry, Mr. Buckingham is a much sought after speaker and expert noted for his engaging presentation style and forward thinking insights into the emerging boomer and Medical Spa markets. Buckingham was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, New York Newsday, The Miami Herald, The Dallas Morning News, The Orange County Business Journal, Orange County Register, Plastic Surgery News, American Spa Medical Report, and MEDIcalSPAS The Healthy Aging Business Review.

Throughout his career, Mr. Buckingham has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for seven private and public health care companies including West Chemical of Princeton, New Jersey and Intoximeters of St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to joining Solana MedSpas®, Mr. Buckingham was Chancellor and President of a major for profit university in Southern
California headquartered in Long Beach.

Mr. Buckingham holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy with distinction from Purdue University and a Master's in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

NETWORK: Network Roundtable Event:
Date - September-21-2008
Start Time - 12:30PM
End Time - 1:30PM
Location - Rm.1E21

John Buckingham
Anthony Cassar
Janice Gronvold
Hannelore Levey
Mary Bemis
Lynda Solien-Wolfe
Lisa Starr
Nancy Trent
Diane Trieste
Alexis Ufland
Craig Ure
Susanne Warfield


07.19 | Unregistered CommenterEC Medspa

The organizers of this show must know Buckingham has a long list of failures. Allowing him to position himself as credible discredits the industry.

07.20 | Unregistered Commentersidkla

I met whith the manager of Solana's corporate owned store in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA on June 18th regarding the fact that I wanted a refund of $2,150 for the 5 Fraxel treatments I paid for as part of a package, that I was not able to use because their new equipment I was told was "sent out for calibration and a loaner was available only one day a month" dates which were not convenient to me, prior to my moving to FL. The manager advised she would mail a refund check that could take up to a month because it had to come from their corporate office. Now their Rancho Santa Margarita office is closed, a month has gone by and I have not received the check I was promised. Do you have any suggestions for financial recourse? I currently reside in Palm Beach Gardens, FL but would be willing to fly to CA to file a small claims action if necessary.

Thank you,
Janine Sabella

You may want to contact the Bankruptcy Clerks office to find out the best method to get your money back. 714 338 5300. Small claims is another route and you will want to name the corporation as well as the executives who owned and operated the medspa since they are in bankruptcy proceedings. (It is key to name the individuals as well as the corporation.) The same group is reforming another business and they can be held accountable for past debts from their old company if/when they reorganize.

07.22 | Unregistered CommenterPortia

Solana MedSpas has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. My story on it is on the "In Your Face" cosmetic medicine blog at the URL above. (The blog's home page is at "inyourface (dot) freedomblogging (dot) com.)

John Buckingham sold the operation last year, but stayed on as a director.

I hope anyone with information about the effects of the bankruptcy on franchisees and others will contact me by e-mail or by leaving a comment on the blog.

Colin Stewart
O.C. Register columnist and blogger

A bit more about Solana's bankruptcy: The Chapter 7 filing means they're liquidating, not reorganizing. They also say they don't have enough money to pay much of the money they owe.

To see the URL of the blog post, click on my name at the bottom of this post, or go to the homepage of the blog and scroll down.

My e-mail is

Colin Stewart
O.C. Register columnist and blogger

Are you familiar with the Radiance Medspa story? They didn't have many stores in California so you may not have seen it, but it was a complete disaster with lots of lawsuits, unhappy customers and bankrupt franchisees and franchisor. Dermacare, Solana and American Laser appear to be heading down the same path that Radiance traveled. Apparently most medspa franchises are run by crooks looking to take advantage of trusting businesspeople and clients.

Please be clear when you generalize. It sounds like you are saying the franchisees are crooks. Hopefully you meant to say the franchise companies (like Dermacare, Solana, etc), not the franchisees who own individual clinics.

07.23 | Unregistered CommenterDermaDoc

Jim Parrott is calling former Solana clients and informing them that he, along with John Buckingham and Karla Keene are forming a new company to service the former Solana clients.

