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Faces of Franklin: Terri Hightower of Dermess Renewal

Terri Hightower of Dermess Renewal

Terri Hightower glows. Ask the registered nurse with years of experience under her belt how she stays so fresh and wrinkle free, and she’ll usher you into Dermess Renewal, the company she founded nearly two decades years ago in Nashville.

Dermess began in 1997 in the back of a small medical practice, and has since grown to three locations—including the new downtown Franklin satellite location—and an array of personal skincare services, from basic facials and aesthetic surgical intervention to everything in between.

“I’d been a nurse and a mother to my small children for many years. As they got older, I began to look at business ideas that took a small amount of capital,” she said. “I had a lot of energy and wanted to start something and watch it grow, and I did.”

With a little bit of seed money from SunTrust Bank—a loan she paid back six weeks after opening—Hightower hit the ground running. Her practice soon developed from highly individualized facials to a concentration on injectable aesthetics and laser resurfacing.

“This company has been, and continues to be, a great adventure in my life,” she said. “I believe it’s been a blessing in so many ways to so many people.”

Though Hightower sold the practice to cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Marvel two years ago, the Nashville native has continued to play an active role in the business. Now, she’s the manager of the medispa’s new satellite location in downtown Franklin on Third Avenue South.

“God sent us a wonderful cosmetic surgeon and a lovely gentleman to take over the practice,” she said. “We couldn’t be more excited to continue to expand and plant our roots in Franklin.

“Many of our Nashville clients have started making the trip here, and have just fallen in love. Once they come to Franklin, they’re hooked.”

Dermess’ new site on Third Avenue South is a peaceful space tucked off of Main Street, with a creamy blend of soft neutrals; duck cloth-covered furniture and rich-smelling candles. Adding to the ambiance is the Moran-Pope-Palmer home that houses the operation, built in 1822 and once used as a hospital during the Battle of Franklin.

Hightower said that the location wo;; continue to cater to convenience, and offer the same trademark Dermess hospitality. The shop carries nearly all of the same personalized skincare and wellness interventions— barring surgical procedures offered at the Nashville location—and majors in non-surgical injectables like Juvederm® and Botox®, plus medical grade skin care products like Obagi, SkinCeuticals and LUMIÈRE. Early next year, the boutique will expand to provide CO2 fractional laser therapy for non-surgical skin tightening, and will have two registered nurses on site.

“We have credibility because we were the first medispa in Middle Tennessee 15 years ago,” she said. “One reason we’ve succeeded is because we place an emphasis on a pressure-free environment. Our clients know we are going to cut through the bogus and tell them the real deal.”

Another aspect that sets the medispa apart from others, Hightower said, is that the Dermess nurses and medical aestheticians listen to each client extensively before tailoring treatments to each customer’s need, lifestyle and budget. Much of their job falls to consulting and educating clients before anything is performed.

“We establish certain trust levels with our clients because we listen to them, which is important in this business. We spend a lot of time with each patient,” she said. “We will not overcorrect anyone, and I’ve never had a problem because we always err on the lighter, slower side to be safe.”

Hightower said clients should expect a one-on-one relationship that extends beyond a business transaction.

“We’re all women aging, going through various stages of life,” she said. “And we’re all in this together.”

For a complete list of Dermess services, visit its website at or call its Third Avenue South location at 615-329-3900.


This is part of a series on merchants in Downtown Franklin. To read more, visit

Posted on: 11/14/2012


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