Some friendships made in high school can last a lifetime. At 30 years old, Omaha native and University of Nebraska College of Medicine graduate Dr. Shikhar Saxena, who is board certified in internal medicine and cardiology—launched an Urgent Care practice in Papillion. When approached by a physician who owned a laser hair removal clinic across the street, Saxena leaped at the idea and called his best friend and fellow board-certified internal medicine physician Abe Schumacher. In 2012, the high school companions purchased the practice next door and transformed it into the first Milan Laser Hair Removal location.
What started as a side business for two eager entrepreneurs has turned into the largest laser hair removal company in the country. Saxena and Schumacher opened the subsequent 10 locations themselves. They worked in every role, from the front desk to overseeing construction. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Milan is on track to own and operate 275 locations in 28 states by the end of the year with 1,600 employees nationwide.
No matter what someone’s goals are in life, investing in oneself not only boosts confidence but it also shows a commitment to self-care. There are many reasons people choose to have laser hair removal, such as to save money on shaving or waxing, reduce ingrown hairs, and achieve dolphin-smooth skin. Traditional medical spas typically offer packages of 3 or 6 treatments, but Milan’s data shows that most patients require between 7 and 10 treatments to become completely hair free. Not only does its service allow for that many initial treatments, but Milan offers a lifetime guarantee with additional treatments at no cost. “We have a service offering that no one else in the industry has,” Saxena said. “If you purchase a package with us, we’ll cover whatever you need—unlimited—for the rest of your life.”
Another differentiator for Milan is its commitment to offering only one service—laser hair removal—which allows its providers to give patients the expert care they need. “I’m a very strong believer in doing one thing, and you do it very well,” Saxena said. “We’re only going to do services that are highly effective.”
Permanent results speak for themselves, and it starts with authentic customer service. Every Milan Laser clinic is corporate owned and operated to ensure the company’s core values are carried through to every patient interaction. Even its 100-person call center is centralized at the company’s Omaha headquarters. This ensures that patients are always speaking with an expert in laser hair removal and allows clinic employees more time to consult, treat, and care for patients. “When you remove everything except deliver an excellent service, you are the master of one thing: client experience through laser hair removal,” Saxena said.
The accelerated growth Milan continues to achieve can be attributed to the company’s team culture. Saxena’s commitment to reinvesting in the company translates into the jobs he creates for the community. Whether it’s education, technology, marketing, construction, or even interior design, Milan recruits top-level talent locally and from across the country. Colleen Papek, the company’s president, is one of those people. Her previous experience as vice president and director of stores with Bonton Stores was the perfect fit for her current role at Milan. Five years later, Papek continues to oversee the continued growth within the company, all while helping increase Milan’s footprint in new markets. “We know there’s a need out there,” Papek said. “I would have never dreamt of how successful we would be, but it’s because we’ve stayed true to who we are and the reinvestment in our infrastructure.”
The company has created a culture of teamwork and inclusion, which is evident through the design of Milan’s new corporate headquarters in West Omaha. Along with open workspaces, there are plenty of areas for collaboration and fun, such as ping-pong, which Saxena often plays with employees.
The never-ending cycle of shaving or waxing to achieve smooth skin can be exhausting and expensive, but the convenience and effective results of laser hair removal attract people to seek the permanent procedure. Milan’s growth into new markets is focused on increasing awareness of laser hair removal benefits. “It’s an unbelievable product that should be accessible to everyone,” Papek said. Thanks to a consistent staff who share the same goal as clients, which is to get people hair free as quickly as possible, Milan can connect with clients, build relationships, and fuel innovation—all of which align with the company’s core values. “They [staff] have to be in it for the customer and provide world-class customer service,” Saxena said. “We’re always keeping the customer number one.” Because of this, clients are excited about their results and eager to continue the process of becoming permanently hair free.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding laser hair removal is the discomfort and time it takes to achieve hair-free results. Hair removal alternatives, such as waxing, cost more over a lifetime and require regular maintenance. Milan’s advanced technology uses FDA-cleared lasers to target hair directly at the root to deliver permanent results for any skin type, making laser hair removal an accessible option for everyone. As technology continues to advance, laser hair removal has become quicker and more comfortable, aligning with consumers’ lives so they don’t have to go out of their way to achieve the results they want. “We want you to have a five-star experience and be incredibly excited that you’re going to be hair-free for life,” Saxena said. “Whatever your goals are, we want to be that company for you.”
Passionate about the product they provide, Saxena said he believes Milan’s services can translate to other medical industries. With a vision to have multiple medical verticals under the Milan umbrella, the brand has already kickstarted its growth through its new vertical business, Athens Robotic Hair Restoration, which just opened in August in central Omaha. Specializing in state-of-the-art hair transplant technology, Milan plans to apply its same operations strategy to Athens so the company can similarly grow under the Milan group. “This is something that’s not just one and done,” Saxena added. “We’re going to be here for a long time.” For a free consultation and one complimentary treatment, visit
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