They may be filing chapter 7 but their actions seem to indicate they are forming a new business based on the old one.

07.24 | Unregistered CommenterPortia

6 paragraphs down Karla Keene of Solana Medspas is quoted

Doctors branch out into lucrative cosmetic procedures

Saturday, July 26th 2008, 4:00 AM

Mendez for News

Manhattan ophthalmologist Joseph Eviatar uses Botox to smooth out crow's feet on a 46-year-old patient.
Eager to plump up revenues, growing ranks of doctors and even dentists are offering services that have nothing to do with aches and pains.

Cosmetic procedures such as Botox and laser treatments, rarely covered by insurance, can mean quick cash for physicians as they battle lower health plan reimbursements, higher insurance premiums and rising overhead.

Americans spent around $12 billion on cosmetic procedures last year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Nearly half was on nonsurgical treatments like injectable wrinkle fillers and laser hair removal, which appeal to doctors for their high profit margins and relatively low risk.

"At our workshops, we've had OB-GYNs, family doctors - I think we even had a neurologist. That shows you how many people want to do it," said Juva Skin & Laser Center Director Bruce Katz, an East Side dermatologist who trains doctors on cosmetic procedures. "They want to get out of the insurance loop."

Patients who quibble over co-payments often pay willingly to be rid of eye bags and spider veins, said Karla Keene, medical aesthetics director of training at Med Results in Irvine, Calif. "This is a way to introduce cash-based services," she said, adding that doctors who devote two rooms to aesthetic services can bring in $100,000 a year.

Doctors typically pay about $525 for a vial of Botox, enough for three to five treatments - worth around $2,000.

"If you can do the procedure quickly, and you can do it well, and the patient doesn't come back complaining, you can have a very nice revenue stream," said Dr. Joseph Eviatar, an eye plastic surgeon and a partner at Chelsea Eye & Cosmetic Surgery Associates. While half of the practice's business comes from general patient services and half from cosmetic treatments and laser surgery, the cosmetic side brings in about 70% of revenues, he said.

To be sure, equipment, labor and training can be costly. "There's a pretty high barrier to entry for the little guy who's trying to do one or two Botox procedures a week," he said.

Doctors at New York Otolaryngology Group in Manhattan hired a cosmetic specialist two years ago to offset rising costs and broaden patient services, said Dr. Robert Pincus, managing partner of the group.

"They would come in for a sinus infection and they'd say their eyes look baggy," he said. The practice is only now recouping the additional costs.

Another downside of a cash-paying clientele is they can be demanding. "Once people pay a lot of money for something," Eviatar said, "you can't tell them, 'I have an appointment in two months.' "

That's interesting. There doesn't appear to be a DBA for Med Results in Irvine CA, nor is their a website with that name. There are no hits for Med Results under filings for LLC, CORP or LTD Partnership in Orange County either. Although it does appear Karla Keene's business license for Advanced Medical Aesthetics lapsed as of April this year.

Leave it to a reporter from the NY Daily News to quote such a reliable source.


Keep digging. You have only scratched the surface of these guys. If true, Med Results is being formed to replace the last Solana which failed miserably under Buckingham and Parrott's direction as did the first Solana/NouVisage.

I know people who have been hurt by Solana. Get a list of ALL the Solana clients from the beginning. They say they have opened dozens of medspas. Call them ALL and find out how few are still in business and how Solana has affected the owner's lives. Here is some more information to help enlighten you on who you are writing about. Judge for yourself.

(This comment has been edited: Dead link removed)

(This comment has been edited: Dead link removed)

Solana, Buckingham, Parrott sued – Salt Lake City, UT:

(This comment has been edited: Dead links removed)

There is more. Dig deeper and see what you find.

Buckingham and Parrott were top dogs at Healthwest. Find out what happened to Healthwest.

Buckingham was the President of Brooks College in Long Beach before he was fired and there was a 60 Minutes expose on the school. Find out about the 60 Minutes piece and where the school is today.

Find out why with all the collective expertise why their one and only company owned store failed so miserably.

