A PAIR OF PASSIONATE SKINCARE EXPERTS ROUND OUT A ROUSING FIRST YEAR AT THEIR MIDDLETOWN SALON
BY ERIK SCHONING • PHOTOS BY ALEX BARRETO
A name can often tell a story. GlowDoll Skin and Aesthetics in Middletown is a collaboration between cousins and skincare luminaries Victoria Russo and Gwendolyn Esposito. Before launching GlowDoll, both were independently working in the industry: Russo with Get Glowing Skin and Esposito with Gwendoll Skin. The GlowDoll name is a mashup of these two businesses, and its moniker is a testament to the collaborative, trusting spirit that Russo and Esposito have poured into the spa.
The team is now celebrating their one-year anniversary in the Middletown location, and GlowDoll only continues to grow. Russo has been in aesthetics for nearly 14 years, while Esposito received her license four years ago. After deciding to go into business together, the pair worked out of Sola Salon in Holmdel for a year. Garnering experience in an established salon gave Esposito and Russo the opportunity to hone their skills before stepping into a space of their own.
Last year, they came across a Middletown storefront, and they knew immedi-ately they had found GlowDoll’s home. “It was probably the smoothest transition I’ve ever had in my life,” Russo said. “We’ve grown our business exponentially in just one year after moving from Sola to our current location. It’s super exciting.”
One component of that growth was bringing in Lauren Saltzburg, MD, a board-certified physician who specializes in hair restoration and cosmetic medicine. Dr. Salzburg’s expertise in laser technology has allowed the GlowDoll team to expand their off erings. Today, the operation is a full-service medispa, off ering facials, laser treatments, fi broblast plasma treatments, SkinPen microneedling, and Cryoskin, a tempera-ture-controlled massage wand that stimulates a slimmer, more toned appearance. Since GlowDoll’s launch, Russo and Esposito have been able to rapidly grow their business through a well-rounded combination of referrals, advertising, and old-fashioned word of mouth. (Esposito also runs Bijoux Boutique in Middletown, and she’s had success in bringing boutique clients over to the spa.)
Whichever avenue sends a potential customer through GlowDoll’s door, Russo and Esposito take over from there, beginning each appointment with an in-depth evaluation and conversation with the client. “Oftentimes people will come in thinking they know exactly what they want, but once you sit down with them and explain exactly what’s going on with their skin, they realize maybe that’s not what they need,” Esposito said. “It’s always a team-eff ort conclusion that everybody will come to together. Our job is to educate our clients and explain the pros and cons of what they’re looking for, what their skin needs, and what we offer that would give them the best solution.”
Skincare is an ever-evolving field, with new technologies and tools arriving on the market practically every day. Part of Russo and Esposito’s job is to educate their clients on what’s available to them. These days, they are enthusi-astic about a cocktail of the Forever Young BBL laser, which stimulates collagen production, and their Glo2 facial, which oxygenates and detoxifies the skin. “It’s like the ultimate combination,” Esposito said. “You can do both in one day, and we actually have that as one package. Pairing these two together, you could go conquer the world.”
GlowDoll has also made a name for itself through its popular membership program, GlowDoll Club, which allows participants to benefit from monthly facials, a habit Esposito and Russo believe is essential for healthy skin. The program has been receiving rave reviews since its launch, especially as it allows credits to roll over if clients can’t use them in any particular month. For both halves of the GlowDoll braintrust, this business is the culmination of several years of experience, practice, and passion. Esposito cut her teeth at Sperling Dermatology, while Russo draws on over a decade of experience in clinical dermatology. For both, working in medical aesthetics is rooted in celebrating what makes someone unique while helping them achieve their beauty goals. “Acne, rosacea, or scarring can be very hard to deal with on a day-to-day basis,” Russo said. “So my goal is to help them feel and look their best. I get joy out of giving somebody else joy. I get joy from seeing you in four to six weeks, and you say your skin has completely changed, and I can just see it on your face.”
GlowDoll is a shared dream, and its success over the last year required Russo and Esposito to work in tandem every single day. Luckily, the cousins explain their skillsets complement one another. Looking forward, they are ruminating on expansion, though maintaining an intimate, high-end hometown atmosphere will never disappear. They see GlowDoll as occupying an important space in the Middletown community. “When you go to Red Bank, there’s tons of spas,” Russo said. “But we wanted our space to feel like a home in Middletown, like an extension of us. We want people to feel comfortable when they come in and just enjoy our very pink space that we love so much.”
GlowDoll Skin & Aesthetics 40 Old Country Road Suite 2C, Middletown 732.693.1369 / glowdollskin.com