People need to know about these guys. Please Colin, dig deeper.

Thank you, In Response, for all the specific info. I'll be checking them out.

Colin please do dig deeper. I have not personally been hurt by Solana Medspas, John Buckingham or his group, but so many people have been. Physicians, and consumers have been hurt by this man and the people who have enabled him. I did a little checking into Solana a year or so ago and the following are some medical spas that were affiliated with Solana and listed on their website

Belladerm Med Spa
7940 Main StreetMaple Grove, MN 55369 • Ph: (763) 494-9905
Who owns the spa? Robyn and Jack Bernins
medical director? Dr. Jarvis

Belle Vie MedSpa
2337 Sir Barton Way Ste 130,Lexington, KY 40509 • Ph: (859) 245-SKIN (7546)
Who owns the spa? Jamie Sere Loraine Taylor
medical director? Dr. Lufman

Timeless Image Rx Medspa
7901 W. Tropical Parkway Las Vegas, Nevada 89149 702-395-5227
Who owns the spa? Vick Crowder
Who is the medical director? Dr. Julio Garcia

Genesis Medspa
Layton UT
Who owns the spa? Kim Buce
medical director? Dr. Lee Maylen

Nabi Medspa
New York, New York 212-595-4400
Who owns the spa? Ivy Cho
Who is the medical director? Dr. Theodora

Bella Tu
New York 845-727-7000
Who owns the spa? Would not divulge
medical director? Would not divulge

Bella Mi New York
Who owns the spa? Charels Guerriero
medical director?

Raleigh, North Carolina
Who owns the spa? Erika Mangrum (President)
medical director? Henry Newton Pleasant

Forever Young
Florida 954-450-2626
Who owns the spa? Mr. Brian K. Sidella
medical director? Dr. Blane Shatkin

Florida 904-821-4190
Who owns the spa? Shannan G. Ryan (President)
medical director? Dr. Richard Brandon

Florida 813-254-7727
Who owns the spa? Mr. and Mrs. Saldon
medical director? In process of changing but currently it is Dr. Carnivoly

Florida 561-691-8655
Who owns the spa? Nutraderm LLC (4 partners)
medical director? Hoa Diabhino

These medspas might have more info about Buckingham and Solana. Some of these medspas might be for sale out of business or just struggling. Please keep posting here. There are a lot of us who want to see the strong and ethical do well and would like to help the unethical from surviving in our industry. Thanks

Photos: Above, the exterior of the closed Resolution: A Solana MedSpa in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. Below, the medspa’s vacant interior.
(Register photos by Colin Stewart)


As the economy slows, the nationwide Solana chain of 50-plus franchised medical spas has locked its Irvine headquarters, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, shut down its Web site, and disconnected its phone.

Neither the company’s chief executive, William Maya, nor its bankruptcy attorney could be reached for comment.

The company founder, John Buckingham of Mission Viejo, said he sold Solana on Nov. 20 to a private equity company in San Clemente and could not speak in detail about its current status.

Buckingham remained a director of the company, which helped entrepreneurs set up medical spas that provided spa services plus non-invasive cosmetic medical procedures such as Botox injections.

As recently as March, Buckingham predicted that the nation’s economic slowdown would help Solana MedSpas by freeing up new retail locations for its medical spas.

In an interview with CNN/Money, he said he was “excited about taking advantage of this year’s store vacancies to open another 20 locations in malls.”

Vacant interior of the Resolutions medspaAt that point, he said Solana had 50 spas “located in upscale strip centers and lifestyle centers, which are typically open-air malls.”

In May, Solana struck a deal with cosmetic-laser company Cutera Inc. of Brisbane, Calif., which declared Solana the “preferred provider” for its products at medspas nationwide.

That announcement said Solana “has sold over 70 stand-alone retail med spas with others scheduled to be opened in 2008” and had established a new division, Solana MD, to open aesthetic spas in doctors’ offices.

Solana’s filing said it had $370,028 in liabilities but assets of only $11,713.


Solana MedSpa franchises are still listed as for sale on franchising Web sites, with a total investment of $400,000 to $780,000.

dSpa/company-information.cfm> site, for example, says:

Solana MedSpas has forged a new medical spa model by combining cutting-edge aesthetics and wellness technologies with traditional spa therapies in a retail environment.

In a short period of time, Solana MedSpas has become a nationwide leader in medical spa development with a growing network of uniquely branded medical spas. With an emphasis on regulatory compliance, healthcare innovation, education, marketing and customer service, Solana MedSpas has emerged as the fastest growing developer of MedSpas in the US.

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing means that the company will be liquidated, not reorganized.


Solana’s current owner is Strategic Connections L.P., which is listed in the July 7 bankruptcy filing as “c/o WEM Management Company, 422 Avenida Salvador, San Clemente.”

The company’s largest listed creditor is its owner, which had floated it a $160,000 loan.

Solana said it had income of $456,989 so far this year from its consulting services to owners and operators of spas.

It paid Maya $161,112 in salary from Nov. 24, 2007, through June 24, the bankruptcy filing said. Buckingham’s salary for that period was $148,918.

The one company-owned medical spa, Resolutions, A Solana Medspa, also filed for bankruptcy under its legal name, Solana Medspa Development LLC.

The Resolutions medspa, located in a Rancho Santa Margarita shopping center, closed suddenly two weeks ago without explanation, said a hairdresser working in the adjoining hair salon.

The medspa listed assets of $11,713 and liabilities of $121,329. It cited $0 as the value of its unsold inventory of cosmetics, cosmeceuticals and Botox, which were purchased for $51,388.

Irvine-based Allergan, the maker of Botox, is its largest creditor. The medspa owes Allergan $49,260, the filing said.

The Resolutions spa had income of $225,555 so far this year, its filing said.

07.31 | Unregistered Commenterdr Iam

Here's the lead of my latest piece on medspas, with references to Solana, Dermacare and others. Some quotes from John Buckingham, Hannelore Leavy, others.

Slumping economy hits medspas

The nation’s sour economy is taking its toll on medical spas, which had been enjoying boom times for the past six years.

Chains have been especially hard hit, according to Hannelore Leavy, executive director of the International Medical Spa Association.

This year, as the economy slowed, so too did the medspa industry. A number of medspas and medspa chains have shut down.

Medspa chains that have closed in the past year or struggled through tough times include Solana MedSpas of Irvine.; Dermacare, based in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Sona MedSpas International, formerly of Franklin, Tenn.; and Medaesthetica of Woodland Hills.


All the best,
Colin Stewart
Blogger / columnist
O.C. Register

Radiance Medspa shutdown as well, though as with the others, some of the individual franchised stores are still open. I would guess that American Laser is also in trouble.

More Solana Medspa franchisees (some, maybe all, are now out of business)... This is from a cache of Solana Medspa's own website.


Distribution Source : La Bella Donna Website - Spatacular News

Date : Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Medical professionals are seeking new avenues to reach their clients and medical and beauty industries are host to a new phenomenon…Medical Spas and MedSpas. Luxury Spa facilities provide consumers fast and convenient non-invasive aesthetic medical procedures under the strict supervision of a healthcare professional. The difference between a Day Spa and MedSpa? MedSpa's offer the highest level of surgical care.

With a world-class team of healthcare, spa and business professionals on board, Solana MedSpas, Inc. Management Services was founded in 2003. MedSpas are spa-like facilities offering a variety of anti-aging and skin rejuvenating services and non- invasive aesthetic medical procedures in a medical and stress-free environment. SpaMedica offers a unique, comprehensive approach to skin care and LA BELLA DONNA is proud to have been selected as a partner in this forward thinking industry, striving to maximize the effect of healthy skin care, rejuvenation and enhancement.

411 Waverly Oaks Road
Building 1 Suite 133
Waltham, MA 02452
Contact: Christine Lucia
Phone: 978.377.0182

1 Flatiron Circle
Suite 348
Broomfield, CO 80021
Contact: Linda Fast/Michelle Adams
Phone: 303.469.8900

Atlantic MedSpa Inc.
401 North Great Neck Road
Suite 121
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Contact: JoAnn Hall
Phone: 757.486.4800

Solana Med Spa
5520 Highway 280
Suite 4
Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact: Wanda Labus
Phone: 205.437.0956

Solana MedSpas, Inc.
7050 W. Palmetto Park Road
Suite 20
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Contact: Peter Phillips/Robin Moreno
Phone: 561.417.4456

Timeless Image RX
7901 W. Tropical Parkway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89149
Contact: Vicki Crowder
Phone: 702.395.5227

Evia MedSpa
1936 South Coast Highway,
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Phone: 949.715.7594
Contact: Ashley Niemes

Radiance, Solana, Dermacare...the list will go on. I think this highlights a critical point for medical professionals in the aesthetic field: the good times aren't always going to roll. And the sad truth is that many doctors are just terrible managers of their own money. I'm not about to start providing financial management for physicians or anything (though I do work with a number of plastic surgeons, many of whom also operate their own independent medical spas). But I think more and more medical professionals are realizing that the med spa business is a fairly high-risk, relatively low dollar prospect, and that is just not a very attractive profile for a successful investment. Don't get me wrong, there's still a marketspace for the med spa concept, but I think it's a lot narrower than most people thought even a year ago.

It is NOT the Economy Stupid !!!
It is not the doctor's lack of business experience, Stupid !!!

It is the fact that many lasers and light devices DO NOT WORK (ie. Cutera) AND it takes a great deal of training and experience and expertise to do good Botox and Filler Injections.

Bad results = unhappy clients which leads to bad word of mouth on the street and few referrals!

The laser companies do not provide adequate training and support.
Allergan and Medicis do not provide adequate training and support.
The Franchises do not provide adequate training and support (and they contract with companies like Cutera).

This is all a reciepe for failure and bankruptsy.

08.6 | Unregistered CommenterMDR

I was looking to open a med spa and at one time was talking to Solana to help but I thought John Buckingham's exaggerated promises did not pass the sniff test. I tried emailing and contacting all of the Solana clients above. After not hearing back from any of them I dug a little deeper and was shocked that the ones I could find info on were out of business. Does anyone have a full list of Solana's 70 or so clients. I would be happy to contact them all to see what the real story is. I did speak to one past owner who lost their shorts and was beyond angry.

I also found out some interesting info about Buckingham's "major for profit university" he worked for in the Southern Cal area, not to be confused with the University of Arizona where he was charged with a felony act. It was a small fashion design college in Long Beach called Brooks College.

Not surprising IT IS ALSO OUT OF BUSINESS. Apparently they were in business for decades before Buckingham was president. Then there was a very damaging 60 Minutes episode on Brooks shortly after he was fired. Does the info below sound familiar? (from the 60 Minutes episode on Brooks College)

"Brooks College in Long Beach, Calif., offers training in fashion and design, but its graduates have a special nickname for their alma mater: “Crooks College.”


“Cuz they robbed us,” says one graduate.

“Everything was a lie,” says another.

What was the biggest lie?

“Job placement -- 98 percent job placement,” several graduates said. “They said, like, starting $30,000 a year, $30,000 or more.” ...

Barry Ross and Eric Shannon, used to work at Brooks College. They say there were some dedicated teachers there, but that the administration was more interested in making money than in educating students.

Ross’ title was admissions representative. But Shannon says “we were really sales people.”

“Selling the dream, basically,” says Ross. ...

And the Brooks College graduates? They feel betrayed. They were sold the idea that an investment in education would change their lives. This investment did, but not in the way they were promised.

“My mother told me to declare bankruptcy and I'm only 21,” says Thurston. “She said it'll go away in 10 years so when I'm 31 I can start my life all over.”

Wow, sounds very familiar. Anyone else hear Buckingham and Parrott tell them things like this?

As a followup to my prior mail regarding the Solana Med Spa in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. I received a notice from Solana's attorney regarding the chapter 7 filing to be heard in bankrupcy court on August 15th. What bothers me is that days prior to this corporate location shutting their doors, they were pushing long term spa treatment packages on clients, with prices that were almost too good to be true. Looking back, I believe they were scamming clients without any intention of delivering on service. How could they when the services were to take place months in the future, after bankrupcy filing. I was told it would take a month to generate my refund check, which by the way was after they closed their doors. Proves to me that they intentionally defrauded me. I would have gladly accepted a credit card refund. I would be willing to share info as to how this experience with Solana has impacted my life. I am going to continue to check back at this site for more information and will share new information as I learn more.

Buckingham needs to be thoroughly investigated. Anyone know his work history before the Univ of AZ? All prior employers should be checked out and the D.A. or the Feds should be notified.

08.9 | Unregistered CommenterBurned

I am a med spa owner and past client of Solana. I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and bad mouth ex-Solana execs. I truly believe they had good intentions when they started this business and things just didn't work out. It's very unfortunate.

But I will tell you how hard this business is. I have been open for almost 2 years and it's a struggle every month. I'm just showing some marginal profitability from one month to the next. Med spas don't work like other franchise businesses. What works well in the mid-west does not work well in other areas of the country. So you can't open up a string of them across the nation like you would a typical franchise.

Also, you are heavily dependent on your medical staff to do the selling for you. They are not trained sales professionals and these services don't sell themselves. Everyone has heard of Botox and laser hair removal. But some of the other treatments like Fotofacial and skin tightening are new and people don't generally coming in looking for that. It's tough to sell, especially when you medical staff isn't trained to sell.

I hope my spa survives but it's a very hard business. We are doing a lot of things right but we've learned a lot from a lot of mistakes too.

08.12 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Huh? Is Radiance Medspas taking over the Solana Medspas franchise base? I took the following cache of the Esteem Medspa site (franchise of Solana Medspas) and it has both the Esteem logo and the Radiance Medspa logo on it? Anyone know anything about this? Both logos aren't on the current page but if you look in the newsletter signup box on the homepage, you will see checkboxes for both Esteem and Radiance medspas. If the link below doesn't work, do a search on Esteem Medspa and Radiance Medspa and select the cache of the Esteem Medspa homepage. Odd.

Well I am answering my own question... Apparently in this case, there is some sort of agreement/merger between the two. From the About Us page: "With the recent corporate alignment between Esteem Medspa and Radiance Medspa, she was offered the opportunity to relocate her efforts to South Tampa, and the Esteem Medspa Team was happy to bring her on board. "

Just Curious,

There is no corporate Radiance. This alignment is most likley a local Radiance Franchise going under the Solana umbrella.


08.12 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Certain people just keep coming back in this industry like the proverbial "bad penney"!! The most recent issue of THE AESTHETIC GUIDE contains an article entitled "AESTHETIC MARKET RECESSION". The article once again makes reference to Mr. Buckingham (described as "president and founder of Solana MedSpas, Inc.) and attributes the following statement to him...:

"... the 55 retail medical spas UNDER THE SOLANA UMBRELLA are reporting no slowdown in growth of aesthetic procedures..."; "60% of leads and conversion are driven by the staff's sales efforts" ... and "We have a highly trained salesperson that sets up relationships and strategic alliances with complementary, same demographic businesses in the local area... These really work. Internet marketing contributes the next highest percentage of leads," Mr. Buckingham said.

The various Wizards of the Med Spa Ozzes seem to continue to re-emerge even as their med spas seem to be closing and going bankrupt left and right. Either we are living in a Brave New World or this is still 1984 and George Orwell's predictions have actually come true. How can these characters actually stand up at the lecturn and pontificate about having all the answers and a "proven formula for success" etc. when they have literally caused DOZENS (MAYBE HUNDREDS) of business owners and physicians to go broke, bankrupt (or all of the above)??? Ii is incredible!!

P.S.-- Is it possible that all these characters we have been reading about on this blog are actually the same person???

08.12 | Unregistered Commentermedspa guy

There seems to be enough people sensing a "scam" to call for an investigation by the DA office. Has anyone pursued this effort yet?

08.13 | Unregistered CommenterSuspicious

The spin doctors are Buckingham's PR agency - Nancy Trent of Trent and Company. Still, the publications who just regurgitate the PR agency's message should be more careful to ensure their sources are credible. And...Buckingham is still on the lecture circuit...speaking in Sept in NYC along with Karla Keene and representing their new company "Med Results Inc" and stating they have over 100 years of combined experience. Best of luck to them and their new clients. You gotta give them credit for not giving up. They have a lot keep reinventing themselves.

I'm curious...has anyone been contacted by Buckingham or Parrott of Medresults (the old Solana)? What are they offering? Are they offering all the services that Solana offered and at what price?

John Buckingham, Jim Parrott and Karla Keene started a new company called MedResults Inc (website just went up). They have contacted Solana clients saying that they are upset about the Solana bankruptcy and want to continue providing support and services since Solana abandoned the clients.

Buckingham is speaking on "What it takes for Medical Spa Success in Today's Economy." This should be good. Can't wait to attend. If we are lucky, maybe his wisdom will be shared in the press and he can make more inept claims and lame predictions.

By the way, how can MedResults Inc possibly be "the foremost medical spa and medical aesthetic consulting company with clients throughout North America.' ? O h yeah, because John Buckingham said so. A self-proclaimed expert. Solana turned out so well, he just couldn't resist starting another (empty-promises) company.

Date - September-22-2008
Start Time - 11:30AM
End Time - 12:30PM
Location - Rm.1E09

Read his bio and it is full of trumped up accomplishments.

Speaker Information

Name: John Buckingham
Bio: John Buckingham is the Founder and CEO of MedResults, Inc., the nation’s foremost medical spa and medical aesthetic consulting company with clients throughout North America. Mr. Buckingham previously founded Solana MedSpas, the largest Medical Spa Developer in the US and successfully sold the company to a private equity firm in 2007. Throughout the past five years, Solana MedSpas became the leader in MedSpa development with an emphasis on regulatory compliance, healthcare innovation, education, integrity and customer service.

Mr. Buckingham is a founding board member of the International Medical Spa Association and serves as their Vice President of Corporate Affairs. He co-created with the University of California, Irvine a new Spa and Hospitality Management Certificate Program, the first of its kind in the U.S.

As a pioneer in the Medical Spa and healthcare industry, Mr. Buckingham is a much sought after speaker and expert noted for his engaging presentation style and forward thinking insights into the emerging boomer and Medical Spa markets. Buckingham was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, New York Newsday, The Miami Herald, The Dallas Morning News, The Orange County Business Journal, Orange County Register, Plastic Surgery News, American Spa Medical Report, and MEDIcalSPAS The Healthy Aging Business Review.

Throughout his career, Mr. Buckingham has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for seven private and public health care companies including West Chemical of Princeton, New Jersey and Intoximeters of St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to founding Solana MedSpas, Mr. Buckingham was Chancellor and President of a major for profit university in Southern

Mr. Buckingham earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy with distinction from Purdue University and a Master's in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

NETWORK: Network Roundtable Event:
Date - September-21-2008
Start Time - 12:30PM
End Time - 1:30PM
Location - Rm.1E21

Hannelore Leavy
Janice Gronvold
Anthony Cassar
Mary Bemis, Organic Spa Magazine
John Buckingham
Lynda Solien-Wolfe
Diane Trieste
Susanne Warfield
Craig Ure
Alexis Ufland
Lisa Starr
Nancy Trent


MGMT07: What it takes for Medical Spa Success in Today's Economy:
Date - September-22-2008
Start Time - 11:30AM
End Time - 12:30PM
Location - Rm.1E09

John Buckingham


So we can all understand this correctly let's review Buckingham's resume. In reverse order.

CEO, Founder - MedResults, Inc., "the nation’s foremost medical spa and medical aesthetic consulting company with clients throughout North America"??? They have been in business less than 2 months. How do they become so prominent and successfull in 2 short months? Truely amazing.

President - Solana, Inc. - Bankrupt after 8 months.

CEO, Co-Founder - NouVisage, dba - Solana MedSpas - Insolvent, acquired for relief of debt.

President - HealthWest, Inc - Filed for bankruptcy, closed.

Chancellor and President - Brooks College - "a major for profit university in Southern California"??? Actually a small trade college in Long Beach, CA. Status of school - (As written in previous post on 8-7) they were in business for decades (30 years) before Buckingham was president. Then there was a very damaging 60 Minutes episode on Brooks shortly after he was fired.

Associate Dean - University of Arizona - Business school - (As noted in posting above)
Indicted on felony charge – fraud and escorts - Arizona:
"John C. Buckingham, a former director of the graduate business program, was indicted by a grand jury in November 2001 for a class two felony of fraudulent scheme and artifice. Buckingham had spent about $20,000 in university funds on personal uses during business trips. He used some of the money to hire an escort service."

Work experience before that, who knows...or cares after years of what's listed above. But I do wonder why if he was so successful at all these companies why he didn't stay around to enjoy all the wonderful benefits that success brings???

Here are more success stories from the postings above. No wonder why he is such a sought after speaker.

Solana, Buckingham, Parrott sued – Salt Lake City, UT:

Also, I was told that he is no longer is on the board or associated with the International MedSpa Association. Someone should contact the IMSA to see if this is true or not and post it here so we can all learn the TRUTH about this guy.

There are so many really good people in this industry. We need to make sure the good ones are front and center to build credibility for the industry. If you still have questions we urge you to call all the Solana clients listed in the postings above and judge for yourself.

How much is MedResults services and what do you get in return? Do they have materials to give out like manuals and training programs and operations forms? Has anyone signed up with them yet?

Not sure what is being offered, except that they are promising to be "just like Solana when THEY owned the company, not when Maya did". "We want to take care of our clients since Maya abandoned them."

If anyone is interested in seeking justice and putting a stop to the Buckingham-Parrott-Nouvisage-Solana nonsense, please email here. Going to the DA's office with credible information won't cost like hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit. There is criminal behavior here - consumer fraud is something that the DA's office looks into. Maya, the purchase and the bankruptcy are part of the scam.

Did anyone talk to Strategic Connections L.P. who purchased Solana? What claims did Buckingham make to them re: Solana's future before they wrote a $160,000 check(s)? Did the cash infusion(s) make it into Solana's bank account - or another bank account?

08.16 | Unregistered CommenterBurned

Buckingham bad-mouths Maya and says that Maya and other partners paid themselves over $1 million and shut down Solana. Maya claims that he purchased the assets of Solana, which means the clients. My feeling is that therewere a lot of creditors (Solana's privately-owned medspas) and money earned from Solana's clients were used to pay Solana's medspa creditors (lease rent, advertising) and high salaries so Solana went broke. But, MedResults is now in place to rescue Solana's clients for a monthly fee of $500 (see new website).

Are there any Solana clients who didn't receive all deliverables (as stated in the contract)?

Medresults partners - the reincarnation of Solana Medspas and John Buckingham

these businesses should be ashamed

If there is a chance they don't know (hard to believe) they should be informed.

I'm not familiar with all the businesses but I'm surprised and dissapointed to see Spafinder as a partner.

08.16 | Unregistered Commenteranon

One thing that doesn't make sense is that at Solana Buckingham was the President and Parrott was the Executive VP in charge of medspa development both before and after Maya bought the company? How can they blame some newbie to the industry when they were the executives in charge of medspa clients at all times both before and after the sale? Buckingham saying that Maya abandoned the clients so he needs to NOW take care of them is a joke. He was President adn Parrott was the VP, they need to take responsibility not dish blame.

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